Walgreens has closed 17 stores in Nancy Pelosi’s police-defunded San Francisco due to ‘out of control’ shoplifting
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Thanks to widespread and persistent shoplifting, 17 Walgreens Pharmacy locations have shuttered in San Francisco during the past five years.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, shoplifting did decrease during the coronavirus pandemic, but police also told the news outlet that “incidents are often underreported and have become more violent and brazen.”
San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí told the San Francisco Chronicle that the situation is “out of control,” adding:
“People are scared to go into these stores — seniors, people with disabilities, children. It’s just happening brazenly.”
Longtime Walgreens customer Sebastian Luke told the Chronicle regarding closures:
“All of us knew it was coming. Whenever we go in there, they always have problems with shoplifters.”
Luke also suggested that the employees at Walgreens are helpless to do anything in the face of the thefts, saying:
“I feel sorry for the clerks, they are regularly being verbally assaulted.”
“The clerks say there is nothing they can do. They say Walgreens’ policy is to not get involved.
“They don’t want anyone getting injured or getting sued, so the guys just keep coming in and taking whatever they want.”
In fact, a shoplifting incident occurred right in front of San Francisco Chronicle writer Phil Matier, as he was working on a story about “rampant shoplifting” and Walgreens closures.
“No sooner had the clerk spoken than a man wearing a virus mask walked in, emptied two shelves of snacks into a bag, then headed back for the door.
“As he walked past the checkout line, a customer called out, ‘Sure you don’t want a drink with that?’”
In order to address the ongoing problem of shoplifting at retail establishments like Walgreens, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí held a hearing Thursday, May 13, with retailers, police, District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and probation departments.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that retailers at the hearing pointed the finger at “professional thieves instead of opportunistic shoplifters who may be driven by poverty.”
A representative from CVS also termed San Francisco “a hub of organized retail crime.”
Jason Cunningham, regional vice president for pharmacy and retail operations in California and Hawaii, reported at the hearing that theft in San Francisco Walgreens locations is four times higher than in stores elsewhere in the country.
In addition, Cunningham noted that the pharmacy chain spends 35 times more on security in San Francisco than in other locations.
Brendan Dugan, director of organized retail crime and corporate investigations for CVS Pharmacy, also attended the hearing. He reported that 42% of CVS’s losses in the Bay Area are from 12 stores in San Francisco, yet those stores only represent 8% of the market share.
Dugan added that it was “professional crime” that accounted for 85% of CVS’s losses. He called San Francisco “one of the ‘epicenters’ of organized retail crime,” reminding those present of a major retail theft ring bust in October of 2020, in which over $8 million of stolen merchandise was recovered.
That merchandise came, in part, from Walgreens and CVS.
In another take at the hearing on the origin of the thefts, retail grocery chain Safeway placed blame for “dramatic increases” in shoplifting on the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014.
Sadly, in Democrat-run San Francisco, this is not just normal, it’s darn near legal. By a margin of 60 to 40 percent in a 2014 referendum, California’s idiot voters basically decriminalized shoplifting. If the value of the stolen merchandise doesn’t exceed $950, it’s no longer a felony. Anything $950 and below is a simple misdemeanor. How sweet is that?
As a result of this total breakdown of civil law and order, already 17 Walgreens have fled the City by the Bay.
How much longer can the rest of the stores hold out with this kind of brazen criminality? Keep in mind, Walgreens isn’t just losing all this merchandise… Would you shop at a store where this stuff goes on?
And don’t blame the security guard… If the people of San Francisco are okay with this, why should he risk getting hurt or sued?
California’s Prop. 47 amended the California penal code, Section 490.2, to lower penalties for certain thefts. It now reads that theft of property valued at less than $950 is punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1000 or six months in jail.
The Washington Examiner reports that many California prosecutors also “have opted to free those charged with the offense under certain conditions rather than holding them in jail for the maximum sentence of six months.”
In addition, as we reported last year, San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin has refused to prosecute “low level” crimes like shoplifting.