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‘I see this constantly’: VIDEO shows thief casually and openly robbing Walgreens, as businesses flee San Francisco

‘I see this constantly’: VIDEO shows thief casually and openly robbing Walgreens, as businesses flee San Francisco
Footage taken by a San Francisco reporter has highlighted the rampant issues driving businesses out of the city, as a man casually robbed a Walgreens while onlookers and security did nothing.

The video was taken on Monday and shows multiple onlookers filming a man stuffing a trash bag full of items from a Walgreens and then riding away on a Lyft bike, the biggest threat to his theft a half-hearted attempt by an observing security guard trying to take his bag. 

ABC7 reporter Lyanne Melendez took the footage while on her day off and said the bizarre video only exemplifies the out-of-control crime plaguing the city. 

“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 said. 

To make matters worse, this is the third time she’s seen someone casually shoplifting at a Walgreens and strolling away without consequence.

San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai said the laid-back attitude toward crime in the city is driving numerous businesses out of town. Over a dozen Walgreens have closed in the past five years, partly due to out-of-control theft. 

"Seventeen Walgreens over the last five years, almost every Gap retail outlet is gone, CVS is under assault," Safai said, adding that there needs to be a “more aggressive” approach to monitoring and stopping crime. He held a hearing on organized retail theft in the city last month, but he is waiting to hear solutions from San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and the San Francisco Police Department. 

Some social media users expressed shock at the video, while others saw it as yet another step in the decline of San Francisco. 

“The Sopranos crew had to hijack trailers for this type of haul,” reporter Jim Stinson tweeted

“When I worked in retail, we used to chase guys like that. And they got arrested,” San Francisco news anchor Marc Brown added

Walgreens in San Francisco are four times more likely to be robbed than other locations across the country, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The numerous problems in San Francisco – homelessness, crime, public hygiene – have mostly all become the subjects of infighting for local officials, many of whom refuse to accept blame. 

District Attorney Chesa Boudin called on police to do more last month when it was revealed that crime had spiked during the pandemic, including burglaries which shot up over 60% from the beginning of the pandemic to March of this year. 

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“Right now, police are only making arrests in about 10% of all reported crimes. There is no way we’re gonna lock-up our way out of a problem when police are only clearing 10% of reported crimes,” Boudin told KPIX5.

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott countered that his department clearance rates match many other departments. For robberies, they have a 30% success rate, while more specific thefts like car burglaries are much lower in the single digits. 

Many critics point to the passing of Proposition 47 in 2014 as the primary reason for the increase in thefts and crime over the years as it reclassified nonviolent theft of less than $950 as a misdemeanor. Many say this has emboldened criminals. 

“If there are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over,” Safai told The New York Times about his city’s crime wave last month.

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