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Park robbery prompts police warning

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Parks are safe despite an armed robbery in John McLaren Park on Saturday, but visitors should be aware of their surroundings when out and about in the city, police said.

The warning comes two days after four unsuspecting men having a picnic were robbed at gun point Saturday afternoon in the park.

Police Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said the men were seated at picnic tables near the Gleneagles Golf Course when the robbery occurred.

Though no one was injured in the incident, Dangerfield said, wallets and “personal items” such as cell phones were taken.

Dangerfield said the area the men were located was more covered than other areas of the park and it was located closer to public housing.

Dangerfield said though there are many picnic tables in the park, most visitors sit on the other side, near Sutter Playground and McNab Lake, because it’s more open.

“Just because they didn’t know the area doesn’t mean they should be robbed,” Dangerfield said. “People took advantage of them.”

There are no suspects, Dangerfield said.

This is the third incident in two weeks where visitors to the parks were attacked or robbed. The first happened July 1 when a pit bull – believed to be owned and bred by homeless in Golden Gate Park – attacked three people, sending two of them to the hospital. Then July 3, a 25-year-old man was stabbed and killed by a 65-year-old man in Golden Gate Park. Both men are believed to be apart of the transient community.

In July 2009, the body of a decomposed man was discovered near the golf course in McLaren Park.

Dangerfield said though parks are safe, any visitor should be aware of their surroundings.

McLaren is the second-largest park in San Francisco with rolling hills, 75 picnic tables, hiking trails and two playgrounds. It is located near Persia and Visitation avenues in the Excelsior district.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com