San Francisco resident Brad Tardy was preparing for an interview with KPIX-TV news reporter Don Ford on Wednesday for a story on crime in his Twin Peaks neighborhood when they were robbed at gunpoint.
As they were standing at Twin Peaks Boulevard and Burnett Avenue in the middle of the afternoon, a white luxury car with four men pulled up next to them and three men hopped out, one of them holding a gun, KPIX reported.
“He points it right at Don,” Tardy said. “He says, ‘I’m taking this camera.’ We all stood there, frozen for a little bit. One of the other guys grabbed the camera. He starts heading back to the car, while the guy with the gun is still pointing it at all of us. The third guy gets into the back seat first, the other guy gets into the back seat and then tries to put the camera and the tripod in the back seat. It’s so big he can’t get the door closed. He’s still pointing the gun at me.”
Tardy added, “Isn’t that ironic? Of all the things, literally, we’re doing a report on a crime in neighborhood and we get held up at gunpoint.”
Ford recounted the incident in a KPIX report. “My whole thought at the moment was be calm,” he said. “Let’s not get this guy excited. He’s got the gun. I don’t. So you take you the camera. It’s yours, buddy.”
The robbery happened at about 12:35 p.m., police said. The police department said the camera was later recovered. No arrests have been made and the investigation remains active, police said.
The incident occurred after the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors voted Tuesday to compromise on proposed changes to the traffic flow on Twin Peaks Boulevard, settling on a partially car-free option.
The Burnett Avenue gate will remain closed to traffic except for emergency vehicles, bicycles, walkers and skaters, while the Portola Drive access will reopen for all-day use by motor vehicles. Car travelers will be able to again use the Christmas Tree Road parking lot and viewing area. The eastern side of the figure-eight road will remain car-free, which it was even before the pandemic.
The roads have been mostly closed to traffic since March 2020, including to tour buses, which frequently utilized the area for its scenic views.
Tardy lives near the gate and he is part of a group of neighbors in favor of opening the gate as crime has increased in the neighborhood since its closure. He explained that tourists are parking below the gate, leaving laptops and bags in their cars, and criminals are seizing on the opportunity and breaking into the cars in smash-and-grabs.
“These rings of car break-ins have been going on for months,” he said. “They break into cars in front of us all day long and steal the stuff.”
Tardy spoke at the meeting where he said 55 others spoke. “Seventy percent of them said they wanted to see the Burnett gate open,” he said. “I told them during my 90 seconds of speaking: We live in fear every time we walk out our door. And today, I get held up at gunpoint right outside my house. This is all because they closed the road and forced the parking lot to be in front of my house.
District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman called the robbery “ridiculous and unacceptable” on Twitter.
“We need to adequately resource public safety agencies, adopt better strategies to stop repeat offenders and make clear that San Francisco is not a place that you can commit crimes and put people’s lives at risk with impunity,” Mandelman wrote.
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