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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stranded Burglary Suspect to Cops: I Don't Want Any Help. Go Away.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 11:11 AM

(Update 11:11 a.m.): Per Lieutenant Liam Frost (above), the suspect is refusing to talk to cops -- but chattily answering their questions anyway. The suspect -- described by cops as a 5-foot-7, 170-pound white man in his 20s or 30s -- says he doesn't want any help, and would like police to leave.

(Update 9:45 a.m.): SF Weekly staff writer Joe Eskenazi is on the scene and tells us that police and firefighters say they have made contact with the suspect and are talking to him now. It appears that someone's morning coffee was interrupted as police and firefighters accessed the backyard of a residence to try to get to the suspect. There are coffee cups, creamer, and sugar abandoned on an outdoor table. Curious Telegraph Hill residents are watching the scene unfold using their binoculars.

click to enlarge A police officer points in the general vicinity of the alleged burglar, who has clung to the side of the hill since Tuesday evening - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • A police officer points in the general vicinity of the alleged burglar, who has clung to the side of the hill since Tuesday evening
(Update 9:20 a.m.): Officer Albie Esparza tells us that police are calling in a hostage negotiator to try to talk the suspect out of the shrubs and off the steep cliff. Read more after the jump.

(Original story 7:37 a.m.): A man who was seen pilfering a ring from a woman's apartment in Telegraph Hill last night ensconced himself into the incredibly thick brush on Telegraph Hill for more than 12 hours.

SF Weekly called the cops this morning to find out more about what was going on, but no word back yet. However, the Chron reports that police have surrounded the area near Coit Tower, determined to wait until the suspect emerges from the dense vegetation.

The incident started at about 5:30 p.m. yesterday when a woman saw a man steal a ring from her apartment on Lombard and Kearny streets. Her building manager chased after the thief who hopped over a back wall leading to a cliff above Chestnut Street, police told reporters.

click to enlarge Cops and firefighters peer down the hillside from a private backyard - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • Cops and firefighters peer down the hillside from a private backyard

Instead of following him into the hazardous vegetation, police set up a

perimeter, with bright lights and an "observation point." Police said there was not a chance they were sending an officer up that wall of vegetation, which overlooks a scary 200-foot cliff.

"If you look at the hillside, it's pretty treacherous," San Francisco

police Sgt. Pat Tobin told reporters. "You don't really know that the

brush is pretty thick there, and it's a sheer cliff coming down on

several sides of that hill. We're not going to risk someone's life to go

in after a burglary suspect right now."

Update: Police have called in the Fire Department to borrow their very large ladders so they can try to have a hostage negotiator talk some sense into the suspect, who is only described as a white man with a hoodie. "The easiest thing is for him to just come out," Esparza told us. "The terrain is really steep and the shrubbery is 8 to 10 feet thick, so that's a challenge."

About 20 officers are on the scene where they have had contact with the man three times since last night. They asked him if he needed anything to which he responded "No." However, he's awfully demanding, ordering police to pack up and leave and on another occasion he asked them to turn off the flood lights.

The last contact they had with the suspect was this morning at 2:30 a.m. However, Esparza says they believe he is still in the bushes, because there's only two ways out -- up where he came from and down the hill, which is where police have been camped out.

Officers were able to get some prints from the crime scene, and police are hoping to find a match in their system, which would allow them to identify the suspect, issue a warrant for his arrest and go after him at later date, Esparza said.

The excitement continues.

click to enlarge The waiting game - ANDREW NILSEN
  • Andrew Nilsen
  • The waiting game
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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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