SF News

Corte Madera Bank Robbed By Mustached Man

A bank in Corte Madera was robbed by a mustached man wearing a knit cap and construction boots Tuesday evening, according to Twin Cities police.

The robbery was reported at the First Community Bank at 137 Corte Madera Town Center at 5:38 p.m., police said. The robber approached a teller and demanded money, and the teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect then fled with the money, and Twin Cities police were unable to find him.

He is described as a Hispanic man in his 40s, standing about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a mustache. He was wearing a gray knit cap, a dark hooded sweatshirt with gray lining, jeans and tan construction boots. Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call police at (415) 927-5150.

 

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Man Carjacked At Gunpoint In Bayview Tuesday Evening

A man had his car stolen at gunpoint by three men in San Francisco's Bayview District on Tuesday evening, police said. The carjacking was reported at about 5:45 p.m. near Oakdale Avenue and Ingalls Street.

The 67-year-old victim was sitting in his car on the side of the road when the three suspects approached, according to police. One of the men pulled out a steel semi-automatic handgun and ordered the victim out of the car. The victim complied and the men drove off in the car, police said.

The suspects, three men in their 20s, had not been found as of this morning, nor had the car, a white 1999 Ford Crown Victoria with California license plate No. 6MTB246.

Anyone with information about the carjacking is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Woman Rescued From McLaren Park With Help Of Good Samartian

A hiker who got stuck in San Francisco's John McLaren Park was rescued by police Monday night with the help of a good Samaritan, cellphones and a police car's siren.

Officers from the department's Ingleside Station received a report at about 5 p.m. Monday about a woman who had suffered a seizure, fallen down an embankment and become trapped in the park.

The victim had texted her partner about the accident but could not provide details about exactly where she was in the heavily wooded area, police said.

A good Samaritan who was walking on a trail in the park heard the victim's faint cries for help and called 911, but was also unable to pinpoint her location.

Officers then used the siren from a police car while talking on the phone to the good Samaritan to figure out the location, and found the stranded hiker about 20 minutes later, according to police. She had fallen more than 50 yards down a steep hillside and was trapped.

The hiker was taken out of the park and treated at San Francisco General Hospital for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, police said.

 

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Pedestrian Struck By Car At Divisadero and Fell This Morning

A male pedestrian was taken to a hospital after being struck by a car near San Francisco's Alamo Square this morning, San Francisco fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said. The accident was reported at 7:03 a.m. at the intersection of Divisadero and Fell streets.

The pedestrian was in a crosswalk when a driver traveling north on Divisadero Street turned left onto Fell Street and struck him, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with officers, he said. The pedestrian's injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Talmadge said.

 

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Police Warn 'Occupy SF' Protesters Again That They Could Be Arrested

Protesters with the "Occupy SF" movement have been warned again by police that they could be arrested if they continue to camp out in San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza. The notice, handed out to protesters on Tuesday with the heading "You Are Subject to Arrest," outlined unlawful activities in the plaza including the use of propane tanks and open flames, public urination and defecation, as well as overnight camping.

An image of the notice, which had Police Chief Greg Suhr's name at the bottom of the page, was posted electronically on the group's website. "These acts have been and continue to be violations of the law for which you are subject to arrest," police said in the notice. Police had issued a similar notice to the occupiers on Oct. 11. Then, on Oct. 16, citing the city law banning encampment there, officers ordered the removal of tents in the plaza and arrested five people.

However, camping has resumed there since last week, with no major confrontations between the protesters and police. "Occupy SF" organizers estimate that there are currently more than 300 people living in the camp. "Occupy SF" organizers posted a response to the police notice on their website later Tuesday.

The response said organizers have tried to get a permit for overnight use of the plaza but were told by the city's Recreation and Parks Department that no such permit exists. The protesters also accused the city of "creating a sanitation problem by design" by only making portable toilets at the plaza available during daytime hours.

Early Tuesday morning, Oakland police broke up the camp and arrested dozens of people, citing health and safety hazards in the plaza. In response, hundreds of protesters took to the streets, marching through downtown Oakland on Tuesday afternoon and evening, prompting police to use tear gas in an attempt to scatter the crowd.

 

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Historic Church Bell Stolen In SF Found In Oakland Today

A historic bell reported stolen from the garden at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco last weekend was found near a scrap yard in Oakland this afternoon, police said. The copper bell, which weighs several thousand pounds, was reported stolen on Sunday from the church, located at 1111 Gough St., according to San Francisco police.

A police inspector called the bell a "priceless artifact" that was made in 1889, and survived the 1906 earthquake and a fire that burned down the original St. Mary's Cathedral on Van Ness Avenue in the 1960s. Police received a tip around 2 p.m. today about the whereabouts of the bell. Investigators responded and found it in an open area across the street from a scrap yard near Ninth and Pine streets in West Oakland. The bell was sitting on top of two beams and was covered by a tarp, according to police.

No arrests have been made in connection with the case. Anyone with information about the theft is encouraged to call the Police Department's Northern Station at (415) 553-1563, the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Disabled Train Causes Bart Delays Of Up To 30 Minutes

BART is reporting major delays to trains heading from San Francisco to the East Bay this afternoon because of a disabled train at the Montgomery Station. As of 12:50 p.m. there were delays of up to 30 minutes, a BART employee said. She said BART is in the process of moving the disabled train out of the way.

