Two San Francisco sheriff deputies had their personal cars stolen over the weekend while they were on the job, the Sheriff’s Department confirmed Monday.
One of the deputies went to work at the county jail and the other to the Sheriff’s Office, both of which are located at 425 7th St., a structure adjoining the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St.. The deputies parked their cars on the street. When they returned around eight to 12 hours later, their cars were gone. It is unclear exactly when, over the weekend, this occurred, but this story will be updated when this information is available.
The Sheriff’s Department said the theft is currently being investigated and that it could not provide more details about it at this time.
This was an incident that could’ve been easily prevented, according to the president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, Ken Lomba. He alleged that the Sheriff’s Department doesn’t allow deputies to park in two empty lots near Harrison and 6th streets, causing them to park on the street, which makes them more susceptible to car break-ins or theft.
“The job is dangerous, and threats to law enforcement have increased. Most law enforcement departments in San Francisco provide parking, but the Sheriff’s Office does not,” Lomba said. “The Deputy Sheriffs have always been here for San Francisco through all emergencies, but they are treated as last priority for safe parking.”
Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said in a statement, “We recognize the challenges that our deputies experience due to the lack of available downtown parking. The situation has been exacerbated by both private and public construction projects. The Sheriff’s Office continues to work with our city partners on short-term solutions for safe staff parking options. However, subsidized parking is an employee benefit for which the parties must negotiate with the City.”
The press spokesman at the Sheriff’s Department said that people should not assume the cars were stolen merely because they were parked on the street. “We don’t speculate about cases that are under investigation. We follow the facts,” said Nancy Crowley, the director of communications at the Sheriff’s Department.
Issues with parking on the street have gone on for years, Lomba said. The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association created an online petition at least a year ago to “secure parking to protect deputy sheriffs,” which gained close to 500 signatures and was addressed to Mayor London Breed.
“Attacks and Murder on Law Enforcement is escalating. San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs are the only Law Enforcement Officers in the area of 850 Bryant St. without secure parking,” the petition’s description said. “Attacks can happen here. Let’s Protect the Deputies that Protect Us [sic] with secure parking.”
“These officers have a right to park securely in the City that they protect. Shocked it’s not already in place. C’mon, Mayor!” someone commented on the petition.
On two separate incidents in August of this year, the Twitter account @SFCarBreakins, which crowdsources information about car break-ins, tweeted that a deputy sheriff’s car was broken into at the 800 block of Harrison Street, and another was broken into at 850 Bryant St. In the latter case, an on-duty deputy caught and arrested the perpetrator — who was allegedly breaking into cars in front of the Hall of Justice on a block saturated with police and deputies.
Motor-vehicle thefts in San Francisco are up by 31.7 percent this year compared to the same period last year, according to the San Francisco Police Department crime dashboard. From Jan. 1, 2020 to Nov. 1, 2020, 4,794 motor vehicles have been stolen, compared to 3,640 in the same period in 2019.