In at least six separate instances this fall, cyclists making their way through the Panhandle at night were attacked by men who knocked them off their bikes, then stole those bikes and rode off on them. Now a significant arrest has finally been made in the case.
As we reported then, suspects were described after an outcry from cyclist victims as Hispanic males between 18 and 22. The police had chased down several of them, and some bikes appeared on Craiglsist or were otherwise recovered. Weapons of choice included empty bottles and sticks, and in several cases attackers struck cyclists on the head as they were moving.
The Panhandle bike path is usually quiet and peaceful. It's a refuge from a busy section of Fell Street. However, it's poorly lit and lined with trees for potential attackers to hide behind.
Now, says the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, one suspect is in custody and has named some accomplices.
We are relieved to share the San Francisco Police Department’s update on the investigation into the alarming reports of people being attacked while biking on the Panhandle in September and October. The police have arrested one suspect who is making his way through the legal process and identified several others from the group, who are aware of the investigation.
“We do believe that a group was working together, so we do believe that there are other suspects that need to be brought to justice. We are working on that at this point,” officer Gordon Shyy told CBS SF. “Thankfully we have not heard of anymore incidents and that is very encouraging. We definitely talk to folks who ride to the Panhandle regularly and people are feeling comfortable and safe,” said Shyy.
If you are involved in any similar incident, the Bike Coalition has the following advice.
How to Take Action on Future Issues: If you encounter any suspicious or dangerous behavior on the Panhandle, please report it. For emergencies, get to a safe place and call 911. For tips or to report suspicious behavior, call the SFPD Park Station at 415-242-3000. Attend your SFPD Station monthly community meetings. This is a chance to meet with the Station officers directly to make sure they hear the community’s concern about safety in your neighborhood. Check your local station website for dates and locations of upcoming community meetings. Please also let us know about issues in your neighboord by tweeting to @sfbike or emailing [email protected].