 

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Motorcycle Crash On WB I-80 Just Past Bay Bridge Causes Traffic Backup

A motorcycle crash blocked two lanes on westbound Interstate Highway 80 in San Francisco for more than half an hour during today's morning commute, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP Officer Peter van Eckhardt said a Sig-alert was issued at 6:59 a.m. after the crash blocked lanes on the highway just before Fifth Street.

The accident was reported at 6:33 a.m.

Van Eckhardt said the crash resulted in a traffic backup for motorists coming into the city across the Bay Bridge.

The lanes reopened at 7:09 a.m., but traffic remains heavy.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday News Roundup

Police Officers Deploy Tear Gas On Occupy Oakland Protesters

Officers deployed tear gas on roughly a hundred protesters at Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza for the second time Tuesday night after law enforcement officials issued orders to disperse for the third time.    

The protesters, who began Tuesday night's rally at around 4 p.m., dispersed after the gas was released and it was not immediately clear if they would regroup or continue to march.

The "Occupy Oakland" demonstrators announced earlier that they would return to the plaza every night at 6 p.m. to continue the protest.

Police used tear gas on hundreds of protesters earlier Tuesday night at around 7 p.m., temporarily scattering the crowd. A short time later the group reconvened at the plaza.

Police said that as of 8 p.m., no injuries had been reported.    

BART closed Oakland's 12th Street station because of the protest.    

Protesters were ordered to leave the City Hall area for the first time at around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening and the crowd complied. The group briefly gathered at Snow Park, the smaller of two encampment sites that were broken up by police early Tuesday morning.

Police presence was less prevalent at the smaller park and after a brief discussion, the group decided to continue the march and return to 14th Street and Broadway.

Officers at Frank Ogawa Plaza again ordered the crowd to disperse before deploying tear gas and smoke grenades.

After fleeing briefly, the group gathered near 19th Street and Broadway, before heading back to City Hall.

Between 400 and 500 "Occupy Oakland" protesters began the march Tuesday at around 5:20 p.m. at the main branch of the Oakland Public Library heading to Frank Ogawa Plaza with the aim of retaking the space they were evicted from early Tuesday morning.

The protesters gathered outside the main branch of the library late Tuesday afternoon and vowed that Occupy Oakland protests will continue despite the arrest of a large group of people at an encampment outside City Hall Tuesday morning.

Protestors Gathered Outside The W Hotel In SOMA During Obama's Visit

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the W Hotel in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, where President Obama was making an appearance at a campaign fundraiser Tuesday afternoon.    

The crowd stretched for half a block in each direction away from the hotel.

Many were there to protest Keystone XL, TransCanada Corp.'s proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

There were also protesters from the Occupy SF movement carrying signs that read "We are the 99 Percent."    

Others in the crowd were there to draw attention to the recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana providers. One woman carried a sign reading, "Cannabis created more jobs than you."

Dozens of police officers were standing in the intersection with their riot helmets at their sides. A bomb squad truck and a fire engine were parked nearby in front of the firehouse on Howard Street.

Air Force One touched down at San Francisco International Airport at 12:55 p.m., and the presidential motorcade arrived at the hotel at 1:30 p.m.

About 200 people were expected to attend the fundraiser, which was to include a performance by singer Jack Johnson, an Obama campaign official said. Tickets to the event started at $5,000.

Obama flew to San Francisco Tuesday from Los Angeles, where he also had fundraisers planned. The president made a surprise visit to a Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles on Monday night, then taped a segment for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday morning.

Judge Denies Giselle Estaban's Motion To Fire Her Court-Appointed Laywer

A judge Tuesday denied Giselle Esteban's motion to fire the court-appointed lawyer who is representing her on charges that she murdered nursing student Michelle Le.

Le, a 26-year-old San Mateo woman who was attending Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, disappeared from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward in May. Her body was found in unincorporated part of Alameda County between Pleasanton and Sunol on Sept. 17.

Esteban, a 27-year-old Union City woman who attended high school with Le in San Diego, said Tuesday that she wanted to replace Oakland attorney Andrea Auer, who has been representing her for about a month.    

But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gary Picetti announced at the end of a closed hearing Tuesday that he was denying Esteban's motion.    

Picetti said Monday that prosecutors, explained that the media and the public are barred from hearings at which defendants seek to fire their court-appointed lawyers because "confidential things may be revealed."

Esteban, who is pregnant and is being held in custody without bail, is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 2 to enter a plea.

Auer had planned to seek bail for Esteban at a hearing on Monday, but that motion was put on hold when Esteban sought to fire her.

Auer said Tuesday that she may still try to get bail for Esteban at a later date but she hasn't yet made a final decision on the matter.

 

East Bay Paratransit Driver Eddie Hall Charged With Murder Of Hells Angels Motorcyclist

East Bay Paratransit driver Eddie Hall was charged with murder Tuesday for allegedly intentionally running over and killing Hells Angels motorcyclist George Lopez Jr. in San Leandro on Saturday.

Hall, a 31-year-old Oakland man, was also charged with attempted murder for striking a second motorcyclist that day, Ozzie Jesus Jose.

Prosecutors said Jose's bike was hit by the van, forced onto the shoulder and disabled, but that Jose was not injured.

