3 years of this crap going on and none this asshats neighbors put the smackdown on his ass?
A nightmarish neighbor: noisy, nosy, now in jail
Police say they hauled guns, ammo, drugs from his home
Jaxon Van Derbeken, Cicero A. Estrella, Chronicle Staff Writers
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Don Bertone is not your usual problem neighbor, San Francisco authorities say.
For three years, Bertone, who once worked for the city Housing Authority and ran for the Board of Supervisors in 2000, has wreaked all sorts of havoc in an otherwise quiet community in the southeastern part of the city known as Little Hollywood, officials and his neighbors said Wednesday.
Bertone, 54, doesn't just play loud music, authorities say. At all hours of the day and night, he has blasted police radio broadcasts, shrill oscillating tones, Spanish dance tunes and other noise from speakers he installed on the outside of his home at 336 Lathrop Ave. Police said they could hear the racket from 100 yards away.
Bertone isn't just a nosy neighbor, they add.
Police said he hooked up floodlights and six cameras that swept the block. Inside his home, he could monitor his neighbors' movements on four video screens.
Bertone is not merely unpleasant, authorities say.
Officers who searched his home Tuesday allegedly found a high-powered assault rifle complete with a flash suppressor, two handguns and 3,000 rounds of ammunition as well as an undisclosed "explosive device.''
Prosecutors charged Bertone with 11 felony weapons counts, two felony drug counts and two felony counts of receiving stolen property -- for two city traffic signs found in his home.
Bertone was being held without bail in connection with the alleged explosive device, although he has not yet been charged on that matter. He is to be arraigned Friday.
In a jailhouse interview, Bertone said he was the victim of a harassment campaign being waged by former neighbors, spiteful police and vengeful city attorneys. He acknowledged having some weapons but said they were all legal.
"I'm being persecuted like crazy,'' Bertone said. "They've blown this all out of proportion.''
Neighbors -- who say now they are getting their first good night's sleep in three years -- have told police they are scared of Bertone. Sometimes they see spent ammunition on his front porch.
"He is the worst neighbor we've ever had in Little Hollywood,'' said Rick Graham, president of the local neighborhood association. He called the property "the oddest house in San Francisco.''
Bertone's two-story home is protected by barbed wire. Milk crates and pallets line the roof on one side. The windows are boarded up, and the wood is painted black.
Bertone has at least four satellite dishes and a dozen antennas on the roof with wires leading to trees. His side fence is topped with hubcaps, and his backyard is covered by blue tarps.
Bertone says the barbed wire is to keep people from jumping a fence into his property. He says his windows are boarded up because neighborhood kids throw rocks into his home.
Neighbors say Bertone's behavior forced some to flee the community. One African American couple who lived next door to him moved after 35 years in the community, Graham said. He said Bertone wrote "KKK" on the side of his own home and made a depiction of a hangman's knot and skeleton.
Bertone denies writing anything on his own home, saying his neighbors had vandalized his property.
Herb Arceo, 70, who lives behind Bertone's house, said he had been unable to rent a second home he owns on the block. When prospective tenants come around, Arceo said, "he'll play the music and put a spotlight on them."
Lily Luk, another neighbor, said she sometimes calls police four times a night but that Bertone simply refuses to answer the door when officers come knocking.
Matters came to a head Tuesday when Bertone was arrested for violating a court order to stop harassing his neighbors. Inside his home, officers allegedly found the rifle, illegal switchblades, ammunition, methamphetamines and cocaine along with the two street signs, one saying "detour" and the other "no parking."
Bayview police Capt. Al Pardini said police have been summoned to the home dozens of times over the last three years.
"If he is going to continue to be this menacing bad neighbor, he is going to have to accept responsibility,'' Pardini said. "How would you like to live next door to this guy?''
Bertone insists he's a fine neighbor. It's silly to call him too noisy, he says, because he has served on a city committee that monitors noise from the airport.
"I was instrumental in keeping noisy jets from flying over San Francisco,'' he said.
In 2000, he ran for supervisor from District 10 and finished 12th in a 12-candidate field. He used to be a plumber for the Housing Authority but lost his job because of his legal problems and says he now lives off his savings.
The only noise he makes, he says, is from the music he plays on his stereo when he works in his backyard. As for the surveillance cameras, he noted, "security cameras are not illegal. . . . I do it because the police come by and hassle me all the time."
He said he had little contact with his neighbors, although he acknowledged that his next-door neighbor -- who moved away -- had problems with him.
"A couple neighbors have signed declarations,'' he said.
In a suit it filed against Bertone last year, the city said that "no fewer than 20 neighbors have come forward to make complaints in the hopes of having Don Bertone stop his harassment of their community.''
Neighbors talked about sleepless nights and of being forced to endure "loud, pounding sounds," the suit said. "Neighbors feel unable to have family and friends visit, to watch the sunset from their backyard, to allow their children and grandchildren to play in the adjacent park.''
The suit accuses Bertone of pouring a "green-like substance'' on one neighbor's car in response to a complaint. "On another occasion, Don Bertone punched his neighbor after the neighbor requested that Don lower his music.''
Another time, Bertone interrupted the same neighbor's family gathering by blaring a taped statement the neighbor had made to police, the suit said. Bertone denied doing so.
Last fall, a judge ordered Bertone not to make any "amplified noise'' after 10 p.m. He was also ordered not to flood his property with light or to intimidate his neighbors. Bertone said he was never officially notified of the suit, so he considers it worthless.
Officials also ordered him to remove barbed wire from his property, pay $64,000 in attorney's fees and stop using his rear yard as an auto repair business, something Bertone insists he isn't doing.
Bertone "terrorized the neighborhood,'' said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for the city attorney's office. The alleged discovery of weapons and ammunition "certainly makes clear that the city attorney's efforts were well-founded," he said.
Bertone says he's in trouble only because he's sued police and filed complaints with the civilian watchdog agency that investigates officers.
"They make it sound like all the neighbors are up in arms against me,'' he said. Asked whether he might be have intimidated anyone, he responded: "Let them call police and make a charge. I don't talk to anybody.''
oh lawdy lawdy a flash suppressor! that's who's been killing all dem schoolchildrens around heyah
And obviously the at least four (apparently they're very difficult to count) satellite dishes were to watch the many news reports of his activities.
Dang, now it will be even longer before we ever see sarge post on here again...
no wonder they couldnt find the culprit! his flash was suppressed!!
What would a " low -powered assault rifle" be?
Anything below the 40watt range.
Ban flash suppressors...oh wait they already tried that.
Nothing like bringing a little attention to yourself while breaking the law.
This guy is awesome bringing a little bit of joy to San Fransisco. I bet all of his guns were legal. I don't know about the drugs though. ;)
I wouldn't mind having a crazy ass neighbor to keep things interesting.
You should read 1shott's accounts of his crazy neighbor in the team forum...oh wait