SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — When Amir Massoumi went to retrieve his BMW on Greenwich Street in San Francisco’s North Beach on August 12th, it wasn’t there.
Luckily, the car has a GPS tracker because it’s part of a rideshare company called “Getaround.”
”When I couldn’t find it, I opened up the app and I could see it was in the Tenderloin,” Massoumi said. “That’s when I realized it’s obviously got to be stolen.”
Massoumi used the app to disable his car. Then police invited him to jump in with them as they tracked down his stolen car. Amir shot cell phone video of the arrest last month.
“They pretty much [dragged] him out of the car,” Massoumi said. “It seemed to be as red-handed as it gets.”
But then Amir got an email from a police sergeant, telling him District Attorney George Gascón has decided not to prosecute the case.
“I was definitely upset,” he said.
Officials with the Gascón’s office told KPIX 5 that prosecutors decided they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt the man caught in the car was the one who stole the vehicle.
The district attorney’s office pointed to the fact that the car had been stolen at least 8 hours before it was recovered, which provided ample time for people to go in and out of the vehicle. In fact, prosecutors said there was evidence that another person had been in the car. Some items were stolen out of the glove compartment, but were not in the possession of the man sitting in the car.
Getaround sent Massoumi a map which showed his car had been stolen around 4:30 in the morning, then driven down to the Bayview and up and down San Francisco streets before it was recovered in the Tenderloin about eight hours later.
KPIX 5 legal analyst Ladoris Cordell said the district attorney made the right call.
“I agree,” Cordell said. “I think that would have been a mistake to right away charge that person with stealing a car.”
“Prosecutors can only deal with the facts they have,” Cordell added. “And they don’t have the sufficient facts to say ‘he is absolutely the one who stole the car.’”
Massoumi said prosecutors should have tried.
“Look, this guy’s obviously in a stolen car,” he said. “It’s on videotape, both with the police officers’ dash cam and my personal video that I shared with the police department. There doesn’t seem to be any excuse for not pursuing this.”
The district attorney’s office said the suspect in the car was a parolee. Although he was not charged, he spent some time in jail, but those records were not available by our deadline. The man’s post-release community supervision was also revoked, which is a sanction related to a parole violation.