SAN FRANCISCO - Surveillance video shows a man in a Giants jacket spotting a Ukrainian flag outside a home in San Francisco's Inner Richmond.
Within moments, he yanks it from a planter, knocking the planter onto the ground.
"For whatever reason, the flag got his attention, kind of like a red cape in a bullfight," said victim Leanna Dawydiak, whose surveillance videos captured the crime.
After tearing down the flag, the man leaves, comes back and takes down a larger Ukrainian flag from the wall, before hurling it onto the sidewalk. Dawydiak said she doesn't know what he was thinking.
"He was clearly after the flags. Now whether he was after them because he’s just nuts, or he was after them because of the significance of them? I don’t know," Dawydiak said.
But he wasn't done. He tossed the planter down the sidewalk and threw a second one out onto the street. He went on to hurl cast-iron furniture off the front porch.
The vandal pulled the flagpole bracket off the house, damaging the outside, so for now, the large Ukrainian flag isn't back on display.
"I think it was generally angry and hateful," Dawydiak said.
Dawydiak is half-Ukrainian on her father's side. She visited in 2019 and has been trying to return. But the pandemic hit, and then the war
"Considering I have family over there in the middle of this, it bothers me a lot," she said.
It also bothers her because both she and her husband Reno Rapagnani happen to be retired San Francisco police officers.
Even so, it took a couple of calls before the cavalry came from the Richmond station, where Rapagnani formerly worked.
"No one is immune," Rapagnani said. "This is the safest police district in the city. And we’ve seen a real uptick in crime in the Richmond - and then we don’t have enough police officers anymore."