UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning, police had arrived at Dolores Street Community Services. One squad car was parked out front.
Although it appeared unscathed from the street on Monday morning, over the weekend the inside of the Dolores Street Community Services office on Valencia Street was burglarized. Offices were broken into and the new computer shipment that arrived Friday was stolen, said deputy director Saúl Hidalgo.
Other items may have also been stolen, Hidalgo said, but he and other employees hadn’t yet assessed the full extent of the loss. They have been waiting for police to arrive ever since they first called them Sunday afternoon.
As of Monday evening, they are still waiting. The Mission Station is located three blocks north of the nonprofit’s offices at 938 Valencia St.
Dolores Street Community Services has a long history of offering services to the community, including shelters for the unhoused, immigration services and legal aid. The organization also includes the San Francisco Day Labor Program and the Women’s Collective under its umbrella.
On Friday, a shipment of 11 new computers and tech equipment arrived at the main office on Valencia Street.
“It was handled so discreetly the purchase, it was only our ops team that knew about it,” Hidalgo said. “Apparently the delivery came really late on Friday so we didn’t even alert any of the staff that they were gonna get them today.”
The plan had been to distribute new computers to employees on Monday, but another employee arrived on Sunday afternoon to find the office in total disarray.
“It’s incredibly disheartening [for] those of us who work in nonprofits, we just get used to doing more with less,” Hidalgo said, “and so, anytime any of our vital resources are taken, it just further complicates our work.”
Hidalgo didn’t think the attack was targeted, since all of the office windows inside were smashed and the thieves “went through everything.”
But it might have been someone who had been inside the office before: When staff tried to review their security camera footage, Hidalgo said the “little peep hole” the camera sits in had been tampered with.
“We don’t know how much we’ll see, because it was actually covered up,” Hidalgo said. “We’re trying to see if there’s anything our IT person can do … that may not be possible.”
The thieves may have been familiar with Dolores Street office or its shipment, or it’s possible someone simply got lucky and managed to get the front door open. The office appeared untouched from the outside, meaning no one knew the break-in had happened until Sunday afternoon.
For now, Hidalgo and his team are just waiting, frustrated with a lack of response from police. He said they don’t want to touch anything or disturb the scene of the crime until the police have done their walk-through, and more losses may still be unaccounted for within individual offices.
The operations manager called for assistance twice yesterday and three times today, but was told that since the break-in isn’t an active crime scene, it isn’t a high priority.
He’s not sure when the police will eventually show up, but Hidalgo said, “We’ll keep knocking at their door until they do.” A claim will then be submitted to the organization’s insurance company.
The SFPD has not yet responded to a request for comment but this story will be updated if and when they do.
But just this afternoon, the SFPD’s Mission Station tweeted a statement about ramping up its protection of the community: “In light of recent events @SFPDMission is implementing a plan to increase police presence in our district. We will not tolerate theft. We are committed to protecting the merchants that operate within our community.”
It is unclear which events the tweet is referring to, but Dolores Street Community Services doesn’t seem to have gotten that protection.