GG was listening to an episode of Call the Midwife. Nick, her partner, was snoozing. There’s always a lot noise at their northern Mission Street locale, but at 11:30 on Saturday night, it sounded a lot closer than usual.
It was. By the end of 15 harrowing minutes, police were taking away a burglary suspect and GG and Nick were just grateful that no one was hurt. But it was a narrow escape—for them as well as their neighbors.
GG and Nick were only two of a few people in their three-story, six-unit building to be hit by a crime wave that night.
Earlier in the evening one of them shooed a burglar away, said GG, who spoke on condition that we not use her full name. But for reasons that are unclear, that person did not call the police. A second neighbor had also been burglarized earlier in the evening.
At first GG, her headphones blocking it, actually didn’t hear any noise at all. Nick did and got up to investigate. He walked down the hall of their second-floor railroad flat and noticed the door of the front parlor facing Mission Street closed. He tested it. It was also locked and he guessed immediately that someone was inside.
“He broke down the door and saw a guy exiting with a backpack through the window,” said GG.
Nick, a former wrestling champion in high school, tackled the intruder, forced him to the ground and held on.
After two minutes or so GG got up to see what was going on. She could tell almost immediately that something wasn’t right because again the door was locked. She called 911, forced the front parlor door open and found Nick in control of the intruder, a man in his 30s or early 40s.
GG said that Nick later told her it wasn’t as easy as it looked – the intruder came close to overpowering Nick.
When police arrived to take the suspect away, he kept pleading, “all I wanted to do was sleep, all I wanted to do was sleep,” said GG and “we kind of felt sorry for him.” They wondered if they should press charges.
Later, however, they realized that the suspect had methodically gone through their things and stuffed two bags full of IDs, social security cards and other documents and objects. He clearly wanted more than sleep. They will press charges.
In retrospect, GG said, she now knows that “Nick was in the living room screaming for help and I didn’t hear him.”
If other tenants did, they didn’t call the police.
GG and Nick intend to ask their landlord to install bars in the front windows. She said she’d also recommend tenants call the police if they see anyone suspicious or hear screaming. Although they escaped unscathed, the incident was a jarring reminder of how close to home crime can hit.
“Every night we hear screaming, people in pain,” from the street, she said. “It’s weird to have that come into our place.”