Break-In At The Bungalow, Day Saved by Journalists

Bungalow 602 on May 10, 2012, over a week after an attempted break-in damaged the window. BROADUS PARKER / THE GUARDSMAN

The Guardsman

Lance Kramer

The Guardsman office and Math Lab at City College’s Ocean campus were targeted by possible burglary early in the morning of May 1, though their plans were thwarted when two of the newspapers’ editors prevented the break-in and alerted authorities.

Editors Joe Fitzgerald and Sara Bloomberg were working a late night in Bungalow 615 when a crashing sound came from two of The Guardsman windows, as well as a window to the Math Lab in Bungalow 602, all simultaneously. This led editors and police to believe there were three people involved.

“It was a late night at The Guardsman — we publish on Wednesdays, and that means our newspaper has to be done by Tuesday morning,” Fitzgerald said. “Sara and I were working way into the night, it was three in the morning and I was knee-deep in an article about the new interim chancellor. [Sara’s] half asleep, I’m in the middle of an article, and all of the sudden, out of nowhere, crash…crash…crash.

“We didn’t know what was happening at first, so I ran out into the middle of the hallway and I yell ‘Get the F*** OUT OF HERE’ as loud as I could, and just started screaming at the top of my lungs,” he said. “I armed myself somehow…at first I grabbed my clarinet, then I thought, ‘Oh no. I don’t want to break my clarinet,’ so I grabbed some other blunt object.”

The aftermath of a break-in at The Guardsman office in the early morning hours on May 1 at the Ocean Campus. JOE FITZGERALD / THE GUARDSMAN

After searching the different offices located in Bungalow 615 to assess the damage, Fitzgerald and Bloomberg called the San Francisco Police Department to investigate. The Ingleside police officers who responded said that the broken windows were probably only an act of vandalism.

“We called 911, we were freaking out, we were like, oh God, are they still outside? Because we didn’t hear footsteps, are they still there? Are they just hiding? Are they waiting for another opportunity to get in?” Fitzgerald said.

City College police officer Hadi arrived later that morning and conducted a search of the area. “Nothing was stolen, … (the vandals) were startled by the employees that were inside,” he said.

“When Officer Zaid Hadi came by he said, ‘Oh yeah, they hit the Math Bungalow, too.
Did you notice that?’” said Fitzgerald. Hadi surmised that there were three separate people because of the three windows being broken simultaneously.

“Well, logically it must follow that there were three people and they also got scared off at once by us being there,” said Fitzgerald.

Math Lab coordinator Charles Hutchins discovered the damage to Bungalow 602 when he arrived for work at eight that morning.

“You know, it’s funny…I walked into the Math Lab…turned on the lights, turned on the computers, doing all my regular morning routine and after I had been walking around for about five or ten minutes, I realized that a window had been broken out,” Hutchins said. “There was a pile of glass on one of the desks…and there was a hole about the size of a football I’d say, in one of the windows.”

Other than this occurrence, the Math Lab hasn’t been prey to burglary. Although, there is the occasional “opportunity theft” that occurs within the lab.

“We have PCs that are like, ten years old and you know, they’re worthless,” Hutchins said. “We’ve had some minor thefts, one in particular that I can remember…one time one of the staff members here had their iPod stolen but they had left it on a desk in really plain sight. It was sort of a crime of opportunity…but that was maybe, three years ago.”

According to the San Francisco Community College District Police Department crime log there were a total of 19 reported incidents of theft in April, 13 incidents in March, and a whopping 24 in February. Most of the thefts occurred at the Wellness Center, with the majority of incidents involving thefts from lockers.

City College Police Sergeant Jason Wendt said theft has been a problem at City College, but would not get specific about the details because the investigations are ongoing.

The SFCCD Police Department can be reached at (415) 239-3200 and always call 911 for emergencies.

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