SF News

Man Found Guilty Of Attacking Estranged Wife With Hammer In 2008

A man was convicted today of trying to kill his estranged wife with a hammer in 2008 at her home near San Francisco's Twin Peaks.

Steve Acosta, 59, faced 22 separate charges in the case, including attempted murder, torture, mayhem, stalking, making criminal threats, burglary and violating a restraining order.

His estranged wife, Kimberly Celoni, was attacked with a hammer on April 16, 2008, at her home on Glenview Drive, where Acosta had also repeatedly threatened and vandalized her property in the days leading up to the attack, prosecutors said.

Celoni was left with permanent cognitive and physical injuries from the attack.

A San Francisco Superior Court jury found Acosta guilty of 20 of the 22 counts, acquitting him of two of the criminal threats charges.

Acosta also had two prior convictions for assault in 1974 and 1986, and could face a life sentence under the state's three strikes law.

His defense attorney, Floyd Andrews, said outside of court that Acosta was a recovering addict who began using drugs again after having back surgery and getting painkillers.

He and Celoni had been married for 11 years, but after using drugs again, Acosta began accusing her of having affairs, even one with a man who had been dead for years, Andrews said.

He said the jury's verdict was "not unexpected" since he had acknowledged Acosta was guilty of the attack during the trial.

Acosta will return to court on Wednesday for a trial to affirm his two previous convictions and likely to set a date for sentencing.

 

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Phillies Fan Injured In Hit-And-Run Upgraded From Critical To Serious Condition

A 9-year-old boy who was injured during a hit-and-run in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood Thursday has been upgraded from critical to serious condition, a San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman said.

Ryan White was visiting from Philadelphia and had recently left the evening baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies when he was struck by a white pickup truck while crossing Mission Street at around 10:30 p.m.

White was walking ahead of a family member when he was struck by the truck, which was turning left onto Mission Street. The truck had been driving north on New Montgomery Street, which is a one-way southbound street, police said.

Hayward resident Andrew Vargas, 21, was stopped in Hayward at around 11:30 p.m. when local police spotted his truck.

He was booked into jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence in connection with the incident, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

White suffered a traumatic brain injury, which is slowly improving, as well as fractures to his pelvis, left leg and ankle, and a laceration to his liver, according to a statement that his family released today.

"Ryan has a long road ahead of him, but he is young and strong and we expect steady improvement especially when he can engage in rehabilitation full time," the statement read.

The family also expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support they have received from the city's police and fire departments, the mayor, and the Giants and Phillies organizations.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee visited the boy and his family today at the hospital. "I will continue to keep Ryan and his family in my prayers as he recovers," he said in a statement.

Representatives from both the Phillies and the Giants went to the hospital to visit Ryan and his family, and Giants players sent Ryan and his 11-year-old brother Kevin signed baseball bats and jerseys, a team spokeswoman said.

Lefty O'Douls, a restaurant located at 333 Geary St., has also said they will donate half of their proceeds from Wednesday's lunch -- between noon and 3 p.m. -- to help the family with medical costs.

"We've been deeply touched by the outpouring of support by people we don't even know, local residents and merchants, such as Lefty O'Douls, that are stepping forward to help Ryan," the family said. 

Cards and letters for Ryan may be sent to: Ryan White, P.O. Box 542, San Francisco, CA 94104.

 

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Update: Lower Haight Power Outage Affects 5,200

A power outage left 5,200 customers in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood without power for several hours today, a PG&E spokesman said.

Spokesman Joe Molica said that as of 3:40 p.m. power had been restored for about 2,900 PG&E customers in the area of Duboce Park. Service was restored for the remaining 2,300 customers just before 5:00 p.m.

The outage began shortly after 2:30 p.m. and was caused by a failed underground cable near the corner of Duboce Avenue and Walter Street.

The cable caused a loud noise and released smoke in that area, startling some residents.

Now that power is restored, Molica said, crews are working on determining the cause and Are making repairs to the underground cables.

"Our first priority is to get the lights back on, and once all customers are restored we will get to work making repairs," Molica said.

He said they would send the damaged cable to a forensics lab to determine why it failed.

 

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5,200 Without Power In Lower Haight Neighborhood

A power outage has hit San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood this afternoon, a PG&E spokesman said.

Spokesman Joe Molica said the outage is affecting nearly 5,200 PG&E customers in the area of Duboce Avenue, and that crews are in the area working to determine the cause.

The outage began shortly after 2:30 p.m., and PG&E has no estimate yet as to when power will be restored.

 

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Four Men Arrested After Woman Interrupts Car Burglary

Four men were arrested Monday after a woman interrupted a burglar who was rummaging through her parked car in San Francisco's Alamo Square neighborhood, police said.

