Suspected serial sunglasses thief re-arrested in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Sheriff's Department says a serial sunglasses thief is now behind bars.

The sheriff's department says suspected serial sunglasses thief Benjamin Chase violated his parole, leaving a residential treatment program and re-offending.

Surveillance video shows a person who appears to be Chase breaking into Sunset Focus Optometry on Noriega Street in San Francisco just before 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, just two days after two break-ins at stores on Union Street.

"I saw him smashing through my window, unlocking the door, broke the door frame and the glass fell out and landed on the floor and then he came in and he started just stealing frames," said Dr. Sharon Lee of Sunset Focus Optometry.

The man who wore no disguise was determined to smash the glass at Union Street's Eyes in Disguise around 2:30 a.m. Sunday. When that didn't work, he tried to put his arm through the glass and unlock the door.

He didn't make off with anything from that business but did from nearby Shaw Shoes also on Union Street, using a hammer to break the glass and take off with Fendi sunglasses.

In December 2017 surveillance video, you can see a man repeatedly throwing a brick into the window at Sea Cliff Optometry on Clement Street.

After this incident, police arrested Chase and an accomplice.

Dr. Lyndi Schmidt says he used his real name when he cased her Presidio Heights business Acuity Vision Boutique that same month.

"Completed his transaction of making the appointment and then left and as soon as he left we realized that some merchandise was missing," said Schmidt.

That same night Schmidt put Chase's pic in the window, locked up her merchandise and turned on all the lights.

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"So that he knew that we knew," said Schmidt.

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department says Chase was re-arrested yesterday and is in county jail.

The Sheriff's Department provided this timeline regarding Chase:

On May 3, 2018 Chase had his GPS device attached and was delivered to a residential treatment program pursuant to a court order.

On May 19, 2018 Chase left the program without permission. Program representatives subsequently alerted the Sheriff's Department to Chase's departure.

It appears from the video the two crimes were committed on May 20 after Chase had left the program.

On May 20, 2018 the San Francisco Sheriff's Department wrote an affidavit for arrest and presented it to a judge who signed it.

On May 22, 2018 San Francisco Sheriff's Department Deputy J. Espiritu arrested Chase at 9:46 am at 1218 Market St.

Chase is currently being held at County Jail #4. No bond has been set.
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