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Masked San Francisco car break-in vigilante arrested, unmasked

A person holding a gun is seen in a shadow. | Source: Sean Gladwell/Getty

A masked vigilante, who patrols San Francisco’s Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood with the intention of frightening potential thieves, was arrested and unmasked for displaying an imitation firearm.

The man who goes by the nickname “Boots,” walks around the neighborhood in a ski mask and brandishes a non-lethal weapon that looks like a gun, looking to scare off car thieves, according to ABC7. He told the TV station he captured multiple videos of car break-ins in the neighborhood and decided to take action.

The station did not identify Boots, but according to police records he is Lance Evander, who owns Club Urban Diversion in Fisherman’s Wharf, an adventure social club. Displaying an imitation firearm in a public place can result in misdemeanor charges.

A couple retrieves items from their van’s cargo carrier at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco on Wednesday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

“We understand everyone’s frustration. Officers are frustrated in taking the number of police reports regarding auto burglaries occurring throughout the city,” said San Francisco Police Department spokesman Robert Rueca, who asked members of the public not to intervene when they witness crimes.

When reached by phone, Evander told The Standard he would only agree to comment for this story if his name was not published. Evander denied he was the vigilante known as Boots when informed his name would be published in connection with the imitation firearms arrest. 

Boots told the TV station he viewed his arrest as a victory because “while the police were there, there was nobody getting their car broken into for that half hour.”

There were over 22,000 recorded thefts from vehicles in San Francisco in 2022, according to police data. The phenomenon is known as “bipping” locally. San Francisco supervisors will hold a hearing on car break-ins soon.