Business

Walgreens to Shut 5 Shops 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 full of stolen merchandise.

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 at the least the fifth time that the person, who was later arrested on a raft of housebreaking and theft costs, had focused that exact Walgreens retailer, on Gough Street within the Hayes Valley neighborhood, the authorities mentioned.

Now, 4 months later, Walgreens says it should 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 challenge facing retailers across San Francisco,” Phil Caruso, a spokesman for Walgreens, mentioned in an e mail on Wednesday. “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average.”

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

In addition to the shop at 300 Gough Street, the Walgreens places which are closing are at 2550 Ocean Avenue; 4645 Mission Street; 745 Clement Street; and 3400 Cesar Chavez Street, the corporate mentioned.

Walgreens representatives beforehand mentioned at a board of supervisors listening to in May 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 Street would go away an amazing void.

“I am completely devastated by this news — this Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for seniors, families and children for decades,” Mr. Safaí mentioned. The metropolis, he added, “needs to act with a sense of urgency to reduce and deter the number of incidents of commercial retail theft.”

Walgreens mentioned it had elevated its “investments in security measures” at its San Francisco shops “to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment.”

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 lawyer, mentioned in an e mail on Wednesday that, along with prosecuting shoplifting instances, the workplace had been working with the California Highway Patrol and ALTO, a company that works to deal with retail theft.

“Our office takes retail theft very seriously and we have taken several steps in the last year to better prevent and prosecute these crimes,” the spokeswoman, Sara Yousuf, mentioned. “Last year, our Retail Theft Taskforce worked with law enforcement partners in an operation that led to the recovery of more than $8 million in stolen items.”

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

“While larceny rates in San Francisco are lower than they were in 2019, District Attorney Boudin is committed to working every day to make San Francisco even safer,” she mentioned.

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

The closures, that are scheduled for November, will deliver the variety of Walgreens shops which were shuttered in San Francisco in recent times to 22, in response to the corporate. Walgreens has greater than 50 shops within the metropolis, The Chronicle reported.

Walgreens disclosed in an August 2019 submitting with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it could be closing 200 places within the United States as a part of a cost-savings initiative.

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

On June 19, the San Francisco Police Department mentioned that it had arrested the man in the shoplifting video that was recorded on the Walgreens location on Gough Street. 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 costs in reference to 5 separate events through which he focused the Walgreens retailer on Gough Street, together with on 4 consecutive days in late May 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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