A suspect who allegedly broke windows at the taqueria El Faro has been booked at San Francisco County Jail for vandalism for the second time, according to police and jail records.
Michael Rojas allegedly wielded an “unknown object” and repeatedly beat two windows and the door of the locally renowned taqueria at 2399 Folsom St., near 20th Street, according to police officers.
Rojas, 38, was booked on Nov. 22 on charges of vandalism and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. This is the second time Rojas has been booked for allegedly vandalizing El Faro.
Rojas is currently in county jail, with a bond set at $5,000. No scheduled court date was listed on city records.
On Monday night, multiple neighbors heard someone breaking El Faro’s windows with an object and called police. Witnesses helped the police identify and detain Rojas, officers said in a statement.
“We got a call last night around midnight from [a] family friend, that, you know, it’s somebody here, and the police are already here,” said Cesar Ramirez, who works at El Faro and is the son of the owner.
Raymunda Ramirez, the proprietor of the 61-year-old taqueria, observed the damage through teary eyes on Tuesday morning as her daughter and El Faro employee Patricia diced onions nearby.
“It’s sad,” Ramirez said. Two months ago, the business owner was on the news to talk about how her 61-year-old taqueria sells one of the best super burritos in the business. That news was “good,” Ramirez recalled, smiling dejectedly. “Now, it’s going to be bad.”
The family said it costs about $1,000 to replace a window and, after Monday, it’s clear at least two need fixing. What’s unclear is the type of weapon the suspect wielded, or why he allegedly vandalized El Faro multiple times. When interviewed by Mission Local, the family did not know who the culprit was.
“Five times, they hit this window. The door has like six to eight smacks,” Cesar Ramirez said, pointing at the entrance.
On Sept. 13, police believe it was Rojas who broke into El Faro through one of the same windows. The suspect, they allege, then took alcohol and bread from the taqueria and fell asleep, said Patricia. The same family friend who on Monday alerted police did so in September as well.
The neighborhood watches out for her family because “they all know us,” Patricia Ramirez said as she gestured around.
Police officers detained and arrested Rojas in September, who was charged with vandalism and burglary in the second degree, police officers said.
At the time of the interview on Tuesday, the Ramirez family did not know police had detained Rojas again.
The siblings, though disappointed, understand that life in the city means property crime can be par for the course. Still, their mom does not take it lightly. “It hits her deeper,” Cesar said. “She’s been here for more than 40 years. It’s more personal feelings.”
“Especially this time, Thanksgiving is coming,” Ramirez said. “We were talking about last night to have a party in the house. But now, I don’t know.”