Additionally, Hall faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident and attempting to escape by force or violence. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward Tuesday afternoon.    

Hall was arrested after striking Lopez, a 51-year-old Stockton man, on eastbound Interstate Highway 580 near Grand Avenue in San Leandro at about 4 p.m. Saturday.

Hall had been traveling with a group of seven or eight other motorcyclists, San Leandro police Sgt. Doug Calcagno said.

Lopez was treated by Alameda County Fire Department personnel and then transported to a hospital, where he died a short time later.

San Leandro police Detective Anthony Morgan said in a declaration filed in court that Hall had collided with Lopez at freeway speeds.

Lopez was thrown from his motorcycle by the impact, and Hall continued driving with Lopez's motorcycle dragging under his bus for about 1.5 miles, until the motorcycle became engulfed in flames under the bus, Morgan said.

Hall stopped on the shoulder of the highway and fled on foot but was detained by an Alameda County sheriff's deputy, according to Morgan.

Prosecutor In MS-13 Gang Trial Recounts Daly City BART Murder

A prosecutor in the conspiracy trial of two alleged MS-13 gang members told a federal jury in San Francisco Tuesday the chilling story of a shooting murder near the Daly City BART station two years ago.    

U.S. Justice Department attorney Theryn Gibbons pointed her hand in the shape of a gun as she recounted the attack on Moises Frias, 21, and his three companions on the evening of Feb. 19, 2009.    

"They're shooting to kill," Gibbons told the jury in the trial of Luis Herrera and Danilo Velasquez.

The shooting happened shortly after 7 p.m. on John Daly Boulevard near Junipero Serra Boulevard, about a block and a half from the BART station.

Gibbons alleged that Herrera, Velasquez and another gang member drove to the area in a hunt for members of the rival Norteno gang and mistakenly thought the four victims were Nortenos.    

She alleged that Herrera drove the two gunmen to the area and that Velasquez and the other gunman walked to either side of the victims' car and began shooting.

One gunman "shot round after round directly into Moises Frias until he emptied his clip" as Frias begged for mercy, Gibbons said.

Frias, a college student who worked as a technician for the California Public Utilities Commission, was killed, and two of the other three young men were wounded.

The victims "didn't have a chance. They didn't know they were being hunted by MS-13," Gibbons said.

Herrera and Velasquez are both charged with conspiring to racketeer, or engage in organized crime, and conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering.

The defense attorneys for Herrera and Velasquez said in their opening statements that their clients were being framed by a gang member who accused them in order to protect himself.    

Tuesday was the first day of their trial in the court of U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco. The trial is expected to last about four months.

Sonoma County Considering Two-Phased Marijuana Regulation Approach

Sonoma County is considering a two-phased approach to regulate medical marijuana growing and dispensary operations in unincorporated areas.

The proposed regulations were crafted by a committee comprised of Supervisors Shirlee Zane and Valerie Brown.

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon approved the two-phase approach and a resolution of intent that would amend the zoning ordinance to limit the number of permitted medical marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated county area to nine.

There currently are five dispensaries with permits but four more have applied for permits in the unincorporated area.

There also are two dispensaries in Santa Rosa, and one each in Cotati and Sebastopol. Petaluma, Cloverdale, Windsor and Healdsburg do not allow dispensaries.

In addition to capping the number of dispensaries at nine, the first phase also includes proposing enhanced criminal penalties for unauthorized marijuana growing on public lands and on private lands without the landowner's permission.

Phase one, which is to be completed within the next 120 days, also includes provisions for seeking a court order to force closure of any future unpermitted dispensaries.

The regulation effort also addresses concerns about an increase of unauthorized marijuana growing operations not intended for medical marijuana patients.

There have been two marijuana-related murders in the county this month and several robberies this year at residences where marijuana was growing.

Some of the growing operations are occurring on remote public land or on private lands without the owner's knowledge or consent, leading to safety problems from criminal activity, county officials said.

The goal of the second phase, to be completed within six to eight months, is to relegate the growing of medical marijuana and finding ways the county can recover costs directly associated with the regulatory and enforcement efforts.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today before becoming sunny. Highs are likely to be around 70.

Clear skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be around 50.

Sunny skies are expected Thursday. Highs are expected to be in the mid to upper 60s.

 

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Man Pistol-Whipped, Robbed in Mission District Monday Afternoon

A man was pistol-whipped and robbed while walking in San Francisco's Mission District on Monday afternoon, police said.

The 22-year-old victim was walking near 26th and Bartlett streets at about 3:45 p.m. when he was approached by three suspects. One pulled out a black handgun and struck him in the face with it, according to police.

The other two suspects stole the man's cellphone and backpack and ran away. They had not been found as of this morning, police said.

The victim suffered a bruise to his face but declined medical treatment.

Anyone with information about the robbery is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Update: 'Plaid Bandit' Pleads Not Guilty To Robbing Four Downtown Banks

A man dubbed the "Plaid Bandit" pleaded not guilty today to what San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon called a "terrifying" series of four bank robberies in the city since June 2010.

Donald Booth, 68, was arrested by the FBI and San Francisco police on Oct. 18 at his home in San Francisco's Ingleside District on suspicion of robbing the banks -- most recently an East West Bank at 555 Montgomery St. in the Financial District on Oct. 6, prosecutors said.

