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Smash and Grab
Union Square’s Louis Vuitton was hit with a smash-and-grab in November of last year
What could possibly go wrong?

Judge's Get-out-of-Jail Free Card for Union Square Ransacking

Frank Noto
Frank Noto

••••••• February 23, 2023 •••••••

Earlier this month, SF Superior Court Judge Linda Colfax sentenced Union Square serial criminal Tomiko Miller to five years in state prison for the Louis Vuitton burglary, according to the SF Chronicle. The sentence ran concurrently with sentences for crimes related to several smash-and-grab car break-ins to which he also pled guilty.

Except it's not really five years. In fact, Miller will serve ZERO prison time, contrary to what the Chronicle story implied. But more on that later; we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The Louis Vuitton retail shop and other Union Square stores were ransacked and vandalized by about 40 looters on November 20, 2022. Huge glass show windows were shattered, and shoppers and shop employees were terrorized as the burglars and robbers broke doors and dragged their plunder to waiting cars. Altogether, police arrested ten people on charges related to the brazen smash-and-grab attacks and mass shoplifting that night. Four others convicted in the incident were sentenced to probation and a few days in jail. With credit for minor time served, they served no additional days in custody. Defendant Ivan Speed was also convicted on February 6 for lesser charges, but he was released on probation. Three other defendants have not yet gone to trial, and one is in a diversion program.

Miller was initially charged with offenses including carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, grand theft, conspiracy to commit a crime, three counts of second-degree burglary, three counts of receiving stolen property, possession of burglar tools, and resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer.

quote marks

The Union Square attack certainly had major consequences for San Francisco's economy, not to mention the loss of millions in lost tax revenue. And then, of course, City taxpayers spent an additional $2 million in police patrols after the looting, trying to protect local residents' jobs in retail and the tourism industry. ”

Louis Vuitton Robbery

Judge Colfax released him from custody initially on December 9, despite multiple charges and his prior record as a convicted felon. According to CBS Bay Area, "Prosecutors said a judge rejected their request to hold Miller in custody while the case was pending and that he was released on GPS monitoring."

After his release by Judge Colfax, Miller subsequently committed smash-and-grab car break-ins at other locations alongside another prolific burglar. His court appearance on the combined charges was scheduled for February 28, 2022, but per the Clerk of the Court, Miller failed to show up, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Bail was set at $125,000, according to the Court clerk. A District Attorney's office press release dated March 8, 2022 stated that Miller had allegedly cut off his ankle monitor, and he was later re-arrested.

Isn't it outrageous that there are so few consequences for a convicted felon in possession of a firearm who takes part in a brazen gang attack on multiple stores that resulted in more than $100,000 in loot? It's compounded when a lenient judge lets him go free awaiting trial, and he then commits multiple smash-and-grab auto break-ins alongside one of San Francisco's most prolific car burglars.

The Union Square attack certainly had major consequences for San Francisco's economy, not to mention the loss of millions in lost tax revenue. And then, of course, City taxpayers spent an additional $2 million in police patrols after the looting, trying to protect local residents' jobs in retail and the tourism industry.

But there wasn't much in the way of consequences for this repeat offender:
• Convicted of smash-and-grab auto burglaries after he was first released for pillaging Union Square? His sentences run concurrently — so no real consequences.
• Resisted arrest? No additional time.
• Cut off his GPS ankle bracelets? Nope, nada, zilch.

Louis Vuitton robbery

Yes, his attorney says Miller is really, really sorry this time. But isn't there something profoundly wrong with our judicial system in San Francisco when a repeat felon with a gun who has caused so much havoc can be back on the streets without serving additional jail time? And then he commits additional crimes, with no additional negative outcomes. We can only imagine what Judge Colfax would have done if this case had not drawn national media attention.

It gets worse …

Though the Chronicle story says he received a five-year prison sentence, it seems Miller did not actually go to prison. He didn't go to jail either. Instead, this dangerous (remember the illegal gun and ammunition?) serial offender is out of custody entirely with a get-out-of-jail card issued by Judge Colfax. (Don't blame the news media. The San Francisco Superior Court is notoriously opaque, and it often seems like they will do everything possible to keep the facts quiet. After more than two weeks of inquiry, we still don't have the plea transcript as of press time.)

With so little penalty for Mr. Miller's firearm offenses, multiple burglaries, and cutting off his GPS monitor, it's no wonder San Francisco suffers so many burglary and shooting offenses. Judges need to ensure that armed repeat offenders understand there are consequences. Perhaps they deserve a longer time-out to reflect on their crimes. And perhaps Judge Colfax also needs time out from criminal justice cases.

Frank Noto is president of Stop Crime SF, a grassroots victim’s rights group dedicated to preventing crime in San Francisco and giving victims a voice.

February 23, 2023

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