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Update: Suspect In San Francisco Child Abduction, Carjacking Case Arraigned

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The suspect arrested for abducting two children who were in a minivan he carjacked in San Francisco's Pacific Heights over the weekend was arraigned during a court appearance Thursday.

25-year-old Erlin Romero appeared before a judge wearing an orange jumpsuit. He was arrested by San Francisco police Tuesday.

Erlin Romero court hearing
Erlin Romero made his first appearance in San Francisco Superior Court at 850 Bryant Street in San Francisco on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Romero is accused of stealing a minivan in Pacific Heights Saturday night. Two small children were left inside the vehicle while their father was making a DoorDash delivery.

Both children were found safe hours later inside the car across town when it was discovered in the Bayview District Sunday morning.

Romero is facing multiple charges in connection with the abduction and carjacking including two counts of kidnapping, auto theft, robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime, battery and a probation violation.

Erlin Romero court hearing
Erlin Romero court hearing (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to the SF Examiner)

He was wearing an ankle monitor from a previous arrest when taken into custody Tuesday morning. Romero was already facing two previous charges of robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Prosecutors had asked a judge to detain him while awaiting trial, but a judge set bail and allowed his release.

Police are still searching for at least one other suspect who is still at large.

The carjacking is another sign of rising San Francisco crime, even in Pacific Heights where the carjacking happened.

"People are scared; really scared. They are moving because of this," District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who represents Pacific Heights, told KPIX 5 Wednesday. "They reoffend and reoffend, then commit a big enough crime to prosecute because it's in the spotlight."

Stefani suggested that Boudin and his office need to take responsibility for curbing crime.

"The DA is responsible for public safety in the city and he has to own that. All I hear is, 'It's the police's fault, probation's fault, parole's fault, CHP's fault,'" said Stefani. "But he has to take personal responsibility and look at how to make people safer in the city."

Boudin countered that he felt all San Francisco officials have a responsibility to make the city safer.

"I don't think finger-pointing is helpful. We're all working together -- or at least we're supposed to be -- to keep SF safe," said the District Attorney. "I sure hope Stefani will ensure my office has the funding we need to get back to the same staffing levels we had in 2019."

Romero could face over 10 years in prison if convicted of all the charges he faced. Fang, the father of the children who were abducted last weekend, spoke to KPIX and said he remains concerned because of the outstanding suspect still at large in the case.

Kenny Choi contributed to this story.

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