A new report from Mission Local’s Joe Eskenazi adds another twist to the already-strange saga of the alleged car burglary kingpin who set up shop at a San Francisco Quickly boba joint.

In a broader story exploring the implications of the upcoming recall election for San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, the DA told Eskenazi that San Francisco police flat-out refused to help the District Attorney’s Office seize stolen goods and arrest the suspect.

“How do we transport them to the county jail without a car?” Boudin told Mission Local. “How do we seize the evidence without a truck to move evidence? Usually what we do is ask the police to come to assist at that stage of the process. And we did here. I was shocked they said ‘no.’ … They were too busy.” 

As SFist points out, the signs were already there: San Francisco Police Department was not thanked in the press release detailing Operation Auto Pilot, the sting that led to the arrest of 41-year-old Quoc Le and the unveiling of an alleged car break-in ring that, by the DA’s account, was as far-reaching as Vietnam and Hong Kong. (Agencies, including and especially police departments, almost always get shouted out in press releases, as is customary when they are involved in an operation such as this one.)

Without the aid of San Francisco police, Boudin’s office was forced to rent their own U-Haul truck to lug around 130 boxes of electronics (and had to move it themselves), the report says. Further, officials from federal agencies — the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Homeland Security — were the ones to transport Le after his arrest, not SFPD.  

This report, naturally, raises plenty of questions about San Francisco police’s efficacy — especially as reports within the past couple of years alleged that officers have stood idle during break-ins and have, on the whole, been largely unhelpful in investigating reported incidents.

While SFPD representatives, including Chief Bill Scott, have pinned these issues on reduced morale and workforce cutbacks, tensions between police and the DA’s Office have been fiery enough that Supervisor Hillary Ronen pressed police in February on whether this infighting has resulted in a “deliberate work stoppage” by SFPD.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for police officers to just stop doing their jobs because they don’t like the way another department is doing its job,” Ronen wrote in the February letter to Scott.

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