A group of brazen shoplifters was captured on video smashing into a San Francisco, California, Neiman Marcus over the weekend, and stealing armloads of designer handbags, in broad daylight as, reportedly, sales associates and customers huddled for safety at the back of the store.
KTVU first reported the smash-and-grab, posting cellphone video from an onlooker that shows the group of shoplifters making off with the designer goods.
Group dashes out of San Francisco Neiman Marcus store after handbag robbery and flee in awaiting getaway cars https://t.co/gAL2VriW78 pic.twitter.com/tpxMYYhLvh
— KTVU (@KTVU) July 6, 2021
“Authorities said the robbery happened around 5:49 p.m. at the high-end department store located in Union Square,” KTVU reported. “Witnesses said the ordeal happened just before the store was about to close. They said the suspects smashed display cases and snatched items from racks before fleeing.”
The video also shows shattered glass display cases.
Witnesses to the incident claimed that around nine individuals were involved in the daylight robbery and that they had a getaway driver ready to go as soon as they exited the store. A reporter for KGO-TV added, in that network’s own tweet on the incident, that sales associates and customers huddled in the back of the store during the robbery to keep them safe.
“The man who took this video works nearby,” Dion Lim of KGO-TV said on Twitter. “He saw two suspects run in and immediately shut and locked the doors of the store he works at. He told me he then saw 8 more run in. He says this happened to his store in the past it’s ‘traumatizing’ to him & his colleagues.”
“A woman who has shopped the handbag department at NM for a long time told me a sales associate had to hurry customers to the back– in order to keep them safe from the smashed glass from handbag display cases,” Lim added.
Shoplifting has skyrocketed in San Francisco, as The Daily Wire reported, in part because of organized crime, which is now targeting the city’s retail establishments. Criminals also appear to be taking advantage of a progressive District Attorney, and a 2014 “ballot measure that reclassified nonviolent thefts as misdemeanors if the stolen goods are worth less than $950.”
“There appears to be plenty of blame to go around when it comes to organized retail crime run amok in San Francisco, from limited legal consequences for first-time and repeat offenders and the lucrative nature of the illegal trading, primarily done via online platforms, such as eBay,” RetailWire noted last month.
The problem has become so pervasive that Walgreens has had to close 17 stores, and CVS has hired security personnel. Over the weekend, the Daily Wire reported that Target stores in San Francisco will reduce their hours in an attempt to curb the damage from shoplifting.
“For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores, similar to reports from other retailers in the area,” a Target spokesperson told NBC Bay Area in a statement Friday night, per the Daily Wire. “Target is engaging local law enforcement, elected officials, and community partners to address our concerns. With the safety of our guests, team members, and communities as our top priority, we’ve temporarily reduced our operating hours in six San Francisco stores.”
Progressive San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, however, has blamed police for the spike in retail theft, suggesting that police have drawn down their interdiction efforts in response to being called out for racism.
“The reality is the POA (police officers union) needs someone to point the finger at and this isn’t a new issue,” Boudin told a local CBS affiliate. “Look they were blaming (Vice President) Kamala Harris and attacking her when she was the district attorney. This is an age-old problem in San Francisco because the POA wants to get away without doing their job. They want to get away with allowing their officers to send racist text messages, to use excessive force against the community, and to engage in systematic violations of civil rights of Black and brown drivers on our streets. And I’m pushing back and demanding that they modernize, that they reform, and that they respect all the members of our community.”