4 tourists mugged within 48 hours on Lombard's crooked stretch in SF

Four tourists were mugged in three separate incidents near the famous crooked portion of Lombard Street over the past two days.

According to SFPD Spokeswoman Giselle Talkoff, a father and daughter witnessed two men breaking into a car near Lombard and Leavenworth Streets around 11:00 a.m. on June 1. Talkoff said the suspects made eye contact with father and daughter, and then pepper sprayed the girl and took her cell phone. The suspect’s vehicle backed up and hit the father. His injuries were minor.

Talkoff said the owners of the car that was broken into flagged down a police officer, but by the time he arrived, the men were gone.

Within the same hour, another tourist was victimized.

“They went up, pepper sprayed him and took his camera,” Talkoff said.

It is possible the crime was committed by the same suspects.

Then around 8:30 p.m. on June 2 a woman was punched in the face, according to Talkoff. Her purse was taken from her, but it is unclear if it was stolen. Talkoff said a wallet and money was stolen. A man the woman was with was shoved to the ground. His camera was taken.

Word of the brazen muggings came a shock to tourists visiting the famous site.

“We always hear about what a fantastic city it is and to come here and it has so much to offer and to come here and be afraid to walk around, it’s really disconcerting,” Diana Gorski, a tourist from Maryland.

“Tourists should have some protection,” Kelvin Naranjo, of Florida, said. “I love the way this looks, but I don’t see any police anywhere.”

Civilian guards do patrol the area near Lombard Street, but they only do so from noon to 7:00 p.m. The paid guards were brought in after a tourist from Thailand was shot and robbed of his camera in August 2015.

Talkoff said officers routinely patrol and a detailed unit is in the area for 10 hours a day on rotation.
She said the suspects are believed to be teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18. It is possible all the crimes are committed by the same men.

“It sounds similar in the same area, but again all the incidents are under investigation,” Talkoff said.

Tourists said they plan to take more precautions, but the crime won’t keep them away from the famous destination.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” Naranjo added. “We’re not disappointed. Certainly we’ll come back again.”

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department.