Booth is also suspected of robbing three other downtown banks last year: a Bank of the West at 505 Montgomery St. on June 10, 2010; a City National Bank at 150 California St. on June 21, 2010, and a U.S. Bank at 201 Montgomery St. on July 27, 2010, prosecutors said.

In the first two robberies, the robber wore a plaid shirt, and in each of the four, he used a handgun -- or possibly a replica -- as he demanded money from bank tellers, according to the district attorney's office.

Gascon said at a news conference today that the bank holdups were "terrifying ordeals for the victims," none of whom were hurt in the robberies.

Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai said he spoke on Monday to the victims in the robberies, all of whom still work at the various downtown banks.

Talai said one of the victims said, "It's nice to know I'm not going to have to see him again."

Gascon said the arrest came after an anonymous tipster identified Booth by name to a BART police officer on Oct. 18, a day after the FBI released photos of the suspect to the media.

"But for someone reporting this individual, we may still be looking for him," Gascon said. "It's really important for the public to recognize how important their participation is."

Booth already has four strikes against him and "has spent most of his adult life in prison," Gascon said.

He was convicted of kidnapping in 1973; robbery in 1977 and 1981; and attempted murder in 1981. He was also allegedly involved in an escape attempt at an Oregon prison in which a guard was shot, prosecutors said.

Booth pleaded not guilty this morning in San Francisco Superior Court to six counts of second-degree robbery and four counts of second-degree burglary.

He was ordered held in lieu of $1.1 million bail and will return to court for a pre-hearing conference on Nov. 30.

 

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Hundreds of Protestors Gather Outside Obama Fundraiser In SOMA

Several hundred protesters have gathered outside the W Hotel in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, where President Obama is making an appearance at a campaign fundraiser this afternoon.

Police have blocked off the area in front of the hotel, located at Third and Howard streets, and Third Street has been shut down to cars. The intersection is closed to pedestrians.

The crowd stretched for half a block in each direction away from the hotel.

Many were there to protest Keystone XL, TransCanada Corp's proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

They held signs reading, "Stop Keystone XL" and "Another Voter Against the Pipeline."

There were also protesters from the Occupy SF movement carrying signs that read "We are the 99 Percent."

Others in the crowd were there to draw attention to the recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana providers. One woman carried a sign reading, "Cannabis created more jobs than you."

Some among that group chanted, "Go away, DEA."

Dozens of police officers were standing in the intersection with their riot helmets at their sides. A bomb squad truck and a fire engine were parked nearby in front of the firehouse on Howard Street.

Air Force One touched down at San Francisco International Airport at 12:55 p.m., and the presidential motorcade arrived at the hotel at 1:30 p.m.

About 200 people were expected to attend the fundraiser, which was to include a performance by singer Jack Johnson, an Obama campaign official said. Tickets to the event started at $5,000.

The crowd outside the hotel was starting to thin out by about 2 p.m. as some people who had stopped by to check out the activity on their lunch breaks headed back to work.

Police said several SOMA streets will remain shut down until 4 p.m., including Third Street from Folsom Street to Mission Street; New Montgomery between Mission and Howard streets; Hawthorne Street between Howard and Folsom streets; and the intersection of Third and Howard streets.

Obama is scheduled to leave the Bay Area shortly after 3 p.m. today for Denver, and will head back to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

He flew to San Francisco today from Los Angeles, where he also had fundraisers planned. The president made a surprise visit to a Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles on Monday night, then taped a segment for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this morning that will air tonight. 

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Parents To Rally For Ballet Measure On School Assignment System

A group of parents and supporters of a measure on the November ballot that would encourage the San Francisco Unified School District to change its student assignment system will hold a rally outside tonight's school board meeting.

Proposition H, which is nonbinding, would give the highest priority in the assignment process to students who live closest to each school.

Members of Families for Neighborhood Schools, a parent group that supports the measure, plan to rally outside the 5:30 p.m. board of education meeting in protest of what group spokesman Johnny Wang said are misleading statements by the city's teachers union, United Educators of San Francisco.

Wang said the union has sent out mailers and other information to residents that state that the measure would drive up costs for the school district. He denied that would be the case.

"It's a policy statement, a direction we want the school board to go," he said. "They claim that we're going to force their hand, but we cannot legislate any type of measure."

Ken Tray, political director for UESF, stood by the union's position that the measure could cost the district, saying it's "a badly written, vague policy statement" that could be interpreted as calling for a new student assignment policy to be implemented this year.

"If that, in fact, is what they mean, it would lead to an enormous rise in costs," Tray said. "The devil is in the details, so no one knows what would happen."

School board president Hydra Mendoza said the board "has been pretty clear it's not supportive" of Prop H.

"I think part of the challenge is, we spent two years developing a policy with the community, and this wasn't part of the discussion," Mendoza said.

She also questioned the usefulness of the measure.

"A ballot measure for suggestions? That's not how you work with the school district," Mendoza said. "You don't put a ballot measure on for people to give you advice."

Wang said the measure is supported by many low-income parents who "can't afford to take (their children) to other schools" outside their neighborhoods.

Tray countered that along with the school board, the majority of parent groups and several San Francisco supervisors oppose Prop H. Wang said with this evening's rally, "We're just trying to get the word out about who we really are."

He said the low-income families are "who we're trying to speak for, and we don't have the money like the teachers' union."

