Illegal Muni Transfer Ring Broken Up

Saturday, Jul 24, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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Illegal Muni Transfer Ring Broken Up

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SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 12: San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) cable car gripman Ken Lunardi rings his way towardsa second place finish at the 45th annual Cable Car Bell- Ringing competition July 12, 2007 in San Francisco. Leonard Oats captured the 2007 cable car bell-ringing title by playing a 30 second tune on a cable car bell. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ken Lunardi

Police have broken up an alleged scheme to illegally sell San  Francisco Municipal Railway transfers after arresting a San Francisco  Municipal Transportation Agency employee and another man during a months-long  sting operation, police said.

      The men, SFMTA mechanic Edmund King, 52, and Leroy Gutierrez, 53,  both of San Francisco, were arrested July 15 outside the BART/Muni plaza at  16th and Mission streets, according to police and prosecutors.
     
According to police spokesman Sgt. Troy Dangerfield, police had  been conducting surveillance of the area since March at the request of SFMTA  officials. Several arrests were made in the area for illegally selling "late  night" Muni transfers.

On July 15, officers were following Gutierrez, who they say had  been arrested previously for selling transfers, and saw him meet King, who  allegedly handed him transfers in a rolled-up newspaper, Dangerfield said.

Both men were arrested in possession of more than 80 transfers,  according to Dangerfield.

Prosecutors have charged King with two felonies, possession of  stolen property and embezzlement by a public employee, both of which carry  potential prison terms, district attorney's office spokeswoman Erica Derryck  said.

Gutierrez has been charged with felony possession of stolen  property and misdemeanor possession of a knife.

Both men are due back in court July 30 for a preliminary hearing,  Derryck said.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said Friday that King has worked for the  agency as an electrical transit mechanic for 24 years.

"We've recommended that he be removed from his position," pending  a personnel hearing and the police investigation, Rose said.

According to police, the SFMTA loses thousands of dollars each  week from the illegal sale of Muni bus and train transfers, which are often  hocked at Muni stations for half price.
 

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