You may be familiar with gonzo YouTube journalist Andrew Callaghan and his "Channel 5" interviews with everyone from the Q Shaman, to anti-vaxxers, and Phish fans. Well, he just spent some time in San Francisco, and his footage is both sensational and enlightening.
Let's start by saying that Callaghan doesn't seem to have any particular journalistic mission other than garnering YouTube views and getting "real" with people on the street. And there is plenty of questionable and/or downright unethical stuff in his new videos about San Francisco.
For instance, he segues from talking about how crazy dangerous San Francisco is right now in this video below (around the 5:20 mark) to shilling for a personal-injury law firm, which is apparently one of his sponsors.
But the video, which was picked up earlier by Brokeass Stuart, is remarkable for a few reasons, not the least of which is that Callaghan got one of San Francisco's most prolific "bippers" — thieves who break into cars using a "bip" or other device — to show him how he does it. This bipper, who starts by partly covering his face with a jacket hood but ends up fully revealing his face, is named Jack. Jack the Bipper.
We learn about how vehicle spark plugs are well known, reliable, and cheap devices for shattering car windows, and now these are among the items that count as burglary tools when SF prosecutors are filing enhancements against burglary suspects.
Jack, who just got out of jail a few days before the video was shot, talks about how SF cops and the sheriff's deputies who run the jail are not treating incarcerated burglary suspects and fentanyl addicts like him very kindly these days.
And because he's been caught too many times with spark plugs, Jack is now court-ordered to stay away from all Auto Zone stores or from possessing spark plugs. So these days he goes to Chinatown and buys what they're calling a "bipping kit" — essentially a baggy of cheap porcelain dishes and tchotchkes, because these are also effective at shattering auto glass.
Jack then takes Callaghan to an underground parking garage somewhere downtown where he proceeds to break into some cars, on camera! Then the pair get on BART to 24th Street, so that Jack can sell what he's stolen to a fence, and while on the five-stop BART ride, Jack smokes some fentanyl! And he goes on praise what he's just smoked as the "best fenty in the city."
Jack also discusses how everyone who's out there bipping isn't doing it to harm people or make the city look bad. They're just trying to get by, like him, and/or support a drug habit.
Callaghan has plenty more footage about fentanyl use, drug sales, and crime in general in the 46-minute video below, titled "San Francisco Streets." It seems to have been shot over the summer, because Callaghan was on the scene and captured footage of a July incident in SoMa in which a food-delivery driver had his Prius stolen, and the thief sped backwards in the car with the driver's side door open — Callaghan's footage of that made it on several evening news broadcasts.
Callaghan also speaks to a couple of prolific thieves who brag about smash-and-grab robberies at local retail stores, and stealing iPhone display models at the Apple Store. And they take credit for a high-profile armed robbery on Twin Peaks in March 2022 that landed on the news, which they apparently were never convicted for. (Four suspects were arrested for that robbery, though, in April 2022.)
A guy named Antwuan whom Callaghan enlists as a guide also takes him up Jones Street, off of Market Street, which he calls the Woo Block, and says this is basically where you can get "anything and everything."
Callaghan also has kind of a gross, sensational angle on homelessness which he conflates with San Francisco's crime issues — and he makes the baldly misleading connection between the April murder of CashApp founder Bob Lee and homelessness and crime, even though we now know the only suspect in Lee's murder is a fellow tech entrepreneur, not a homeless person. News outlets quickly used Lee's murder as an example of SF's "out of control" state, but then had to back-track when the arrest was made, and Callaghan just ignores all of that.
On the plus side, Callaghan acknowledges that many of SF's neighborhoods are perfectly safe, and that all of the filming he did for his documentary was done in a six-block radius around the Tenderloin and mid-Market.