Castro Crime: Man found guilty in Twin Peaks murder, shoplifter stabs security guard, more

James Rickleffs was found guilty of the murder of Steven "Eriq" Escalon. | Image: San Francisco Police Department
By Brian Ray - Published on March 06, 2019.

It's time for another look at the notable crimes reported in the Castro since our last roundup. All details are from official SFPD reports, unless otherwise noted.

Man found guilty of murdering, robbing Twin Peaks resident

On March 5th, SF District Attorney George Gascón announced that a jury has found 52-year-old James Rickleffs guilty of the 2012 murder of 28-year-old Steven "Eriq" Escalon. Rickleffs was also found guilty of theft in the case.

Escalon had met Rickleffs on June 11th, 2012, at a Castro bar before the two went to Escalon's apartment near Duncan and Diamond Heights Boulevard. A roommate returned from work the following day and discovered that items were missing from the apartment. They then found Escalon unresponsive and wrapped in a blanket, bound and blindfolded with duct tape and a scarf covering his mouth. The scarf was later found to be soaked with nitrates.

Police arrested Rickleffs a day later; he was in possession of a suitcase containing stolen items from Escalon's apartment.

String of smashed windows in the Castro

Six Castro businesses, and at least one neighborhood bus shelter, have all had their windows smashed in the last week, resulting in the temporary closure of one of the businesses, restaurant The Castro Republic, and thousands of dollars of repair costs. Police have made one arrest in the case, but have not specified if the suspect is being investigated for all of the incidents, or only one.

Man fights robber to recover stolen phone

On March 5th at 8:45 a.m., a 62-year-old man was working at a loading dock near Market and Dolores when a male suspect in his twenties stole his phone. The victim followed the suspect and a physical altercation occurred. The victim was able to recover his phone, but sustained injuries and was transported to the hospital. The suspect fled the scene.

Hot prowl burglary ends in arrest

On March 3rd at 11:50 p.m., a 57-year-old man was in his residence near 16th and Noe when he heard a noise. Upon investigating, he discovered a male suspect, 26, standing near a vehicle in his garage. The resident called police, who arrived and arrested the suspect. No loss was reported.

Bike theft ends in arrest

On March 1st at 1:05 a.m., a 33-year-old male suspect entered a garage near Hill and Sanchez, stole a bicycle and fled. The suspect was later arrested, and the bicycle was returned to the owner.

Security guard stabbed while stopping theft

On February 27th at 4:30 a.m., at 26-year-old male security guard stopped an older man, 50, who was attempting to steal items from a store on Market between Dolores and Church. The suspect then stabbed the guard in the leg and fled. The victim was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No loss was reported from the store.

Ford Street robbery

Early on February 20th at 3:01 a.m., a male suspect of unknown age approached a 36-year-old man on Ford between Noe and Sanchez. The suspect punched the man in the face and stole his phone, wallet, money, and cards before fleeing. The victim was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Robbery with gun

Later on the 20th at 9:20 p.m., a 41-year-old man was near Sanchez and 17th when a younger man, 30, approached him and pointed a gun at him. The suspect stole the victim's phone before fleeing in a dark colored minivan.

Glass bottle assault leads to arrest

On February 17th at 12:06 a.m., a 34-year-old man struck another man, 22, on the head with a glass bottle near Market and Castro. The victim suffered a laceration to his head, but refused medical treatment. The suspect was later arrested.

Corona Heights hot prowl

On February 5th at 2:30 a.m., an unknown suspect entered a home on Lower Terrace near Saturn. The resident, a 42-year-old man, was at home, and after he detected the suspect's presence, the suspect fled.

Hot prowl ends in arrest

On January 29th at 6:02 p.m., a 64-year-old man returned to his home near Belcher and Duboce, when he discovered a 33-year-old male suspect inside. The victim called police, who arrived and arrested the suspect. No items were reported stolen.

Intoxicated man fights, bites bar security guards

On January 28th at 12:03 a.m., two male security guards, 40 and 52, escorted an intoxicated man, 27, out of a bar on 18th near Noe. The man then got into a fight with the two guards and bit them both on their arms and fingers before police arrived and arrested the suspect. The victims were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Hartford Street assault, robbery

On January 25th at 3 a.m., an unknown suspect approached a 50-year-old man from behind near Hartford and 18th. The suspect struck the man in the back of the head, causing him to become disoriented, then stole the man's wallet, passport, phone, and money before fleeing. The victim was hospitalized  non-life-threatening injuries.

Anyone who has information about any of these incidents is encouraged to contact SFPD via the department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text TIP411 with "SFPD" at the start of the message.

Here’s why we usually don’t include suspect descriptions in crime reports.

About 2 hours ago
San Francisco Upper Haight

New Jeremy Fish-Derby jacket collaboration celebrates Muni cable cars

The new old-school, must-have garment is a limited edition Derby jacket with Muni-inspired illustrations by celebrated artist Jeremy Fish. Read More

About 6 hours ago
San Francisco Castro

After 13 years, Castro neighborhood bar Last Call sold to new owners

After 13 years in the Castro, neighborhood watering hole Last Call Bar (3988 18th St.) has been sold to new owners. Read More

Apr 21, 2021
San Francisco Cow Hollow Marina

New French spot Côte Ouest Bistro opens in former Baker Street Bistro space

Côte Ouest Bistro recently opened its doors at 2953 Baker St. in the space formerly occupied by the beloved Baker Street Bistro, which officially shuttered in August 2020 after nearly three decades of business. Read More

Apr 21, 2021
San Francisco Castro

Custom fine jewelry workshop Nick Engel & Co. opens in Castro

A new custom fine jewelry workshop Nick Engel & Co., which has been downtown for about 12 years, has opened in the Castro at 4011 18th St., formerly Mini-Chic and Turkish Modern. Read More