Legendary Bay Area reporter Vic Lee retires after 50 years in journalism

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Wednesday was a very bittersweet day for us here at ABC7.

After 50 years in journalism, ABC7 News reporter Vic Lee signed off for the last time.

Vic's career has spanned several decades and during that time he's covered some of the biggest stories in the Bay Area and beyond.

Vic got his start as a print reporter, then got a job at KRON-TV. By the time he came to ABC7 in 2006, Vic was one of the most respected journalists in the Bay Area.

"Vic is so professional, and so efficient, and so personable with people in the field, that he gets all sorts of things out of people that they probably don't intend to give him," said ABC7 News photographer Cathy Cavey.

"This man is so well connected he has every source in San Francisco wired. He even has sources overseas," said ABC7 News reporter Wayne Freedman.

For San Francisco city officials, getting interviewed by Vic has been a rite of passage for decades.

"I have been watching Vic Lee on television since I was a kid, And he has always been just straight forward, providing the information, giving the news and you could always trust his reporting," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

Vic did not shy away from tough stories, like the arrests of convicted murderer Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and disgraced state Senator Leland Yee.

But Vic was also meticulous about providing perspective.

Vic made it a special mission to follow issues important to Chinatown.

"I feel that I owe the Chinese community since, you know, being Chinese American, and being sort of a rarity, an Asian male in this business, that I ought to cover them as much as I can," explained Vic.

Vic was the first reporter on the scene of many of the Bay Area's most memorable stories. That includes Christmas day 2007 when a man was killed by a tiger that got loose at the San Francisco Zoo.

"We did the first live shot, an officer with a rifle on my left, another officer with a rifle on the right, guarding us, God help them," said Vic.

A much happier feline story led to Vic's first major success on social media.

Vic's story on the Burlingame cat that stole hundreds of items from neighbors caused a sensation.

Dusty quickly became known as "Klepto the Cat" after millions of viewers watched Vic's story on YouTube.

Thank you, Vic, from all us here at ABC7 and good luck in the next chapter of your remarkable life.
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