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POSTED October 17, 2013 8:22 p.m.

SF COP ACCUSED OF SPENDING ON-DUTY HOURS AT HOME: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco police officer was charged with theft of public money after officials said he spent his days at home when he should have been walking a beat.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports  undercover officers watched 52-year-old Ronald Gehrke go home repeatedly over a period of months while he was on duty.

An investigation was launched after a neighbor wrote to police brass wondering why Gehrke's department cruiser was often parked in the driveway of his house near Lake Merced.

The 19-year department veteran faces 10 misdemeanor counts. He has been suspended without pay. If Gehrke's found guilty, he could face a year in jail and will likely be fired.

The officer is due back in court Oct. 24, when a judge will schedule a trial.

4 INJURED IN 6-ALARM FIRE IN REDWOOD CITY: REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — A six-alarm fire early Thursday at a San Francisco Bay Area apartment complex injured four people, one seriously, and displaced dozens, fire officials said.

Television news footage showed flames shooting from the Redwood City building and what appeared to be a gaping hole in the roof. The fire was still smoldering hours after it began around 5 a.m.

Paul Jenkins, a resident of the four-story, 75-unit apartment complex, said he had to escape down a fire ladder from his balcony because there was too much smoke in the hallway.

"The smoke was coming down so fast and so thick," he told KTVU-TV

Fire crews arrived to find the fire raging on the upper floor. They were still battling the blaze about two hours later, Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said.

Four people were transported to the hospital with injuries, two of them minor, one moderate and one serious, Palisi told KGO-TV. He did not elaborate on the nature of the injuries, but said fire officials received reports that people did hear smoke alarms and evacuated the building.

Fire officials have not received reports that anyone is missing, Palisi said.

The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center for displaced residents.

BAY AREA COSTCO RECALLS MORE CHICKEN: SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California Costco store is recalling thousands of additional rotisserie chickens over concerns about salmonella.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the recall on Thursday of a little more than 13,400 "Kirkland Signature Foster Farms" rotisserie chickens and related Kirkland Farms products such as soup, chicken salad and leg quarters. The items were sold at Costco's South San Francisco store between Sept. 24 and Oct. 15.

The previous recall was for more than 9,000 Foster Farms rotisserie chickens and related products purchased at the same South San Francisco Costco between Sept. 11 and Sept. 23.

Agriculture officials say there have been no reports of illness from the latest recall.

UNION SQUARE BRIEFLY EVACUATED OVER REPORT: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco police say there was "no merit" to a suspicious device that led to the evacuation of Union Square.

Police spokesman Gordon Shyy earlier said the report came in around 11:50 a.m. Thursday. In addition to the evacuation, a one-block radius around Union Square was shutdown to vehicles and pedestrians and businesses were ordered to shelter in place.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the bomb squad was examining the package at 1 p.m. and cable car service was also shut down.

Police later tweeted that the streets had reopened.

Union Square is a major tourist draw. It is surrounded by high-end retail stores.

 

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