One of the shops was targeted at least five times by the same man, who drew everyone's attention for raiding the shop on a bicycle and was subsequently arrested , the authorities said.
A security guard and a television reporter were registering, but the thiefWasn 't disheartened, raiding a Walgreens store in San Francisco on a bicycle, trash bag in hand full of stolen goods.
Millions people watched a video of the cheeky shoplifting in June, which critics say illustrated the epidemic of store theft that had plagued consumers retailers across town. It was at least the fifth time that the man, who was later arrested on a series of burglary and theft charges, has targeted this particular Walgreens store, on Gough Street in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, have authorities said.
Now, four months later, Walgreens announces that it will close this store and four others in San Francisco next month, citing what he described asa persistent problem of "organized" shoplifting in the city.
"Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers in San Francisco " Phil Caruso said Wednesday, Walgreens spokesperson, in an email. "Retail theft in our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in recent months to reach five times our chain average.
Walgreens said its San Francisco stores have been targeted by professional thieves who resell the goods they steal, primarily through online marketplaces. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that law enforcement officials have attributed much of the crime to the ville to organized theft networks.
In addition to the store at 300 Gough Street, the Walgreens stores which are closing are at 2550 Ocean Avenue; 4645 Mission Street; 745, rue Clement; and 3400 Cesar Chavez Street, the company said.
Walgreens representatives previously said during a supervisory board hearing in May that it had closed 17 stores, largely because thefts had made business in these places untenable.
Ahsha Safai, member of the San Francisco Supervisory Board, said on Twitter on Tuesday that closing the Walgreens store at 4645 Mission Street would leavea huge void.
"I am completely devastated by this news - this Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for the elderly, families and children for decades, "Safai said. The city, he added," must act with a sense of urgency to reduce and deter the number of incidents retail vol. " Image A locked display in a Walgreens store in San Francisco this month. The drugstore chain said its San Francisco stores were targeted by professional thieves reselling the products they stole. Credit ... Justin Sullivan / Images
Walgreens said it has increased its " investment in security measures "at its San Francisco stores " to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment. "
The mayor's office of London Breed in San Francisco did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for Chesa Boudin, the district attorney of San Francisco, said in an email on Wednesday that in addition to pursuing shoplifting cases, the office had worked with the California Highway Patrol a d ALTO, an organization that fights against theft in retail.
"Our office takes theft in retail detail very seriously and we have taken several measures over the past year to better prevent and prosecute these crimes, ”spokesperson Sa ra Yousuf said.Most recently, our Retail Theft Task Force worked with law enforcement partners on an operation that recovered more than $ 8 million from 'stolen objects. "
Ms. Yousuf said the city is making progress in combating such thefts.
"Although theft 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 said.
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department has asked Walgreens about it.
The closures, which are slated for November, will bring the number of Walgreens stores closed in San Francisco to 22 in recent years, according to the company. Walgreens has more than 50 storessins in the city, The Chronicle reported.
Walgreens filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would close 200 stores in the United States as part of a cost-cutting initiative.
Employees at the five San Francisco stores that are closing next month will continue to operate at other Walgreens locations, and customers will have their preions transferred to nearby stores, said the company.
On June 19, the San Francisco Police Department said it had stopped the man in the shoplifting video which was recorded at the Walgr eens location on Gough Street. Investigators havedeclared having linked the man, Jean Lugo-Romero, 40, to a series of thefts from traders in the North and Mission districts.
M r. Lugo-Romero faces charges of theft and burglary on five separate occasions in which he has targeted the Walgreens store on Gough Street, including for four consecutive days in late May and early June, authorities said. .
It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Lugo-Romero had a lawyer. The San Francisco Public Defender's Office in San Francisco did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.