The burglary was reported at about 2:20 p.m. near the intersection of Hayes and Scott streets.

The 21-year-old victim returned to her car and found a man going through it. He tried to claim the car was a friend's, but then fled in a black vehicle, according to police.

When the man left, the woman discovered that her purse was missing from the trunk, so she called police.

A short time later, two plainclothes officers saw the suspect vehicle on Divisadero Street and pulled it over.

They found the woman's purse inside and arrested the car's four occupants, all men in their 20s, on suspicion of burglary and possessing stolen property, police said.

 

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Local Anti-DUI Campaign Honored As Best In The State

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr today received a plaque recognizing the city's "Avoid the 8" anti-DUI campaign as the best multi-jurisdictional effort of its kind in the state in 2010, a campaign spokeswoman said.

The plaque was presented to Suhr at San Francisco City Hall this morning by Christopher Murphy, director of state's Office of Traffic Safety, which provides funding for anti-DUI efforts.

The funding allows local agencies to band together to run sobriety checkpoints, conduct saturation patrols, and send out information to the public warning them of the dangers of drunken driving. In the annual California Law Enforcement Challenge, which judges each county's anti-DUI efforts in a variety of categories -- including enforcement, effectiveness, and public information -- San Francisco's Avoid the 8 campaign was named in May as the best in the state for 2010, Avoid campaign spokeswoman Jan Ford said.

The campaign consists of eight agencies in San Francisco, including the Police Department, sheriff's department, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Park police and various campus police departments, Ford said. About 15 officers and chiefs were on hand at City Hall today for the award presentation, she said.

Last month, the Avoid the 8 campaign was also named the third-best in the nation as part of the National Law Enforcement Challenge. Representatives of the campaign will travel to Chicago in October to be honored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for their third-place ranking. Two regions in Tennessee took first and second place in the national contest.

 

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Teen Wakes Up To Find Burglars Ransacking House

A teenage boy awoke to find two suspects ransacking his house in San Francisco's Oceanview neighborhood on Monday afternoon, police said.

The burglary was reported at about 12:40 p.m. Monday at a home in the 200 block of Broad Street. The intruders entered through a side door on the lower level of the house, according to police.

The 15-year-old victim told police he was sleeping and heard a noise, but then went back to sleep. He woke up minutes later to find one of the suspects asking him where money was located in the house, police said.

The victim said the suspects then threw a sheet over his head and ransacked the home before fleeing. He not injured, according to police. The suspects had not been found as of today.

Anyone with information about the case 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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Menlo Park: Fire Damages Portable Classroom at Belle Haven Elementary School

Firefighters battled a blaze at a school in Menlo Park this morning, a fire official said.

The fire, which burned in a double-wide trailer behind Belle Haven Elementary School at 415 Ivy Drive, was reported by a neighbor at 8:49 a.m., Menlo Park fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

Firefighters had the one-alarm blaze under control by 9 a.m., and no one was injured. The trailer is one of several portable classrooms in the rear of the campus, and is used for preschool and as an office space for an after-school program, Schapelhouman said. School was not in session, so no children were in danger, he said.

The trailer and its contents, which included computers and other office equipment, were seriously damaged and will most likely not be usable. "If the trailer can't be repaired -- and we don't believe it can -- replacement is an option, preferably before school starts," he said. 

He said school officials estimated the fire caused about $150,000 to $200,000 in damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and Schapelhouman said it was most likely accidental.

 

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Pendant Snatched From Woman in Mission Terrace

A woman in her 70s had a pendant snatched from her neck in San Francisco's Mission Terrace neighborhood on Monday afternoon, police said.

The robbery was reported at 2:16 p.m. in the 4600 block of Mission Street. A man approached the 71-year-old victim, grabbed her necklace and ripped the pendant off, according to police.

The suspect, described as in his mid 20s, fled and had not been found as of this morning, police said. The victim suffered a welt and some swelling on her neck but was treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization.

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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Gunfire Strikes Homes, Cars in Weekend Shooting

San Francisco police are investigating shots fired into several homes and cars on a residential street early Saturday morning.

The shooting was reported at about 2:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Blanken Avenue, several blocks from the Bayshore Caltrain station in the city's Little Hollywood neighborhood.

Officers responded to find that numerous cars had been hit by the gunfire, which also pierced plate-glass windows in two homes a block apart, according to police. No one was injured in the shooting. Police recovered .45-caliber shell casings in the area, but do not have any information about the shooter.

Anyone with information about the case 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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Weather Forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy weather and patchy fog is expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated.

Tonight is expected to be mostly cloudy with patches of fog after midnight. Lows in the lower 50s are expected.

