SAN FRANCISCO - Two men have been charged for a series of armed robberies in San Francisco's Mission District in situations where victims were held at gunpoint and at times pistol whipped, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office announced Friday.
Lloyd Gage, 33, of Fremont and Jacquez Tucker, 32, of San Francisco pled not guilty to "dozens of felony counts," Thursday, the DA's office said.
Both men are facing charges for burglary, robbery, false imprisonment, kidnapping, and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, among other charges.
The San Francisco Police Department alleges Gage and Tucker robbed three businesses in the Mission District between September 26 and October 4. .
"The robberies all involved the taking over of businesses and forcing victims on to the floor or corralling them into back rooms, all at gunpoint. In two of the robberies, the suspects’ pistol whipped the victims," the DA's office said in a press release.
Gage and Tucker allegedly stole merchandise, cash and ATM machines.
"Violent, egregious, brazen criminal conduct will be vigorously prosecuted in San Francisco, said DA Brooke Jenkins in a press release. "My office takes these crimes seriously and will use every legal means available to protect the safety of the public and ensure that there are consequences."
The two are suspected of robbing Happy Donuts at 24th and Church streets in Noe Valley at about 5:30 a.m. Oct. 2. They robbed a worker of $80, stole about $1,500 from the shop and stole the store's ATM with $5,000 inside, said manager Ratha Vann.
"I'm very happy they got them, you know, but one thing we think about, I hope they put them long time in jail," Vann told KTVU on Tuesday.
Representatives for the Mission District's small businesses welcomed the arrests.
"Small business owners are having a hard time keeping their employees, hiring people to work, so there's a workforce issue going on, a shortage. Second of all is, you're not safe," said Roberto Hernandez, a board member of the Mission Merchants Association.
Police said they identified Tucker as a suspect and that plainclothes officers began surveilling him as he drove around San Francisco. During one of his drives, police said they picked up Gage, who they said was wearing the same clothing and shoes worn during the robberies.
Police said Gage allegedly possessed a "distinct short-barreled rifle" that was also used in the robberies. And police said a search of Tucker’s home allegedly revealed clothing and shoes he wore during the robberies, along with firearms and merchandise that police believe were stolen from the businesses.
Both men are expected back in court on October 23 for a preliminary hearing.
No bail has been set, and if convicted of all charges, Tucker and Gage may face life in prison.