SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office was forced to rent a U-Haul truck after police refused to help with a bust at a boba tea shop, Boudin’s office confirmed to KRON4 News. The story was first reported by Mission Local on May 23.
The bust was the result of an undercover auto burglary operation conducted by the DA’s office called “Operation Bulldog.” Quoc Le, 41, was arrested in the sting on May 10 and was charged with eight felony counts and four misdemeanor counts of stolen property. The DA task force recovered around 1,000 items, including phones, computers and electronics from ‘Quickly,’ which is located at 709 Larkin Street in the Tenderloin.
Boudin told Mission Local that he received a “somewhat frantic” phone call from a San Francisco Police Department lieutenant days before the planned seizure, saying that SFPD would not participate. Boudin said he was told the department was “too busy.” Without access to police vehicles, Boudin’s office rented a U-Haul and loaded the 130 boxes of stolen goods into it.
“We can arrest somebody. We can put handcuffs on them. How do we transport them to the county jail without a car? 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,” Boudin told Mission Local.
Operation Bulldog was part of a broader operation called “Auto Pilot,” according to a press release from Boudin’s office. Auto Pilot involves setting up “bait cars” with bags in plain view that contain electronics equipped with tracking devices. It has spawned several investigations.
“Car break-ins have been a longstanding problem in San Francisco for at least the past decade; I created Operation Auto Pilot to take aggressive action against the fencing networks responsible for so much property crime,” Boudin said in the press release.
An investigation revealed that Le’s operation involved shipping stolen items to Southern California and oversees, to countries including Vietnam and Hong Kong. The DA’s office is now attempting to trace the stolen property recovered in the bust and return it to the victims.
Boudin is facing a recall attempt on June 7. On May 9, he joined KRON4 to discuss the recall attempt and several other prevalent topics in an exclusive interview.
KRON4 reached out to the San Francisco Police Department for comment. We will update this story if we hear back.