Residents of a Marina district apartment building apparently got more than just the news when they subscribed to the San Francisco Chronicle. Along with the daily newspaper came a puddle of urine in their elevator.
A woman who appeared to be delivering the newspaper was recently caught via a hidden camera tinkling in an elevator inside a building at Chestnut and Fillmore streets.
Both Dan Stegink, a computer programmer who lives there, and the building manager said the elevator had been soiled almost daily for months. To find the culprit, Stegink installed a small camera inside the elevator.
“For the past three months, our elevator reeked of urine,” he said.
At one point, Stegink said, a patch of carpet that was consistently peed on “was completely discolored.”
The manager of the building, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had to clean up the elevator “every other day.” After complaining to the Chronicle, he said, the urinating stopped — although the woman continues to deliver newspapers to the building, according to both Stegink and the manager.
That’s apparently fine with other residents, who did not report her to police because they said they did not want her to get fired, the building manager added.
“Anyone who has to deliver newspapers at 3 in the morning has a tough enough life,” he said.
Stegink said the woman, whom he described as being in her mid-20s, had a methodical way of delivering the papers. She brought them to two apartments, on the first and third floors, going to the third floor first. On the way up, Stegink said, she swiftly urinated before the elevator stopped.
That very act was captured on video early one morning last week. The woman, wearing a gray hoodie and dark sweats, is seen setting down two papers, pulling down her pants and crouching briefly in the small elevator.
“I just naturally assumed it was a man or some homeless guy,” Stegink said. “This is gallons and gallons of urine going into the machinery and everything.”
At one point, the elevator’s carpet was replaced, Stegink said, but it was peed on again the very next day. After spotting the fresh puddle, Stegink said, his suspicions grew about who would be in the building at that hour.
So he said he hid a battery-powered camera on the elevator ceiling, which he monitored live on his smartphone.
“At first, I thought it was someone who had a grudge against the building,” he said.
Mick Cohen, the Chronicle’s vice president of circulation, said the newspaper is “looking into this situation.”
“While our delivery personnel are independent contractors and not employees,” he said, “the San Francisco Chronicle does not in any way condone this alleged behavior and will take quick and appropriate action as necessary.”
The paper declined to make any further comment.
Stegink said he wonders if the woman suffers from a medical condition, as even the way she parked in front of the building suggested urgency.
“She pulls up under the canopy the wrong way on the sidewalk every day,” he said.
Before she was caught, Stegink said, a neighbor had given the woman a $50 tip for Christmas.