Police have announced the arrest of a suspect believed to be responsible for a string of armed robberies against women in downtown San Francisco since July.
Sanders Hootsell, 35, surrendered to a patrol officer on Third and Howard streets at around 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Police Department.
Hootsell is the prime suspect in five robberies that took place on small narrow streets or alleys in the city since July, according to police. Investigators have been calling the perpetrator the “Alley Knife Suspect.”
All of his alleged victims have been women between 25 and 45 years old, police said, and in four robberies he was reported to have brandished a knife. No injuries were reported.
The first robbery linked to the Alley Knife Suspect occurred on Clara Street in the city’s South of Market district on July 19, according to police. The suspect allegedly approached a woman seated in her parked car, smashed the window and grabbed her purse.
He is also suspected in three robberies taking place on July 21 in the 200 block of Moss Street, on July 25 in the 400 block of Clementina Street, and on July 28 in the 300 block of Fifth Street, according to police. In each of these robberies the suspect allegedly confronted a woman on the street, pulled out a knife and stole the victim’s purse.
On August 8, another robbery was reported on Clementina Street in which the suspect reportedly confronted a woman as she was getting into her parked car, held a knife to her back and stole her purse.
Hootsell has been charged with multiple counts of robbery.