SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Officers patrolling San Francisco neighborhoods during a crackdown of the rampant surge of vehicle smash-and-grab burglaries have arrested four men and a juvenile and seized several firearms.
The citywide auto burglary and armed robbery abatement operation took place over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.READ MORE: Thieves Ram Vehicles Into 6 San Jose Businesses to Steal ATMs In Overnight Crime Spree
Investigators said that on Black Friday at approximately 4:55 p.m., officers were patrolling the area of Fulton
and Lyon Streets when they observed a white sedan actively casing multiple vehicles.
Officers moved in and contained the vehicle. Both suspects attempted to flee the scene, but were taken into custody.
The suspects have been identified as 28-year-old Donnell Lee Mark of Vallejo and a 15-year-old juvenile from San Francisco.
A search of the suspects’ vehicle uncovered a fully operational “ghost gun” as well as personal belongings and several items of evidence linking them to numerous auto break-ins.
Mark has been booked into San Francisco County jail on charges that included second-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools, resisting arrest and possession of an assault weapon.
The juvenile was transported to the Juvenile Justice Center and booked on charges including second degree burglary, a felon in possession of a firearm, and transportation of a machine gun.
Later that evening, officers were in the area of Bay and Kearny Streets in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood at approximately 6:54 p.m. when they observed a white sedan actively casing vehicles in a nearby parking lot.
The officers recognized the vehicle as the same one wanted in connection with several auto-burglaries and at least one armed robbery in San Francisco.READ MORE: CHP Arrests Fencing Suspect, Recover Stolen Merchandise From Louis Vuitton Smash-And-Grab
The vehicle stopped in the parking lot and three suspects exited. Officers approached the suspects who got back into the car and began to flee the scene. The vehicle turned south on the Embarcadero.
Officers successfully deployed spike strips in the roadway, puncturing all four of the suspect vehicle tires. The suspects continued to flee and led police on a chase to I-280 and back onto city streets before ending in the area of 3rd Street and Evans Avenue.
During the pursuit the suspect vehicle struck a number of other vehicles injuring an occupant.
At the termination point of the pursuit all three suspects exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. Officers pursued each suspect and took them into custody.
The suspects were identified as 23-year-old Elijah Ifopo of San Francisco, 24-year-old Ajay Balaoro of San Francisco, and 21-year-old Caleb Tuimavave of Daly City.
While fleeing from officers, Ifopo discarded a loaded firearm with an extended magazine that was later located and secured by officers.
The officers also located a loaded firearm with an extended magazine in Balaoro’s waistband after he was taken into custody. Officers subsequently searched the suspect vehicle and located personal belongings and several items of evidence linking them to numerous auto break-ins.
While taking one of the suspects into custody, one officer sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Ifopo, Tuimavave, and Balaoro, were transported later transported to San Francisco County Jail and booked on a variety of charges.MORE NEWS: Suspect In November Smash-and-Grab Robbery At High-End Sneaker Store In Santa Clara Arrested
Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text
message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous.