San Francisco Bay has been hit by a third day of brazen looting, with a gang of thieves filmed smashing glass cases at a jewelry store and emptying them as staff screamed in terror.
The latest incident happened at a Sam’s Jewelers store at the Southland Mall in Hayward around 5:30pm PST Sunday evening, and was caught on camera.
Robbers – said to have been part of a gang of around 40 to 50 teens who entered the mall – wielded hammers to smash display cases at Sam’s, before making off with goods. Dramatic footage shot from a nearby store showed shop workers screaming with fear as the disturbing scene unfolded.
Also on Sunday, another gang of looters snatched garments from upmarket yoga clothing brand Lululemon’s San Jose store, KPIX reported.
And on Saturday, video posted to Twitter a swarm of robbers was caught on security camera stealing prescriptions from Wellspring Pharmacy in Oakland at around 7.30pm.
Pharmacy employees sped up the footage to show dozens of people running through the store to grab boxes of drugs off the shelves before quickly moving out. It is unclear what drugs were stolen, but staff say customers’ whose meds were stolen will be able to collect replacement meds that have been ordered in.
Store employees told KGO-TV reporter Dion Lim they were ‘overwhelmed and devastated’ by the brazen theft, as it is a small drug store and does not have the same resources as chains like CVS or Walgreens.
Video of the Sam’s incident, meanwhile, shows the men, all of whom were wearing hoodies, smashing the cases and running off with handfuls of jewelry, with one man even running back to grab an item he dropped before fleeing.
People inside the store screamed and ran away from the horrifying scene, which has become common in the Bay Area since a California state law downgraded the theft of property less than $950 in value from a felony charge to a misdemeanor in 2014.
Store staff and security now tend not to pursue or stop thieves who have taken anything worth less than $1,000.
Sources say the Macy’s at the Southland Mall was also attacked on Sunday, with two women who work near Sam’s Jewelers telling KPIX that the teens also ran into another store and left with clothes and shoes.
‘We saw all the other stores closing,’ said one of the women, whom KPIX did not name. ‘They were panicking, so we were panicking and quickly closed our store and barricaded ourselves.’
‘It was very scary,’ said the other woman, who also was not named. She described the brazen thieves as ‘people with no morals, no sense for other people’s safety.
‘I feel helpless,’ the woman said. ‘It’s disturbing.’
Police could not say how much jewelry was taken from the store or the volume of merchandise other stores in the mall lost. No arrests had been made as of Monday morning.
Just about an hour later, in San Jose, a group of suspects entered a Lululemon store in the outdoor mall at Santana Row and took an unknown amount of merchandise before they fled the scene. No other information about the incident has been reported.
These thefts occurred as police in nearby Walnut Creek, about 25 miles from San Francisco, warned that there could be a repeat of the stealing spree that community saw the night before.
‘The Walnut Creek PD is actively monitoring intelligence that indicates the group of thieves who stole from the Broadway Plaza Nordstrom last night are considering similar activity later today,’ the Walnut Creek Police Department tweeted Sunday night.
‘This has not been confirmed, but out of an abundance of caution, we’re alerting businesses and residents to be prepared … some stores may consider closing early or taking other precautions.
‘There is no specific time or target known right now,’ the police department noted.
Eighty looters ransacked a Nordstrom store in the area on Saturday night, injuring at least three employees in a raid that lasted less than a minute.
The large group, wearing ski masks and carrying crowbars, rushed the Walnut Creek store, stole an undetermined amount of merchandise and fled in their vehicles.
During the theft, two Nordstrom workers were punched and kicked, while another was sprayed with pepper spray. All three individuals were treated for their injuries on scene.
Walnut Creek police have arrested three people in connection to the incident and they are facing various charges including robbery, conspiracy, burglary, possession of stolen property and a weapons charge.
Officials have declared the robbery was ‘organized retail theft.’
Dozens of officers responded to the scene around 9pm after Walnut Creek police received reports that approximately 80 people had run into the Nordstrom store and began looting and smashing shelves.
NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez, who witnessed the raid, shared several videos of the incident on Twitter.
She said approximately 25 cars were blocking the street as the gang of thieves stormed the store, some brandishing weapons.
Video shows the looters running down the street with bags and boxes holding presumed stolen goods before entering their getaway vehicles.
‘There was a mob of people,’ Brett Barrett, who works at a nearby P.F. Chang’s restaurant, told CBS San Francisco. ‘The police were flying in. It was like a scene out of a movie. It was insane.’
He continued: ‘I had to start locking the front door. Locking the back door. You never know, they could come right in here. It was crazy…All the guests inside were getting concerned. It was a scary scene for a moment.’
Although most of the raiders managed to flee, police managed to arrest at least two of the suspected looters. Video even shows an officer pointing their gun at one of the drivers.
