by Seth Hemmelgarn
Recent crimes that have hit San Francisco's Mission and Castro districts highlight concerns about pickpockets and shoplifters.
A Castro Business Watch organizational meeting will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. tonight (Thursday, February 23) at Coldwell Banker, 2355 Market Street.
The program is designed to help businesses exchange information about shoplifters and similar "troublemakers," according to organizers, including Castro Community on Patrol.
A hearing will be held in San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday related to one of the recent cases.
In the incident, which was reported at about 5:30 p.m., Sunday, February 12, San Jose resident Ricardo Delaguardia, 48, has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of grand theft from a person and a felony charge of possession of Norco, a controlled substance also known as acetaminophen and hydrocodone, without a prescription.
According to police, officers responded to Badlands bar, 4121 18th Street, where a man reported that Delaguardia had been groping him. He said that after he pushed Delaguardia away, another man told him that Delaguardia had taken his wallet while he was grabbing him.
Delaguardia denied taking the wallet, but he allegedly had handed it to David Oneil, 57, of San Francisco. Police reported that Oneil denied doing anything.
Along with Delaguardia and Oneil, Zonya Sisto, 33, of Las Vegas, was also arrested in connection with the incident, in which $100 was allegedly taken from the wallet.
Delaguardia's court date Thursday is to set a date for a preliminary hearing.
Oneil and Sisto have not been charged "pending further investigation," said Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
Another recent incident also involved Badlands.
At about 6:30 p.m. on January 30, four off-duty police were at the club when Andre Sherman, 55, of San Francisco, allegedly took one of their jackets – a $550 Juicy Couture garment – and left.
The officers pursued Sherman, who's also known as Undra Sherman, and he was eventually apprehended about half a block away, according to police.
Sherman was initially charged with felony grand theft of property and receiving or buying stolen property.
On February 7, he pleaded no contest to the grand theft charge after it was reduced to a misdemeanor. The other charge was dismissed as part of a negotiated disposition. He received a suspended imposition of sentence with one year of probation.
Sergeant Chuck Limbert, Mission Station's LGBT liaison, said that there's been a decrease in the number of reports of pickpockets and robberies recently.
He said one factor he attributes that to is that "the bars are talking more and sharing information regarding possible suspects." He said that for two months, several area bars have had a texting system allowing them to alert each other to potential problems.
A third Mission district incident involved two alleged shoplifters.
On February 3, the manager of the Five and Diamond clothing store, 510 Valencia Street, reported that she had refused service to Travis Bernard Davis, 45, and Lyle Gaines, 47, whom she reportedly recognized from a prior alleged theft.
Responding officers found the two San Francisco residents nearby just after they had apparently ditched two shopping bags they had been carrying. Police said each bag, apparently empty, was combined with a similar-shaped bag and lined with tin foil. An officer said in his report that such containers are often used in thefts to get around merchandise sensors. Davis denied any wrongdoing.
In their report, police said that both suspects were described in a Mission Station broadcast as "possible" transgender individuals. The genders for Davis, who's also known as Broderick Walker, and Gaines, also known as Dewayne Harrison, are both listed as female in the police report.
Bastian said that Davis was already on felony probation for second-degree burglary at the time she was arrested. He said that a motion to revoke probation has been filed, and the February 3 case was discharged. A hearing related to Davis's probation is set for March 2.
Bastian said the district attorney's office didn't file charges against Gaines due to a lack of evidence, pending further investigation.
Demarris Evans, the attorney representing Davis, couldn't be reached for comment. The attorney for Sherman didn't respond to interview requests. It's not clear who Delaguradia's attorney is.
Susan Fahey, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, said Friday, February 17 that Delaguardia and Davis weren't in custody.