An armed robbery suspect who was allegedly caught on video holding up a San Francisco cafe with a gun was charged Friday by the District Attorney's Office.
In footage of the Jan. 4 robbery shared by a manager at Sweet Cupz, 1490 Ocean Ave., a man, believed to be suspect Haoli Weng, enters the store just before 6 p.m. and wanders off to the side of a counter before walking briskly behind it and producing a gun.
Ray Fong, Sweet Cupz manager, declined to comment but provided video footage of the incident to The Standard.
Weng was arraigned Friday, pleading not guilty to a count of second-degree robbery with an allegation he used a semi-automatic pistol in the robbery. He also pleaded not guilty to possessing a firearm or deadly weapon without a competency certificate.
Court records say Weng went into the Ocean Avenue business, pointed a gun at an employee and took $100 from a cash register before fleeing. Almost two weeks later, on Jan. 17, witnesses saw the suspect and alerted police, who arrested Weng. Police booked him into the county jail, where he remained Monday, according to official records.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods and employees and patrons must be safe in them,” San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins said in a statement. “Armed robberies are terrifying and I will do everything in my power to ensure that there is accountability and consequences in this case."
In the footage, the man approaches the register and reaches in to take cash before continuing to poke around underneath the counter, all the while holding a gun to the employee's leg.
Weng will remain in jail before appearing at a preliminary hearing on Feb. 1 at the Hall of Justice, prosecutors said. If convicted of the charges, he faces 15 years in state prison.
"It is very early in this process and our office is still receiving evidence and investigating issues in this case, so what we can speak about is limited," said Deputy Public Defender Eden Schwartz in a statement Tuesday to The Standard. "But our office is in Mr. Weng's corner and will defend him against these charges, and he also has the support of family members."