A 24th street merchant held up at gunpoint on Saturday said Wednesday morning that he was doing his own investigation to help police solve the crime that left him with 13 stitches, a broken nose and $19,000 missing in cash and merchandise.

“I’m trying to do this on my own. I don’t trust the police department,” said Edgardo Campos, the 55-year-old owner of Jj Jewelers at 3214 24th St.

“I don’t want this to happen again. Next time they’re carrying a real gun. Somebody could get killed. I want to alert the neighbors, you have to be careful.”

Mission Station Capt. Stephen Tacchini listened intently as Campos told the same story at a community meeting Tuesday night.

Tacchini advised him to give any evidence he found to police but Campos quickly interrupted saying he thought the inspectors on the case didn’t believe him and weren’t taking his theories seriously.

Campos believes the Saturday robbery is connected to two previous incidents that have taken place in the last two years. Police said the investigation is on going.

Campos told Mission Loc@l Wednesday that three African American men between the ages of 18 to 25 walked into his shop at 5:40 p.m. Saturday just as he and his two employees were closing up. They were wearing over-sized hoodies, baggy pants hung low around their legs and several layers of underwear, he said.

Edgardo Campos, robbed at gun point Saturday night.

Immediately after entering the store, the men pulled ski masks over their faces. Initially, Campos said, he thought “they were joking because the one with the gun couldn’t find it in his pants. The guy is not a professional.”

Soon after, however, he had the gun at Campos’s head and the two other men scrambled for the contents in the safe. The store’s two male employees lay quietly on the floor.

“They knew what they wanted,” Campos said adding that the robbers got roughly $12,000 in cash and $7,000 in merchandise including a layaway box of jewelry, “mostly wedding rings and chains” worth another $7,000, valuable European and American coins, including a rare 1898 $20 coin, and his 380 revolver.

“They went straight for the three drawers with money in it. And they came when they knew the safe would be open. They didn’t touch anything else. Incredible.”

Soon after the drawers were emptied, Campos said he heard a shot.

“I lost a lot of blood. There was blood all over the floor, on the sidewalks, all over my shirt. But I never fell, never got dizzy. I ran after them but they were already gone. I came back and put a rag over my eye and called the police myself from my cell phone.”

“It took 15 minutes for the police to show up!” Campos said. “They’re supposed to help taxpayers. In my experience, people who have been suffering [in the Latin communities] are not happy with the police.”

Campos said he was “ a little shaken,” but suffered no permanent damage. He said he thought the burglars were using a BB gun.  If it had been a real gun, he said, he would be dead.

Campos found the shell of a BB in his store the next day and  presented it in a zip lock bag on Tuesday night to police at the community meeting.

A chatty man with a thick accent, Campos came to San Francisco from his native El Salvador in 1974. He has been a landlord and a small business owner for 25 years, helping to sweep the streets to keep his beloved neighborhood beautiful, he said.

Amanda Martinez contributed to this story.

Join the Conversation


  1. If he is unhappy with the police investigation, just wait until he finds out the District Attorney Kamala Harris frequently chooses not to prosecute criminals. Kamala is the best friend a guilty criminal ever had. And yet someone, Kamala thinks she should be State Attorney General. Incredible. San Francisco voters may be stupid enough to elect her but I doubt seriously that voters throughout the state will make that mistake.

  2. Um…Why does the lead sentence of this article describe Campos as “a 24th Street merchant” when his shop is in the Outer Mission a half mile south of 24th? By that standard, it would be as “accurate” to say his shop was in Bernal Heights, or Noe Valley, or the Inner Mission. And of course “24th Street” is hardly a helpful term since there are two distinct shopping districts along the two miles between Potrero and Diamond.

    1. Thank We flubbed–it’s on 24th Street–same address but 24th which makes all the difference and also makes Campos a 24th St. Mission. Sorry to miss this comment earlier. We’ve been swamped here, but thanks for the sharp eye! Best, lc

  3. Gosh, This is a horrible situation. The poor man! That said, if the gentleman is not going to cooperate with the cops, and is openly hostile toward them, it will be hard for them to see his theories as credible. Cops in the Mission are overworked and understaffed, and people are getting beaten and robbed all the time. This is a particularly bad example, but street crime in the mission in unchecked and rampant. When people are uncooperative and hostile toward the cops, it isn’t helping.

  4. Typical cops… there all at star bucks eating and drinking coffee or hiding out! Go to noe and 24th if you don’t believe me!!! OH BUT THEY ALWAYS HAVE THEIR HANDS OUT FOR A RAISE!!! What about the 25% raise. They we’re given a few yeas ago! By our useless mayor!! Oh yea the police have a 24% arrest record. The lowest in the state!!!!!!!!!!

  5. So apparently my critique got moderated out. But I’m still curious why you keep this article up with a glaring error of fact in your lead: Campos’ store is a full half-mile south of 24th Street, so he is simply NOT a “24th Street Merchant.” If you don’t believe me, go check Google Maps for yourself. Either you’ve got some agenda here (ie, suggesting an Outer Mission crime occurred in the Inner Mission) or you just don’t care about getting your story right. It’s a shame.

  6. # absolutelycrazy Says:
    30 July 2009 at 8:52 AM

    Carry your own gun and protect yourself. The police waited 15 minutes to make sure that the robbers got away first.

    This is so true! ther are many shooting in the area and i for one know that cops wait before coming. when cope patrol they should be in different locations unless all of the are at the same donut shop. my point being cops should be arriving on the scene at different times. Next time a shooting or something major goes down watch as the cavalry comes together.

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