The rally is scheduled to take place prior to the 5:30 p.m. school board meeting at 555 Franklin St. Parents plan to speak during the meeting's public comment period, Wang said.

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Teen Boy Shot In Leg In Mission District

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the thigh in San Francisco's Mission District late last night just before 10:30 p.m., a police officer said.

The shooting was reported in the 1700 block of 15th Street, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.

The suspects are described only as two male juveniles who were riding bicycles.

The boy was transported to a local hospital. The teen's injuries are not life threatening, Esparza said.

The motive for the shooting is not known.

 

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'Plaid Bandit' Pleads Not Guilty To Robbing Four Banks

A man dubbed the "Plaid Bandit" who is accused of robbing four San Francisco banks since June 2010 pleaded not guilty today to 10 felony robbery and burglary charges.

Donald Booth, 68, was arrested by the FBI and San Francisco police on Oct. 18 at his San Francisco home on suspicion of robbing the four banks -- most recently an East West Bank at 555 Montgomery St. in the Financial District on Oct. 6, prosecutors said.

Booth was also charged with robbing three other downtown banks last year: a Bank of the West at 505 Montgomery St. on June 10, 2010; a City National Bank at 150 California St. on June 21, 2010; and a U.S. Bank at 201 Montgomery St. on July 27, 2010, prosecutors said.

In the most recent robbery, police said Booth walked into the East West Bank, brandished a handgun and demanded money from a teller, then fled with the cash.

Before being identified and arrested, the suspect was dubbed the "Plaid Bandit" because he wore plaid shirts in some of the robberies, according to the FBI.

Booth pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court this morning to six second-degree robbery charges and four second-degree burglary charges.

He was ordered held in lieu of $1.1 million bail and will return to court on Nov. 30.

San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai, who is prosecuting the case, said Booth has multiple prior convictions.

More information about the case was expected to be released at a news conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m. with Talai and District Attorney George Gascon.

 

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Man Pistol-Whipped, Robbed In Mission District Monday Afternoon

A man was pistol-whipped and robbed while walking in San Francisco's Mission District on Monday afternoon, police said.

The 22-year-old victim was walking near 26th and Bartlett streets at about 3:45 p.m. when he was approached by three suspects. One pulled out a black handgun and struck him in the face with it, according to police.

The other two suspects stole the man's cellphone and backpack and ran away. They had not been found as of this morning, police said.

The victim suffered a bruise to his face but declined medical treatment.

Anyone with information about the robbery is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Streets To Be Closed In Soma Today For President's Visit

Street closures are planned in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood today as President Obama makes a brief visit to the city for a campaign fundraiser, police said.

Several streets will be shut down between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., including northbound Third Street from Folsom Street to Mission Street; southbound New Montgomery between Mission and Howard streets; Hawthorne Street between Howard and Folsom streets; and the intersection of Third and Howard streets.

Air Force One is scheduled to land at San Francisco International Airport at 12:45 p.m. The president will then attend a lunch fundraiser at the W Hotel at 181 Third St., a campaign official said.

Ticket prices for the event -- which will feature a performance by Jack Johnson -- start at $5,000 and roughly 200 people are expected to attend, the official said.

Obama will then depart from SFO shortly after 3 p.m.

The anti-war group The World Can't Wait is planning to gather outside the hotel to protest U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Obama administration's funding of other military operations in the Middle East, according to the group.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday News Roundup

Alameda County Jury Rejected Former Oakland City Adminstrator's Lawsuit

An Alameda County jury took only 40 minutes Monday to reject a lawsuit filed by former Oakland City Administrator Deborah Edgerly claiming that former Mayor Ron Dellums fired her because she was a woman.

Dellums, a former congressman who served as Oakland's mayor from January 2007 to January 2011, fired Edgerly on July 1, 2008.

Edgerly had worked for the city for 22 years and former mayor Jerry Brown, now California's governor, appointed her city administrator on July 2, 2003.

At the time Dellums fired her, Edgerly was under investigation for allegedly tipping off her nephew, city employee William Lovan, that the Oakland Police Department was investigating the Acorn gang.    

Police said the gang was the worst in the city and claimed that Lovan was a member.

Lovan pleaded no contest in 2009 to a felony charge of carrying a concealed and unregistered firearm in a car as a result of the police probe into the Acorn gang but no charges were ever filed against Edgerly.    

Dellums said Edgerly was distracted by the allegations and that it was interfering with her job, but said the main reason he fired her was that he and Edgerly had stopped communicating effectively with one another.

Edgerly's lawyer, John Scott, alleged in his closing argument in Edgerly's wrongful termination case that Dellums "discriminated against my client because of her gender."

Dellums testified last week that he never discriminated against Edgerly.

But Scott alleged that Dellums' testimony was "a knee-jerk reaction of denial and self-righteousness."

Scott asked, "What makes him so special and makes him different from the hundreds of thousands of other men who don't see women as equals?"    

Scott said he would leave it to jurors to determine how much in monetary damages Edgerly should be awarded, saying she has been unable to find a new job since Dellums fired her despite applying to many cities across the country.

"My client didn't bring this action for money, she brought it to clear her name," Scott said.    

He said, "Nothing is more important to her than her reputation and name and career."

