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

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One of the stores was targeted astatine slightest 5 times by the aforesaid man, who drew wide attraction for raiding the store connected a motorcycle and was aboriginal arrested, the authorities said.

The closures, scheduled for November, volition  bring the fig   of Walgreens stores that person  been shuttered successful  San Francisco successful  caller    years to 22, according to the company.
Credit...Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Neil Vigdor

Oct. 13, 2021, 6:18 p.m. ET

A information defender and a tv newsman were signaling him, but the thief was undeterred, raiding a Walgreens store successful San Francisco connected a bicycle, a garbage container successful manus filled with stolen merchandise.

Millions watched a video of the brazen shoplifting successful June, which critics said illustrated the epidemic of store thefts that had bedeviled retailers crossed the city. It was astatine slightest the 5th clip that the man, who was aboriginal arrested connected a raft of burglary and theft charges, had targeted that peculiar Walgreens store, connected Gough Street successful the Hayes Valley neighborhood, the authorities said.

Now, 4 months later, Walgreens says it volition adjacent that store and 4 others successful San Francisco adjacent month, citing what it described arsenic a continuing occupation of “organized” shoplifting successful the city.

“Organized retail transgression continues to beryllium a situation facing retailers crossed San Francisco,” Phil Caruso, a spokesperson for Walgreens, said successful an email connected Wednesday. “Retail theft crossed our San Francisco stores has continued to summation successful the past fewer months to 5 times our concatenation average.”

Walgreens said its San Francisco stores had been targeted by nonrecreational thieves who resell the goods they steal, chiefly done online marketplaces. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that instrumentality enforcement officials person attributed overmuch of the city’s retail transgression to organized theft rings.

In summation to the store astatine 300 Gough Street, the Walgreens locations that are closing are astatine 2550 Ocean Avenue; 4645 Mission Street; 745 Clement Street; and 3400 Cesar Chavez Street, the institution said.

Walgreens representatives antecedently said astatine a committee of supervisors hearing successful May that it had closed 17 stores, mostly due to the fact that thefts had made doing concern astatine those locations untenable.

Ahsha Safaí, a subordinate of the San Francisco committee of supervisors, said connected Twitter connected Tuesday that the closure of the Walgreens store astatine 4645 Mission Street would permission a tremendous void.

“I americium wholly devastated by this quality — this Walgreens is little than a mile from 7 schools and has been a staple for seniors, families and children for decades,” Mr. Safaí said. The city, helium added, “needs to enactment with a consciousness of urgency to trim and deter the fig of incidents of commercialized retail theft.”


Credit...Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Walgreens said it had accrued its “investments successful information measures” astatine its San Francisco stores “to 46 times our concatenation mean successful an effort to supply a harmless environment.”

The bureau of Mayor London Breed of San Francisco did not instantly respond to a petition for remark connected Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Chesa Boudin, the San Francisco territory attorney, said successful an email connected Wednesday that, successful summation to prosecuting shoplifting cases, the bureau had been moving with the California Highway Patrol and ALTO, an enactment that works to code retail theft.

“Our bureau takes retail theft precise earnestly and we person taken respective steps successful the past twelvemonth to amended forestall and prosecute these crimes,” the spokeswoman, Sara Yousuf, said. “Last year, our Retail Theft Taskforce worked with instrumentality enforcement partners successful an cognition that led to the betterment of much than $8 cardinal successful stolen items.”

Ms. Yousuf said that the metropolis was making advancement successful addressing specified thefts.

“While larceny rates successful San Francisco are little than they were successful 2019, District Attorney Boudin is committed to moving each time to marque San Francisco adjacent safer,” she said.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department referred questions connected the substance to Walgreens.

The closures, which are scheduled for November, volition bring the fig of Walgreens stores that person been shuttered successful San Francisco successful caller years to 22, according to the company. Walgreens has much than 50 stores successful the city, The Chronicle reported.

Walgreens disclosed successful an August 2019 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would beryllium closing 200 locations successful the United States arsenic portion of a cost-savings initiative.

Employees astatine the 5 San Francisco stores that are closing adjacent period volition proceed to enactment astatine different Walgreens locations, and customers volition person their prescriptions transferred to adjacent stores, the institution said.

On June 19, the San Francisco Police Department said that it had arrested the antheral successful the shoplifting video that was recorded astatine the Walgreens determination connected Gough Street. Investigators said that they connected the man, Jean Lugo-Romero, 40, to a drawstring of thefts from merchants successful the Northern and Mission districts.

Mr. Lugo-Romero faces robbery and burglary charges successful transportation with 5 abstracted occasions successful which helium targeted the Walgreens store connected Gough Street, including connected 4 consecutive days successful precocious May and aboriginal June, the authorities said.

It was not instantly wide whether Mr. Lugo-Romero had a lawyer. The San Francisco Public Defender’s bureau successful San Francisco did not instantly respond to a petition for remark connected Wednesday.

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