Forecasters predict mostly cloudy skies Wednesday with patchy fog in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. 9)

 

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BART Service Restored After Monday Night Computer Glitch, Ready for Morning Commute

After BART train service was stopped for several hours throughout the system due to a computer glitch Monday night, service was fully restored by 11:15 p.m., BART spokesman Jim Allison said. BART trains are expected to be in full service during this morning's commute with no delays.

Service was in the process of being restored around 10 p.m. and after 11 p.m. BART was running with 30 trains, although about 10 of those trains were running late, Allison said. The glitch started at 7:35 p.m. After normal train service ends early this morning, BART officials are expected to continue trouble shooting the computer problem throughout the night.

The glitch was never considered a safety issue with train control computers never failing, Allison said. Nevertheless, control center managers decided to off-load passengers to prevent any incidents, Allison said.

Allison said an early diagnosis of the problem was a network router issue that was incorrectly displaying data at the operations control center. Trains were moving, but the control center was not able to monitor trains. While information was being streamed to a certain point, it wasn't getting past routers and was not feeding control displays with real-time information, Allison said.

 

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San Francisco Defendant in Hit-and-Run that Injured Boy Charged, To be Arraigned Today

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office has charged a Hayward man arrested in connection with a hit-and-run in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood on Thursday with several felony counts related to the incident that left a boy with life-threatening injuries.

Andrew Alan Vargas, 21, has been charged with two counts of felony drunk driving with injury and one felony count of hit-and-run with injury. The victims in the hit-and-run, a woman and a 9-year-old boy, were struck by a white pickup truck at the intersection of Mission and New Montgomery streets at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police said the truck had been driving north on New Montgomery Street -- a one-way southbound street -- and was turning left onto Mission Street. The truck did not stop after striking the pedestrians and continued west on Mission Street, colliding with several other parked and moving cars, police said.

One of the drunk driving charges outlines allegations that Vargas was driving with an open container, failed to stop at a red light, drove the wrong way on a one-way street and failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, according to the district attorney's office. "The conduct alleged in this case is egregious," District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement Monday.

"Anyone who puts other drivers or pedestrians' lives at risk with reckless, careless behavior should not be behind the wheel, and if they are, they should be prosecuted." Vargas is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges at 1:30 p.m. in a yet-to-be-determined department of the San Francisco Superior Court.

 

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BART Restoring Service After Trains Stopped Because of Communication Problem

BART is in the process of restoring service across its entire train system after it stopped running trains for several hours tonight because of a non-emergency computer issue, agency representatives said.

The computer glitch started at about 7:35 p.m., spokesman Linton Johnson said, and involves the computers inside BART's operations control center. The problem is preventing the control center from monitoring the location of the system's trains. "It's not a safety issue, per se, because the computers on the trackside are able to move the trains," Johnson said.

However, if a train were to have a mechanical issue, the operations center would normally reroute trains but cannot do so at this time without knowing trains' locations. As a result, earlier this evening the agency essentially stopped service, getting each train to the nearest station so that passengers would be allowed to exit while crews worked to resolve the problem.

"We can't 'see' the trains, and so we're asking most of the trains to stop," Johnson said. The trackside computers that control the trains were not affected by the problem, Johnson said. Passengers are advised to take alternate transportation, and other transit agencies are honoring BART tickets, spokesman Jim Allison said.

Allison said at about 9:55 p.m. that "service restoration is in progress" and that computer engineers were getting the computers "fired up again."

"We've got every crew that we can muster right now scrambling to get to the operations control center and out on the system so that way we can start moving service again on a limited basis," Johnson said.

 

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August 10, 2011

It’s 6:34 a.m., 54° and going to 64°. Looks like it’s not going to get really warm until everyone clears out for Burning Man. Details are here. I’ve noticed that whenever I pick up the Chron, I usually turn to Leah Garchick’s column first. It’s been said before, but she manages to write a society...

(08-10) 05:54 PDT NEW YORK, (AP) -- Macy's Inc. reported a 64 percent increase in its second-quarter profit as its strategy of tailoring merchandise to local markets is helping to overcome an overall sluggishness in the...

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Asked to respond to a Chicago Sun-Times Q&A that prompted a lot of buzz among Giants fans and could have been interpreted that he wasn't happy in San Francisco, Aaron Rowand had nothing but praise for the team, its fans...

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The 9-year-old boy from suburban Philadelphia who was struck by an alleged drunken driver after a Giants game in San Francisco has been upgraded from critical to serious condition and spoke his first sentences Tuesday...

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BART's plans to replace its rail cars have drawn much attention from riders and politicians, but Monday's systemwide shutdown - due to the failure of two data devices to work together - highlights that the transit...

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With both San Francisco and nearby San Jose landing on the list of the top 20 geekiest cities in the nation , as determined by the the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Bay Area is certainly a hot bed for geeky...

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