Attorney Robert Shwarts, who represents the city of Oakland, told jurors, "There's no evidence in the record to conclude that gender discrimination motivated this decision (to fire Edgerly) in any way.    

He instructed jurors on how to evaluate Dellums.    

"You're looking at a man who had a long and distinguished public life and was involved in progressive issues and women's issues," he said.    

Shwarts said Edgerly's "attacks on Mayor Dellums are shameful and she wants you to substitute her reputation for his."    

After the jury's verdict was announced, Shwarts said its quick decision showed that "there was nothing much to debate" because Edgerly hadn't met her legal burden of proving that Dellums discriminated against her.

Shwarts said that under Oakland's form of government the city administrator serves at the pleasure of the mayor, and that Dellums fired Edgerly lawfully.

"There's no question his decision to replace her was justified and lawful," he said.

Scott said jurors never heard Edgerly's strongest claim that she was wrongfully terminated, because Alameda County Superior Court Judge John True didn't allow them to hear evidence about her claim that Dellums fired her in retaliation for her refusal to follow orders from him that would have violated the city charter.

Police Fatally Shot Fugitive In Antioch

Police fatally shot a 33-year-old fugitive in Antioch Monday night.

Officers responded to the report of a fugitive in the area of Lemontree Court who they say was wanted on two arrest warrants.    

Officers confronted the fugitive in a carport at 2409 Lemontree Ct. at about 5:50 p.m. and discovered he was armed with a handgun.    

Multiple officers fired their weapons at the Antioch resident after discovering he was armed, according to the Police Department. The man was pronounced dead at the home.

No officers were injured.

San Leandro Tattoo Party Shooting Suspect Charged With Murder

One of the suspects in a shooting in San Leandro after a tattoo party this month that left three people dead and three others wounded was charged Monday with three counts of murder and four counts of willful, premeditated and deliberate attempted murder.

Paul Arthur Stevenson III, a 20-year-old man who was arrested at his family's home in the 1900 block of 21st Avenue in Oakland early Thursday morning, also was charged with the special circumstance of committing multiple murders. He could face the death penalty if he's convicted.

The shooting took place the morning of Oct. 2 after a party at a warehouse at 2661 Alvarado St. near Aladdin Avenue.

Police say that after the party, two suspects shot at a green Ford Explorer containing seven people, striking six, three of whom died from their injuries. The other three victims have since been released from the hospital.    

The seventh victim ran from the car after the incident, but police later located him.

Killed in the shooting were 16-year-old Leneasha Northington, 19-year-old Shanice Kiel and 23-year-old Joshua Alford.

San Leandro police estimated that about 200 people attended the party, most in their late teens or early 20s, and that the party was heavily promoted on social media sites like Facebook.    

The party had ended by the time the shooting happened around 1:20 a.m., but there was still a large group of people in the parking lot, police said.

The city of San Leandro is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a second suspect, who has only been described as a black male who wore dark clothing.    

No motive has been determined.

Boy Shot In Mission District Monday Night

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the thigh in San Francisco's Mission District Monday night just before 10:30 p.m., a police officer said.    

The shooting was reported in the 1700 block of 15th Street, Officer Albie Esparza said.    

The suspects are described only as two male juveniles who were riding bicycles.

The boy was transported to a local hospital. The teen's injuries are not life threatening, Esparza said.

The motive for the shooting is not known.

Man Dressed In Medical Scrubs And Armed With Play Gun Shot By San Jose Police

A man dressed in medical scrubs and armed with a play gun who was shot by police at a San Jose hotel Sunday morning was identified by police Monday as 25-year-old Javier Gonzales-Guerrero.    

Officers responded to reports of an armed man at the Extended Stay Hotel at 55 E. Brokaw Road at about 7:45 a.m., San Jose police Officer Jose Garcia said.

Gonzales-Guerrero allegedly reached for a gun in his waistband after not responding to officers who were trying to talk to him. He was shot multiple times and was taken to a hospital, where he remained Monday nights.    

Gonzales-Guerrero, who was believed to be intoxicated at the time of the shooting, was allegedly armed with a replica gun, police said.    

No officers were injured. The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on routine paid administrative leave.

It was the city's seventh officer-involved shooting of 2011.

CHP Still Investigating Highway 101 Death Of 25-Year-Old Man

The California Highway Patrol is still investigating the death of a 25-year-old man who was struck and killed when he walked into traffic on U.S. Highway 101 in San Mateo on Sunday morning.

Officers responded to reports of a collision involving a pedestrian on southbound Highway 101 just north of Third Street at about 4:25 a.m., CHP Officer Scott Niemeth said.

Amarildo Vasquez, of San Mateo, had been walking north on the right shoulder when, for unknown reasons, he wandered into oncoming traffic.    

Vasquez was wearing dark clothing at the time, and was struck by a Honda CRV, Niemeth said.    

He was pronounced dead at the scene.    

The driver of the Honda stopped and cooperated with investigators, Niemeth said.

It has not been determined if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Hells Angels Motorcyclist Killed In San Leandro Collission Identified

A Hells Angels motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with an East Bay Paratransit driver Saturday in San Leandro was identified Monday as 51-year-old George Lopez Jr. of Stockton.

The paratransit driver, 31-year-old Eddie Hall of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and murder after the collision on eastbound Interstate Highway 580 in San Leandro about 4 p.m.

