Neighbors sniffing out truckloads of clues on Bernal Hill despoiler 

click to enlarge Junk job: A “forensic architect” says the mysterious trash dumpings on Bernal Hill appear to be from a home renovation project. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Junk job: A “forensic architect” says the mysterious trash dumpings on Bernal Hill appear to be from a home renovation project.

A word of warning to the serial junk dumper of Bernal Hill — the neighbors are on to you.

The wee hours of Wednesday morning marked the fourth time in recent months that a dump truck has quickly rolled up the peak, dumped a load — in a handicapped parking space, no less — and rolled back down into obscurity. All in a matter of 10 minutes.

And then, over the weekend, the hill experienced three additional brazen dumpings; one ended with a pile being set ablaze. On Sunday morning, a trail of household filth could be seen leading to a charred mass of hot garbage.

A local blog — Bernalwood — is on the case, along with neighbors who have mounted a camera on Folsom Street and have even solicited help from a “forensic architect” to provide clues on the origin of the dumped material.

“We know that it’s from exterior renovation of a home,” said blogger Todd Lappin, who has been following the saga. “We know it comes from a Victorian or Edwardian from around the turn of the century.”

Lappin said there is evidence that the renovation also includes plumbing work, prompting local residents to scour the permit databases of city departments to narrow down possibilities to a handful of projects in the area.

The camera has yielded video of the suspected culprit driving a dump truck commonly used by contractors, although the vehicle had no identifiable markings.

“But it looks like a nice truck,” Lappin said. “Maybe owned by someone with, you know, money.”

Last week, a potential break in the case came when a snare drum cover was discovered with the name “Rene Maples,” which led to copious Googling for more clues. Meanwhile, Lappin said neighbors remain hot on the trail.

“One commenter said it would make a good reality show,” Lappin said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak said the Ingleside Police Station is aware of the problem and is stepping up its watchfulness, especially at night. Officers plan to hold a community meeting at 7 p.m. May 15 to discuss the problem with residents.

The dumping spot is well-known to The City’s Recreation and Park Department, which dispatches a Department of Public Works cleanup crew every time there’s an incident. The dumping on Bernal Hill has been occurring for years, according to Rec and Park spokeswoman Sarah Ballard, and has cost San Francisco thousands of dollars in resources. John McLaren Park suffers from similar dumping, Ballard said.

Public Works cracked down on illegal dumping last year, issuing warnings to residents that leaving unwanted items on city streets could result in  $1,000 fines. At the time, the department reported receiving 17,000 calls annually, resulting in 10,000 tons of garbage and $4 million in costs.

In March 2011, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued two neighboring companies from the Bayview district for $500,000 over repeated illegal dumping in the neighborhood’s industrial areas.

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