The San Francisco Police Department refused to participate in an operation to arrest a man who ran a global fencing ring out of a Quickly Boba Tea Cafe earlier this month, according to District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Quoc Le, 41, is facing at least a dozen felony and misdemeanor charges of possessing stolen property after the Tenderloin bust, which was part of a larger investigation that tracks stolen items from bait cars and has uncovered theft sales as far as Asia and Europe.
Detaining Le and moving more than 100 boxes of electronics would have required logistical assistance and vehicles from the police. But days before the planned arrest and seizure, Boudin allegedly received a “somewhat frantic” phone call from the department, informing him that they were “too busy” to help.
“We can arrest somebody. We can put handcuffs on them. How do we transport them to the county jail without a car? How do we seize the evidence without a truck to move evidence? Usually what we do is ask the police to come to assist at that stage of the process. And we did here,” Boudin told Mission Local in a new interview.
“I was shocked they said ‘no’ … They were too busy.”
As a result, Boudin said his office had to rent a U-Haul, which loaded and transported 130 boxes that contained around 1,000 electronic devices. Le, meanwhile, was transported by the United States Postal Inspector and Homeland Security Investigations.
Boudin’s claim is emphasized by a press release published after the bust, which made no mention of San Francisco police. The press release only acknowledged work by investigators from his office, assistance from Homeland Security investigators and U.S. Postal Service inspectors, as well as “partnerships with the American Car Rental Association, SF Safe and community leaders.”
Aside from electronics, authorities also recovered shipping records to territories and countries such as Hong Kong and Vietnam. Le, who was tracked after taking a laptop from a bait car, was charged with eight felony counts and four misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen property.
The SFPD is yet to respond to Boudin’s claims, as per Mission Local.
The news comes as the district attorney faces a recall election on June 7, of which supporters are largely Asian American, according to a recent poll.
Featured Image via San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (left) and KTVU (right)