Alameda County District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said authorities are still reviewing the case and no charges have been filed against Hall.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said it appears the crash followed an altercation between Hall and Lopez.    

Hall had been traveling in a group with seven or eight other motorcyclists, according to San Leandro police Sgt. Doug Calcagno.    

The Paratransit van struck Lopez and his motorcycle was dragged under the van for several miles before the van pulled over just east of the 150th Avenue on-ramp, Calcagno said.

After Hall pulled over to the shoulder, he attempted to flee and was arrested by Alameda County sheriff's deputies, San Leandro police said.

Lopez was treated by Alameda County Fire Department personnel and then transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

Calcagno said police don't think the collision was an accident but it's unclear what the motive may have been.

Monterey County SPCA Rescued Four Horses

SPCA for Monterey County humane officers have rescued four neglected horses in Castroville, a spokeswoman for the organization said Monday.

When SPCA investigators arrived at the property on Long Valley Road near Elkhorn Road in Castroville for a routine investigation last Thursday, they found three mares and one foal requiring immediate veterinary care and seized the animals, spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser said.   

The horses were emaciated and riddled with numerous health problems -- the mares are suffering from heart murmurs, prolapsed vaginas, teeth in poor condition and hoof problems - and the foal had an umbilical hernia, among other issues.

The SPCA first met with the owners in March after receiving a report of skinny horses on the property, and attempted to educate them and provide resources to help them give the horses the appropriate veterinary care, Brookhouser said.

But during the last in a series of visits to the property, investigators quickly realized Thursday that the animals were in dire need of veterinary attention.

The animals are receiving veterinary care, food and water at the SPCA's barn in Salinas, and staff members are hopeful the horses will improve enough to be adopted.

Historic Bell Reported Stolen From St. Mary's Cathedral Garden

A historic bell was reported stolen from the garden at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco on Sunday morning, police said.    

The copper bell, which is about 4 feet tall, 5 feet wide and weighs several thousand pounds, was reported stolen by the manager of the church, located at 1111 Gough St., police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The bell is a "priceless artifact," police Inspector Brian Danker said.

It was made in 1889 at a Baltimore foundry and shipped to San Francisco, where it survived the 1906 earthquake, as well as a fire that burned down the original St. Mary's Cathedral on Van Ness Avenue in the 1960s, Danker said.

Property of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the bell was moved in 1971 to the church's new location, where it was put on display in the garden. Church officials had planned to hang it in the cathedral again but could never get the funding to do so, he said.

Although the theft was reported on Sunday, "nobody can swear on a stack of Bibles when they can last remember seeing it," Danker said.

Investigators are searching for surveillance video that may have captured the theft, and are looking into whether the stolen bell is connected to other recent copper theft cases, including one at the nearby intersection of Gough and Turk streets where more than $25,000 in copper wiring was taken, Danker said.

Police are also notifying local junkyards and recycling centers where the bell could potentially turn up, he said.    

Danker said the church is offering a "substantial" reward for the bell's return.    

"We're just concerned about getting the artifact back," he said. "It's not right."

East Coast Businessman Robbed At Gunpoint At Motel 6 In Belmont

An East Coast businessman was robbed at gunpoint at a Motel 6 in Belmont Monday morning, police said.

Officers responded to a reported robbery at 1101 Shoreway Road at about 8:45 a.m., according to the Belmont Police Department.    

A man traveling on business had apparently arranged a meeting in his hotel room with a woman, who was later described as an Asian woman in her late 20s to early 30s, police said.

Investigators said that while the woman was in the room, two suspects came to the door and confronted the victim.

One of the suspects, an Asian woman wearing a hooded jacket and a blue bandana, was carrying a small handgun, police said. The second suspect was an Asian man in his 20s.

The armed woman demanded that the victim hand over his laptop and camera.

The victim refused and attempted to take the gun from the suspect, police said.

A struggle ensued, during which the gun discharged and the victim was punched in the face several times, police said.

No one appeared to have been hit by gunfire, police said.    

The three suspects fled with the victim's camera and laptop.   

Responding officers searched the area and did not find the suspects.

Disgruntled Concord Resident Shot At Supervisor

A Concord resident and apparent disgruntled employee who shot at his supervisor and at his neighbor's home last week was charged Monday with eight felony counts including attempted murder, authorities said.

Doran Long Jr., 50, was charged with three counts of attempted murder, two counts of shooting into an inhabited building and three counts of shooting at unoccupied vehicles, Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Brian Baker said.

If convicted on all eight counts, Long could face a maximum sentence of life in prison, Baker said.

District attorney's office personnel were not able to confirm whether the defendant appeared in court Monday.

Authorities said Long had shot several rounds into his neighbor's home in Concord on Wednesday, narrowly missing a 9-year-old, before shooting up three unoccupied cars in front of the home.

Police said he then drove to the Richmond apartment complex, where he worked as a security guard, and shot multiple times at his supervisor, Chester Dancer. He is expected to survive his injuries.    

The suspect fled the area in a red Toyota pickup with three guns in tow, prompting a multiple-agency manhunt that led to his arrest early Thursday morning by El Dorado County sheriff's deputies.

Concord Police Searching For Suspected Restaurant Robber

Concord police are searching for a man suspected of robbing a restaurant at gunpoint during the weekend, a police lieutenant said.

