Two homeless people commandeered a U.S. Park Police golf-cart-type maintenance vehicle in San Francisco late last week and drove it through the city on an auto burglary spree before one of them assaulted a city worker, according to police.
Park Station Capt. Teresa Barrett detailed the unusual incident Wednesday morning at the department’s bimonthly CompStat meeting. She said a resident in her district called in to report seeing one of the suspects break into two vehicles as they were driving the cart down Oak Street in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood’s Panhandle area.
According to police Inspector Rick Struckman, the incident began March 11 when the two allegedly stole the vehicle from the Fort Mason area at about 9 p.m.
“They apparently drove around all night,” Struckman said. “They showed up at 6:15 a.m. in the Panhandle.”
Officers spotted the golf cart, pulled the pair over, and impounded the vehicle, but had not yet been told of the alleged burglaries.
The driver, William Crosgrove, 29, and the 27-year-old woman who was with him, were questioned and released because officers hadn’t determined where the vehicle came from, according to Struckman.
Then at 8:30 a.m., officers were called to the nearby intersection of Haight and Masonic streets, where they found the pair again. Crosgrove was cursing at a Department of Public Works employee and allegedly threatening him with a metal pipe and a bicycle cable lock.
The employee escaped unharmed, and both Crosgrove and the woman were taken into custody.
Barrett said she arrived at her station Friday morning to find the woman, who she described as bearing a resemblance to the fictional character “Pippi Longstocking,” handcuffed to a bench.
On the captain’s voicemail was a message from the local man who reported the burglaries and was lamenting crime in the neighborhood. The man had exclaimed, “Now they’ve got golf carts,” Barrett said.
Police booked Crosgrove on assault and burglary charges. The woman was not charged in connection with either the assault or the burglaries, but both may be subject to additional federal charges for allegedly making off with the Park Police vehicle.
According to Struckman, both Crosgrove and the woman are homeless, and had separately moved to San Francisco from other states about a year ago. They have been seen in the Haight-Ashbury area before, he said.
Crosgrove was arraigned Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court on four felony charges, including assault, criminal threats, auto burglary and possessing stolen property, according to the district attorney’s office.
He has a prior conviction for robbery in Nebraska in 2000, according to the district attorney’s office.