Thieves target photographers at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts
SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco police are investigating a pair of brazen robbery attempts targeting photographers near one of the city's iconic landmarks.
After years of auto burglars hitting the area around the Palace of Fine Arts, thieves are now targeting photographers who use the famed attraction as a backdrop.
One incident happened in broad daylight last Wednesday and was captured on video and posted to social media.
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The video shows a photographer, who is in the middle of a photo shoot, struggling to hold on to his equipment while the robbers brandish what appears to be a gun.
The struggle goes on for nearly a minute before the suspects take off empty-handed.
Then the same day, the apparent robbers were more successful in another incident. They were seen on video running off with what looked like a backpack or equipment bag and taking off in a silver car.
Police say both incidents are under investigation. Officers are hoping that someone comes forward with information.
Residents in the area are not surprised.
"There's wedding pictures being taken here all the time most every day," said Mark of San Francisco.
He says wedding and engagement photographers frequently use the beauty of the Palace of Fine Arts as a backdrop. But he says he's also seen his fair share of crime, specifically auto burglaries.
"I don't know where they're coming from," said Mark. "The guys that I saw were in a nice Black Chrysler, and they jumped out and were really quick about it. It's been going on for a long time."
Neighborhood groups say they've complained about crime for years.
This recent round of robberies has them asking for more officers to patrol the area.
"We need more police officers and I have a plan that we're going to try to do something strategically immediately if we can get to the powers that be, and we have people in City Hall right now with invitations," said Patricia Vaughey from the Marina Cow Hollow Neighbors and Merchants.