October 26, 2021

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Walgreens to Shut 5 Shops in San Francisco, Citing ‘Organized’ Shoplifting

Walgreens to Close 5 Stores in San Francisco, Citing ‘Organized’ Shoplifting

A safety guard and a tv reporter had been recording him, however the thief was undeterred, raiding a Walgreens retailer in San Francisco on a bicycle, a rubbish bag in hand stuffed with stolen merchandise.

Tens of millions watched a video of the brazen shoplifting in June, which critics mentioned illustrated the epidemic of retailer thefts that had bedeviled retailers throughout the town. It was a minimum of the fifth time that the person, who was later arrested on a raft of housebreaking and theft fees, had focused that exact Walgreens retailer, on Gough Road within the Hayes Valley neighborhood, the authorities mentioned.

Now, 4 months later, Walgreens says it can shut that retailer and 4 others in San Francisco subsequent month, citing what it described as a seamless downside of “organized” shoplifting within the metropolis.

“Organized retail crime continues to be a problem going through retailers throughout San Francisco,” Phil Caruso, a spokesman for Walgreens, mentioned in an e-mail on Wednesday. “Retail theft throughout our San Francisco shops has continued to extend previously few months to 5 instances our chain common.”

Walgreens mentioned its San Francisco shops had been focused by skilled thieves who resell the products they steal, primarily by way of on-line marketplaces. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that regulation enforcement officers have attributed a lot of the town’s retail crime to organized theft rings.

Along with the shop at 300 Gough Road, the Walgreens places which might be closing are at 2550 Ocean Avenue; 4645 Mission Road; 745 Clement Road; and 3400 Cesar Chavez Road, the corporate mentioned.

Walgreens representatives beforehand said at a board of supervisors hearing in Could that it had closed 17 shops, largely as a result of thefts had made doing enterprise at these places untenable.

Ahsha Safaí, a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors, said on Twitter on Tuesday that the closure of the Walgreens retailer at 4645 Mission Road would go away an incredible void.

“I’m utterly devastated by this information — this Walgreens is lower than a mile from seven faculties and has been a staple for seniors, households and youngsters for many years,” Mr. Safaí mentioned. The town, he added, “must act with a way of urgency to cut back and deter the variety of incidents of business retail theft.”

Walgreens mentioned it had elevated its “investments in safety measures” at its San Francisco shops “to 46 instances our chain common in an effort to offer a protected surroundings.”

The workplace of Mayor London Breed of San Francisco didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Chesa Boudin, the San Francisco district legal professional, mentioned in an e-mail on Wednesday that, along with prosecuting shoplifting instances, the workplace had been working with the California Freeway Patrol and ALTO, a corporation that works to handle retail theft.

“Our workplace takes retail theft very critically and we’ve taken a number of steps within the final yr to raised stop and prosecute these crimes,” the spokeswoman, Sara Yousuf, mentioned. “Final yr, our Retail Theft Taskforce labored with regulation enforcement companions in an operation that led to the restoration of greater than $8 million in stolen objects.”

Ms. Yousuf mentioned that the town was making progress in addressing such thefts.

“Whereas larceny charges in San Francisco are decrease than they had been in 2019, District Lawyer Boudin is dedicated to working day by day to make San Francisco even safer,” she mentioned.

A spokesman for the San Francisco Police Division referred questions on the matter to Walgreens.

The closures, that are scheduled for November, will convey the variety of Walgreens shops which have been shuttered in San Francisco lately to 22, based on the corporate. Walgreens has greater than 50 shops within the metropolis, The Chronicle reported.

Walgreens disclosed in an August 2019 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it might be closing 200 places in the US as a part of a cost-savings initiative.

Workers on the 5 San Francisco shops which might be closing subsequent month will proceed to work at different Walgreens places, and clients may have their prescriptions transferred to close by shops, the corporate mentioned.

On June 19, the San Francisco Police Division mentioned that it had arrested the man in the shoplifting video that was recorded on the Walgreens location on Gough Road. Investigators mentioned that they related the person, Jean Lugo-Romero, 40, to a string of thefts from retailers within the Northern and Mission districts.

Mr. Lugo-Romero faces theft and housebreaking fees in reference to 5 separate events during which he focused the Walgreens retailer on Gough Road, together with on 4 consecutive days in late Could and early June, the authorities mentioned.

It was not instantly clear whether or not Mr. Lugo-Romero had a lawyer. The San Francisco Public Defender’s workplace in San Francisco didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Wednesday.

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