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Are San Francisco criminals so brazen they’re breaking into police stations now?

A police station is seen on a street corner.
A man tried to steal from the Northern District Police Station in the Fillmore on Thursday, Feb. 1, according to a police spokesperson. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

It was around 3:20 a.m. Thursday morning when San Francisco police officers noticed a man in a secure area of the Northern District Police Station who should not have been there.

He appeared to be making off with some unspecified “department-issued property.” 

A struggle ensued, described as “brief” by police, and the 35-year-old burglary suspect resisted before being arrested. One can only imagine the scene from inside the Fillmore police station—because police have released incredibly scant details. 

The short police statement, just 103 words, gives nothing more than the details above, except for the suspect’s name: Samson Vasili-Hadjitoffi, and a summary of alleged offenses. But from the detail-thin statement comes multiple questions from The Standard. 

How did Vasili-Hadjitoffi allegedly make it into a secure area of a police station at 3 a.m.? What exactly was he allegedly trying to steal? Uniforms? Notepads? Perhaps a selection of department-issued riot gear, batons included? Something more sinister—a gun, perhaps? 

Are criminals, alleged or otherwise, so brazen now that they think they can simply waltz into a police station in the dead of night and steal “department-issued property”?

Police did not respond to our questions.

items are locked behind plexiglass in a department store
Deodorant is seen locked up inside a plastic case at Target in San Francisco's Metreon in May last year. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

San Francisco has had well-documented issues with property crime, including retail theft and car break-ins, for years.

In the Western Addition, a City Hall-defined neighborhood that contains the Fillmore, there were 128 reported burglaries in the year before Feb. 3, down from 174 in the year before Feb. 3, 2023.

Citywide, burglaries were down over the past year, with 5,557 incidents reported before Feb. 3, compared with 6,108 in the year before Feb. 3, 2023. Burglaries were slightly up over the last year compared with pre-pandemic levels, with 5,084 reported burglaries in the year before Feb. 4, 2020.

The Public Defender's Office said none of their attorneys had been appointed to represent Vasili-Hadjitoffi and declined to comment further.

The sad reality is that we will likely not know until Vasili-Hadjitoffi has his day in court—whenever that might be. Vasili-Hadjitoffi is not currently in jail, records show. So we might be waiting a while. 

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office, Supervisor Dean Preston and SFPD Northern Station Capt. Jason Sawyer have been contacted for comment.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at