A man was caught on camera brazenly stealing a bag full of items Monday night from a San Francisco Walgreens as two people and a security guard stood by helplessly.
An unidentified man who obscured his face with a face mask can be seen shoveling items into a garbage bag as a woman and a security guard stand mere feet away recording, according to footage captured at a Walgreens in San Francisco by ABC 7 reporter Lyanne Melendez.
After taking his fill of items, the thief hops onto his bike and rides past the security guard and woman, seemingly undeterred. The security guard attempts to knock the bag out of the thief’s hand but to no avail.
— Lyanne Melendez (@LyanneMelendez) June 14, 2021
“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,” Melendez said, according to ABC 7. “I live in this city and I see this constantly. Not only Walgreens, but cars, and my garage door has been broken into twice.”
Seventeen Walgreens, along with several other stores, have shut their doors over the past five years due to the rampant theft, San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai said, according to the report.
“Seventeen Walgreens over the last five years, almost every Gap retail outlet is gone, CVS is under assault,” claimed Safai, who retweeted the video calling for more accountability for shoplifting.
This is exactly why I held a hearing on organized retail theft and am pushing for greater accountability on shoplifting in SF https://t.co/p5Dci46yvs
— Ahsha Safai 安世輝 (@Ahsha_Safai) June 15, 2021
Among the 53 remaining Walgreens in the city, theft is four times higher in those stores than other Walgreens nationwide, and the chain spends 35 times more on security in San Francisco locations than any other area in the country, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (RELATED: ‘There Are No Consequences’: California Grocery Stores Push For Tougher Crime Laws, Citing Safety Concerns)
Instances of brazen theft have increased over the years after California voters approved Proposition 47 that reclassified nonviolent theft as a misdemeanor if the thief steals less than $950 items worth of goods. Retail executives and police officers, however, say the measure has only emboldened criminals.
Thieves “are obviously choosing locales based on what the consequences are,” Safai told The New York Times. “If there are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over.”