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Man Detained in Castro Window Vandalism

by Seth Hemmelgarn
Wednesday Nov 7, 2012
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San Francisco police are investigating a man suspected of breaking windows at the GLBT History Museum and the Magnet health center, which are located across the street from each other in the Castro neighborhood.

Sergeant Chuck Limbert, LGBT liaison for the San Francisco Police Department’s Mission Station, said the man has been detained after allegedly breaking windows at the museum, 4127 18th Street, and Magnet, 4122 18th Street, between 6 and 6:30 a.m. Monday, October 29. The man hadn’t been arrested as of early Tuesday afternoon, October 30.

"We do have a suspect, and we are doing a full investigation related to it," Limbert said. He declined to share many details about the man, but he said the window vandalism wasn’t a hate crime.

Limbert said the man’s alleged actions also weren’t related to celebrations in the Castro and other neighborhoods that took place after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series Sunday night, October 28. Events in some parts of the city that night turned violent.

The district attorney’s office announced that as of Tuesday afternoon nine people would be charged with crimes including assault on a police officer, negligent discharge of a firearm, robbery, and arson of property.

Limbert declined to say whether there were any witnesses to the windows being broken, but he said police are examining video surveillance footage from the area and other information.

Paul Boneberg, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society, which runs the museum, said, "Two of the four windows were smashed and need to be replaced." A bottle was thrown through one of the windows, he said, but he didn’t know what was used to break the other one.

He estimated the windows would cost from $3,000 to $5,000 altogether to replace. However, he said, "None of the displays were in any way affected." The museum was closed Monday but it was open again for regular hours Tuesday.

Boneberg, who said his understanding was that the incident occurred around 4:45 to 5 a.m. Monday, said besides replacing the windows, "My guess is we’ll also upgrade our security systems and insurance."

Donations for replacing the museum’s windows are being accepted. For more information, visit http://www.glbthistory.org.

Ryan McKeel, a spokesman for San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which operates Magnet, sent an email to several staff members Tuesday morning that said the center "sustained minor window damage during the Giants victory celebrations on Sunday night." A photo provided by SFAF showed a window that had been shattered, but not completely smashed.

Magnet, which provides STD testing and other services, "is open for business as usual this week," McKeel said. "The damage to the front window does not pose any risk to customers or pedestrians, and the window will soon be replaced."

The damage is estimated at about $2,000.

Anyone with information in the window breakings may contact Limbert at (415) 558-5400 or mailto:charles.limbert@sfgov.org.

Other incidents

Two other recent incidents in the Mission and Castro areas include a bank robbery and a home invasion.

At 3:40 p.m., Friday, October 26, a man robbed a bank in the 400 block of Castro Street, police reported. Police typically don’t release names of businesses that are targeted in crimes, but an employee of U.S. Bank, 443 Castro Street, confirmed that was the bank involved.

According to a police summary, a man walked into the bank, wrote something on a deposit slip, and handed it to a teller. The teller gave him an unknown amount of currency, and the suspect fled on foot, police said.

Officer Albie Esparza, an SFPD spokesman, described the suspect as a white man, 35 to 40 years old, who’s about 5 feet 2 inches and weighs 170 pounds.

He was wearing a black T-shirt with a white, "bird-like logo" in the center; silver-framed sunglasses with bluish-tinted lenses; a black, leather-type trench coat; blue jeans; a brown belt and brown boots; and white headphones, Esparza said.

In the other incident, which occurred at 12:45 a.m., Sunday, October 28 in the 3100 block of 24th Street, two women who appeared to be partners were in their bedroom when they heard a noise coming from inside the apartment, police reported.

An unknown suspect tried to open the locked bedroom door and announced himself, police said. After the victims, ages 27 and 32, heard him leave, they noticed their stove had been turned on and a plate that had been left on the stove was smoking.

Esparza said the man identified himself to the women as Esteban.

Numerous home invasions are reported in the city every week. Esparza said in this case, although nothing was taken and no one was injured, "It still rattles the nerves."

He believed there was no sign of forced entry in the incident, and he encouraged people to at least lock ground-floor doors and windows.

Copyright Bay Area Reporter. For more articles from San Francisco's largest GLBT newspaper, visit www.ebar.com

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