Around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, an armed man walked into Waikiki Hawaiian Barbecue on 1680 Willow Pass Road through an unlocked back entrance and demanded cash from a female restaurant employee who was preparing for lunch service, Lt. Steve Dyer said.

He stole a necklace from the employee, but no cash, before firing a single shot inside the restaurant and fleeing. No one was injured, Dyer said.

The suspect is described as an Asian man, who is about 6 feet tall with slim build. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt during the robbery.

Police have yet to track down leads on the suspect, and said he was unknown to the restaurant employee.

Federal Appeals Court Announced It Will Hear Prop 8 Arguments

A federal appeals court announced Monday it will hear arguments in San Francisco in early December on whether to unseal a video recording of last year's trial on Proposition 8.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ordered the recording remain sealed until then.    

The order extends a previous short-term stay in which the appeals court temporarily blocked a lower court ruling mandating public release of the video.

Proposition 8 bans same-sex marriage in California and was approved by state voters in 2008.

Sponsors of the measure are appealing a decision in which U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled in September that the video, as part of the trial record, should be made public.

In the trial, now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said Proposition 8 violates the federal Constitution's guarantees of equal treatment and due process. He ruled in a lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples.

That decision is also being appealed by the supporters of Proposition 8 and has also been put on hold during the appeal process.    

The video of the trial was originally intended by Walker for possible delayed broadcasting on a YouTube government channel, but that plan was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The sponsors of Proposition 8 contend that unsealing the tape could lead to harassment of witnesses and could possibly deter people from testifying in future trials.

Lawyers for the couples who challenged the measure and for a coalition of media organizations argue that releasing the recording is in the public interest. Ware agreed in a Sept. 19 decision.

In Monday's order, a three-judge panel of the appeals court said it will expedite its consideration of the video appeal and will hear an hour of arguments during the week of Dec. 5.

The panel also set a briefing schedule, with principal briefs from both sides due by Nov. 14 and reply briefs by Nov. 28.

Written transcripts of the 12 days of trial testimony and one day of closing arguments have already been made public, and gay marriage supporters have posted a video re-enactment of the trial on the Internet.

Santa Cruz Police Investigating Gang-Related Stabbing

Santa Cruz police are investigating a gang-related stabbing Sunday night that left a 26-year-old man seriously wounded.    

The stabbing occurred at about 10:10 p.m. in the 100 block of Bixby Street, police said.

Witnesses told officers the victim was backing his car out of a driveway when a man approached him, made some kind of a gang statement and then stabbed him through the driver's side window, according to police.

The suspect then fled on foot toward San Lorenzo Boulevard.   

Officers and a police dog searched the area for the suspect but could not find him.

The victim was taken to a hospital with multiple stab wounds to his hand and chest, police said. He was alert, but was in serious condition.

The victim told investigators he did not know his attacker.

The suspect is described as a man in his late teens to mid-20s. He was around 5 feet 7 inches tall and had a medium build, and was wearing black pants, a black shirt, a black hat, and white shoes.

 

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the lower 60s.

Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, becoming mostly clear later in the night. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.

Sunny skies are expected Wednesday. Highs are expected to be in the high 60s.

 

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Man Uses Umbrella To Hide Face During North Beach Bank Robbery

A bank in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood was robbed Saturday morning by a suspect who used an open umbrella to hide himself from surveillance cameras, police said today.

The robbery was reported at about 9:05 a.m. Saturday at a Bank of the West at 480 Columbus Ave.

The suspect walked into the bank with the umbrella hiding his face, then told all three tellers, "Give me all the 20s and 100s. If not, I'll shoot you," police said.

The bank employees did not see a weapon, but handed over an undisclosed amount of cash to the suspect, police said. He then fled and was last seen running east on Green Street.

No one was injured in the robbery.

At the time of the robbery, the suspect had his head and neck covered with a red, yellow, green and black bandana and a black nylon face mask.

Anyone with information about the robbery is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Historic Bell Stolen From St. Mary's Cathedral Garden

A historic bell was reported stolen from the garden at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco on Sunday morning, police said today.

The copper bell, which is about 4 feet tall, 5 feet wide and weighs several thousand pounds, was reported stolen by the manager of the church, located at 1111 Gough St., police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The bell is a "priceless artifact," police Inspector Brian Danker said.

It was made in 1889 at a Baltimore foundry and shipped to San Francisco, where it survived the 1906 earthquake, as well as a fire that burned down the original St. Mary's Cathedral on Van Ness Avenue in the 1960s, Danker said.

Property of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the bell was moved in 1971 to the church's new location, where it was put on display in the garden. Church officials had planned to hang it in the cathedral again but could never get the funding to do so, he said.

Although the theft was reported on Sunday, "nobody can swear on a stack of Bibles when they can last remember seeing it," Danker said.

Investigators are searching for surveillance video that may have captured the theft, and are looking into whether the stolen bell is connected to other recent copper theft cases, including one at the nearby intersection of Gough and Turk streets where more than $25,000 in copper wiring was taken, Danker said.

Police are also notifying local junkyards and recycling centers where the bell could potentially turn up, he said.

Danker said the church is offering a "substantial" reward for the bell's return.

"We're just concerned about getting the artifact back," he said. 

"It's not right."

Anyone with information about the theft is encouraged to call the Police Department's Northern Station at (415) 553-1563, the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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