In the summer of 2014, German Woods, 60, terrorized the residents of Chinatown and Japantown. He’d sneak into low-income apartment buildings and try doors to units, until he found one unlocked. Once inside, he’d steal wallets, computers, and jewelry — counting on the fact that his victims, all over age 65, were too physically frail to fight back. By the time he was caught in August, seven victims had come forward — five in Chinatown, and two in Japantown.
“The victims were all in their 80s and 90s, frail, and of Asian descent. English was not their first language. He targeted these individuals because they’re the most vulnerable victims in San Francisco,” prosecuting attorney Charles Bisesto told the jury during his closing arguments in June. “He knew he could use force and fear. He knew many didn’t speak English. He knew many wouldn’t report him. He knew even if he was caught, that the victims were elderly, with poor memories and eyesight.”
As we reported previously, in July Woods was found guilty of 16 counts of first-degree residential robbery, first-degree residential burglary, inflicting injury on an elder likely to cause great bodily injury, battery, and multiple variations of felony crimes against the elderly.
On Wednesday morning, Judge Samuel K. Feng sentenced Woods to 327 years to life. A series of repeat crimes were taken into consideration: Woods had served time in prison for charges prior to his arrest in 2014.
For the seniors in Chinatown and Japantown, the arrest closes the door on a horrifying case. Since the crimes were committed, two of the victims passed away. But for those still alive, it is comforting that Woods is off the streets for good.
“These crimes were deliberate, cold and calculating. He targeted the elderly because they were vulnerable,” says District Attorney George Gascón. “They were preyed upon and taken advantage of, but they can rest easier knowing this man will never harm them or anyone else again.”