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Shoplifters brazenly steal from San Fran Neiman Marcus, flee the scene in broad daylight

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San Francisco police have launched an investigation into a brazen robbery at a Neiman Marcus retail outlet in the middle of the city, reports said on Tuesday.

According to KTVU, police said the robbery occurred at the higher-end retailer around closing time. Witnesses told the local outlet that several display cases were shattered and the thieves stole items from racks inside the store before they fled. One person caught part of the theft on a smartphone video.

KGO-TV anchor Dion Lim said that police have confirmed that the “shoplifting incident” took place at the Neiman Marcus story around 6 p.m. in San Fran’s Union Square. She also reported that they were sent video by a person whose wife is employed in the area.

Witnesses said they counted nine suspects, men and women among the group, who ran out of the store after robbing it. Reports said that at least some of the alleged thieves got into waiting vehicles that sped away after the thefts.

Last month, a man defiantly rode his bicycle into a San Francisco Walgreens and began filling a garbage bag with items as a witness and a security guard looked on.

“This just happened at the @Walgreens on Gough & Fell Streets in San Francisco. #NoConsequences @chesaboudin,” KGO-TV Lyanne Melendez said in a Twitter post containing a video of the brazen daylight theft, tagging left-wing San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who has refused to file charges against such thieves.

“At what point do we say enough is enough, we want our city back?” Melendez, who said she has witnessed three of the daylight shoplifting incidents, said.

“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,” she added.

Also last month, Walgreens announced it was closing 17 stores in the city because of the escalating thievery, citing additional costs to provide security and decreasing or non-existent profit margins.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Ahsha Safaí, who has also witnessed the thefts, recalled that some go around the corner from the stores they rip off and immediately sell what they’ve just stolen.

“Half of Walgreens was on the sidewalk. I’m not kidding,” Safaí noted. “I was blown away. I’ve never seen anything like it in this city.”

Alleged shoplifters “are obviously choosing locales based on what the consequences are,” he continued. “If there are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over.”

Boudin, however, may not be primarily responsible for the lack of prosecutions. In fact, residents of the city can blame themselves if they supported a 2014 statewide ballot referendum that downgraded theft of property valued at less than $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor.

In any event, others see a worsening retail crime problem in the city, including Brendan Dugan, who heads up that division at CVS Health.

Dugan says that his retailer has instructed security guards and store employees not to engage with shoplifters because it’s become too dangerous.

“We’ve had incidents where our security officers are assaulted on a pretty regular basis in San Francisco,” he said.

Jon Dougherty

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