Walgreens closes a wave of San Francisco stores and ‘organized’ shoplifting despite promises to curb retail theft

Walgreens closes five more stores in San Francisco because viral videos that go unchallenged by “organized” shoppers raise the impression that the city permits low-level crimes.

The closures will double the number of stores in San Francisco since early 2019, with Walgreens announcing a restructuring plan to close 200 stores across the US by 2022.

“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are no exception,” said Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso SF Gate, Which first reported the closure.

“Retail theft in our San Francisco stores is five times the average of our chain in the last few months.”

Mr. Caruso said he was closing his store in San Francisco to secure “46 times” the average number of chains in the United States.

The company closed a San Francisco store in 2020, claiming $ 1,000 a day in burglary, with videos of thieves pushing things into black trash bins online.

In June last year, a bike-riding shopper was shot to empty store shelves at a pharmacy.

The San Francisco Police Department announced in June 2021 that Jean Lugo-Romero, 40, was arrested on charges of stealing $ 978 worth of merchandise.

That particular amount of $ 978 is significant, as it avoids the $ 950 limit of shoplifting in 2014, which critics have accused of the proliferation of viral shoplifting videos in recent years.

The California proposition has reduced sentences for 47 nonviolent offenses to less than $ 950, theft of items, which usually do not incite arrest. Anything over that amount could be a crime and a harsh penalty.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott announced a crackdown on shoplifters in June, including an increase in officers in an organized retail crime unit and the creation of an easy system for reporting shoplifting.

The organized shop theft led to closed shops such as dispensaries and markets, which hurt the community that relied on them for work, medicine and food, Ms Breed said.

“We care about criminal justice reform. We care about second chances. We care about making sure people are not mistaken,” Mrs Breed said. Associated Press. “But don’t take our kindness for the weak, our compassion for the weak.”

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