A man rode his bicycle into a San Francisco Walgreens and then began filling up a trash bag with stolen items while a private security guard stood by watching and videoed the crime. The thief left the store without being stopped, although the guard did grab at the bag on the way out.
A reporter with KGO-TV named Lyanne Melendez posted the video to Twitter, stating: “This just happened at the @Walgreens on Gough & Fell Streets in San Francisco. #NoConsequences @chesaboudin.” Chesa Boudin is the city’s liberal district attorney who refuses to prosecute crimes such as these.
A woman who also witnessed the robbery and who was filming the incident asked the security guard if he should call 911. He allegedly made no move to do so. The thief brazenly rode his bike down the middle of the aisle past the security guard and out the front door.
“That’s when he sort of ran into me with his bicycle,” recalled Melendez. She took the cellphone video while she was shopping at the Hayes Valley Walgreens on Fell and Gough streets on her day off. “It’s hard for me as a journalist to say ‘I won’t be involved, I can’t get involved,’ I have to be sort of neutral, but this is also my city. I live in this city and I see this constantly. Not only Walgreens, but cars, and my garage door has been broken into twice.”
(Video Credit: Crime Beat USA|KGO-TV)
Melendez has personally witnessed three of these out-in-the-open shoplifting sprees at different Walgreens in San Francisco. “At what point do we say enough is enough, we want our city back,” she wondered.
Many saw the video and proclaimed that it was yet another example of San Francisco’s ever-growing lawlessness.
Walgreens has closed 17 stores in the city over the last five years reportedly due to shoplifting and crime. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the chain spends 35 times more on security guards in San Francisco than in other U.S. cities. A regional vice president for the company says theft committed in these outlets is four times higher than in other Walgreens.
Brendan Dugan, who is the director of the retail crime division at CVS Health, called San Francisco “one of the epicenters of organized retail crime” and stated that employees were instructed not to pursue suspected thieves because encounters had become far too dangerous. “We’ve had incidents where our security officers are assaulted on a pretty regular basis in San Francisco,” Dugan remarked.
Ahsha Safaí, who is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, recounted seeing thieves sell stolen goods just around the corner from the store that they robbed.
“Half of Walgreens was on the sidewalk. I’m not kidding,” Safaí commented. “I was blown away. I’ve never seen anything like it in this city.”
Thieves “are obviously choosing locales based on what the consequences are,” Safaí posited. “If there are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over.”
This is exactly why I held a hearing on organized retail theft and am pushing for greater accountability on shoplifting in SF
— Ahsha Safai 安世輝 (@Ahsha_Safai) June 15, 2021
San Francisco has all but ceased prosecuting criminals for theft and shoplifting following a 2014 ballot referendum that downgraded the theft of property that is less than $950 in value from a felony charge to a misdemeanor.
The viral video set Twitter on fire:
I’m unclear what the definition of “security guard” is these days. Just….what?
— TerryMcSweeney (@TerryMcSweeney) June 14, 2021
“Descended into lawlessness” is a strange phrase to be using about an American city, but it seems an accurate description of what’s happening here.
— Paul Graham (@paulg) June 15, 2021
It’s San Francisco. They’ll probably arrest the security guard for trying to steal the bag from the guy on the bike.
— Biden’s Fortified Naptime (@mgEyesOpen) June 15, 2021
UnREAL to me that everybody there just lets the guy stroll out. Like, “Not my problem”.
I’ll say it again; this would end in about 30 seconds in a flyover state. Somebody would knock the guy’s teeth out.
— Austin M. Craig (@austinmcraig) June 15, 2021
How long before someone takes justice into their own hands?
— Roman Savi (@SaviRoman) June 14, 2021
What exactly is the security guard getting paid to do? 🤨
— Terrence X (@GoldDiamonds__) June 15, 2021
As a Canadian watching this, my mind is blown. Is that what things have come to in SF?
— Dennis Geelen (@dennis_geelen) June 15, 2021
Are Venezuela and San Francisco managed by the same people?
— William Samples (@samplestweets) June 15, 2021
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