Walnut Creek Lt. Ryan Hibbs told said his officers stopped one vehicle, recovered stolen property and arrested the man and woman occupying the automobile.
The man was charged with robbery, possession of stolen property, conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglary tools.
Police also arrested a man who fled on foot. He was charged with robbery, possession of stolen property, conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglary tools.
They have since identified the suspects as Dana Dawson, 30, of San Francisco, who also faced gun charges; Joshua Underwood, 32, of San Francisco; and Rodney Robinson, 18, of Oakland.
On Friday, the Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco’s Union Square was also targeted and ransacked by a group of more than a dozen thieves.
Police responded to the store shortly after 8pm Friday where they ‘observed several suspects involved in criminal acts.’
Witnesses recorded video of masked thieves running through the streets with their hands full of clothing items and bags.
Law enforcement officers are seen chasing after a thief to their parked getaway car and bashing in the windows with batons, dragging the culprit out of the car and restraining them on the sidewalk.
Footage also showed the decimated storefront with shattered glass all over the sidewalk and totally empty shelves.
Police confirmed they had arrested multiple suspects and that the Louis Vuitton store may have not been the only one targeted.
They were able to recover thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, the police chief said in a news conference the next day.
Police are now working to determine whether the three thefts over the weekend are connected, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Sunday’s incident in Hayward happened in Alameda County, while the Walnut Creek ransacking took place in Contra Costa County, and San Jose’s Lululemon incident happened within Santa Clara County.
It is unclear whether the brazen robbers involved in these thefts will face charges, as California’s Proposition 47, passed by voters in 2014 made some ‘non-violent’ property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.
The suspects involved in these robberies, however, seemed to have conspired to commit them, and under California law, ‘If two or more person’s conspire to cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal’ they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.
Oakland Councilman Loren Taylor said the brazen thefts over the past few days qualify as ‘organized crime,’ telling KPIX on Sunday: ‘This is criminal activity.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the District Attorney’s Offices in Alameda County, Santa Clara County and San Francisco County for comment.
But it is San Francisco County – and the city’s notoriously woke District Attorney Chesa Boudin – which has become infamous for similar thefts that have plagued the area.
Boudin, a radical progressive, backed calls to defund the police in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. But he will now face a 2022 recall election amid fury among locals of famously liberal San Francisco at soaring crime many blame on his soft policies.
Boudin issued a series of tweets backing the Louis Vuitton arrests, but critics of the DA say his words are too little, too late.
Authorities have reported a wave of thefts in the San Francisco Bay Area in recent months, with many citing a law in the city that downgrades charges of property theft less than $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor.
As of October 31, San Francisco police have received reports of 810 burglaries or attempted burglaries this year in the jurisdiction of the Mission District Police station, marking a 13 percent increase from the same time last year.
Businesses throughout the city have reduced their hours or closed entirely because of the uptick in property theft, with Walgreens closing 17 of its 70 San Francisco stores due to the constant shoplifting by thieves who waltz past security guards and sell the items outside the drugstore chain’s doors.
And just recently, a Safeway grocery store said it was scaling back its round-the-clock service to just 6am to 9pm, citing rampant shoplifting as the reason. San Francisco Mayor London Breed has also been condemned over her handling of soaring crime in the city.
‘The mayor and her entire team should resign,’ John Chachas, whose family owns Gump’s on Post Street in Union Square told the Chronicle as his store reeled from the aftermath of the nearby shoplifting on Friday night.
‘You can’t really run a retail enterprise if you have to board up the windows five weeks before the critical Christmas selling season,’ he said, noting that he is thinking of relocating his store.
‘The fact that the city can’t maintain sufficient order that businesses can operate [in] without fear of being damaged,’ Chachas said leaves him to believe that city officials have ‘no understanding of how an orderly city is necessary for commerce to function.
‘We can’t operate a business,’ he said. ‘So we will evaluate our options to be elsewhere unless this nonsense ends.
Many locals of the famously liberal City by the Bay blame woke San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin for the increase in thefts, with shocking anecdotal evidence of serious and often avoidable crime committed on his watch.
Boudin’s office has only been charging people of theft in 46 percent of all cases since taking office. In comparison, his predecessor George Gascon made such charges in 62 percent of all cases in 2018 and 2019, according to city data.
Boudin has an even lower rate in petty crime and has only made charges in 35 percent of all cases, compared to Gascon’s 58 percent.
Boudin has also convicted far less people of both crimes than Gascon, only convicting thieves in 79 percent of thefts and 62 percent of petty thefts. Gascon has an 82 percent conviction rate for theft and a 77 percent conviction rate for petty theft.
Overall, Boudin has charged people with crimes in 48 percent of all reported cases, while Gascon has a charging rate of 54 percent.
Originally posted here