A San Francisco shoplifter was filmed stuffing a bag of stolen goods behind the counter of a Walgreens store as staff stood helpless and watched.
The heist took place at a Walgreens in the city’s Richmond neighborhood on Tuesday, and saw the brazen shoplifter throw bananas and cookies at a man who confronted him.
It’s the latest in a long line of shocking shoplifting attacks to hit the famously liberal Bay Area.
San Francisco and its Bay Area neighbors have been hit hard by a wave of property crime and armed robbery since the pandemic began. It has forced several Walgreens branches to close in a bid to stem their theft-related losses amid growing criticism of soft-crime ADs, which many say enable widespread crime.
Cellphone video captured by professional photographer Nicholas Stennet shows a man dressed in all black pulling items from shelves behind the counter at the San Francisco drugstore with complete disregard for two store workers standing just outside side of him.
One of the employees is on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, reporting a robbery in progress.
At the start of the clip, the cheeky shoplifter can be seen behind the counter stuffing some of Walgreens most valuable items into a huge bag, while helpless staff watch
Moments later he was confronted by a male shopper, pictured left, but didn’t appreciate the verification of his behavior…
“We have this person who…takes everything off the counter,” the woman says. ‘Can you send the cops? Can you send them straight away, please?
The looter, meanwhile, calmly moves to another section of the counter and continues to stuff a plastic bag with a variety of goods, including COVID tests, batteries and electronics, according to an eyewitness.
After ransacking the shelves as he pleases, the criminal emerges from behind the counter and heads for the exit.
When a bystander attempts to stand up to him, the daring bandit grabs a bunch of bananas from a basket and forcefully throws them at the man, who picks up some fruit and throws it back at the assailant.
…and ended up throwing bananas at the so-called Good Samaritan, who then responded in kind
The shoplifter was obviously angered by the hero’s decision to stand up to him and returned to throw nuts and candy at the unfortunate.
Visibly irritated by such a hostile reception, the shoplifter grabs packets of Chips Ahoy! from a nearby shelf and throws the Good Samaritan with them, before storming out of the store and setting off the alarm on the way out.
Drugstore chains like Walgreens and CVS have become attractive and easy targets for shoplifters, leading to many store closures in the Bay Area. In the region’s largest city, San Francisco, petty crimes, such as retail theft, have been effectively decriminalized under progressive district attorney Chesa Boudin.
Boudin, who in a recent interview with The New York Times argued that tough-on-crime policies aren’t working and blamed police for soaring crime rates in San Francisco, faces a recall vote on June 7.
Liberal San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, whose soft-on-crime policies have been blamed for San Francisco’s skyrocketing crime rate, faces a recall vote in June
Roving gangs of criminals have carried out brazen burglaries, targeting high-end stores like Louis Vuitton and Burberry, but also national chains like Walgreens and CVS.
Walgreens said retail theft in San Francisco was five times the chain average last year and security costs were 46 times the chain average, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
According to the latest available crime data, robbery rates in the liberal stronghold of California rose 19% at the end of February compared to the same period last year.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has pledged to crack down on retail thieves gangs, despite a controversial 2014 law – Proposition 47 – that barred prosecutors from charging suspected shoplifters accused of ‘stolen less than $950 worth of merchandise with felonies.