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June 15, 2021, 2:00 p.m. EDT

Walgreens shoplifter fills trash bag with stolen goods and bikes out of store

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By Nicole Lyn Pesce

A San Francisco shoplifter filled a trash bag with Walgreens /zigman2/quotes/203410933/composite WBA -2.00% merchandise in front of several shoppers and a security guard on Monday — and then rolled out of the store on a bicycle without anyone stopping him.

Lyanne Melendez, a local reporter for ABC7’s sister station KGO-TV, caught the brazen theft on video, which she posted to Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +0.10% on Monday. 

“This just happened at the @Walgreens on Gough & Fell Streets in San Francisco. #NoConsequences,” she wrote. Melendez tagged Walgreens and the city’s district attorney, Chesa Boudin, in the post, which has been viewed more than two million times on Twitter. 

The 21-second clip shows a man on a bike wearing a blue face mask, jeans and a dark blue jacket filling a black garbage bag with products. A couple of people, including a security guard, film him with their phones and discuss whether to call 911. The shoplifter then swings the bag over the bike’s handlebars, puts his head down, and starts coasting out of the store. The security guard makes an attempt to swat the bag of stolen goods away from him, but the shoplifter manages to push his way out the door and pedal away.

Walgreens was not immediately available for comment.

“That’s when he sort of ran into me with his bicycle,” said Melendez, who was shopping at the Hayes Valley Walgreens on Fell and Gough streets. 

“It’s hard for me as a journalist to say ‘I won’t be involved, I can’t get involved,’ I have to be sort of neutral, but this is also my city,” she told ABC . “I live in this city and I see this constantly. Not only Walgreens, but cars, and my garage door has been broken into twice.”

She told ABC that she has seen three shoplifting sprees at different Walgreens in the Bay Area. “At what point do we say enough is enough, we want our city back?” she asked.

Many of the almost 3,000 people commenting on the video agreed, citing this as the latest example of thefts and criminal activity that they’ve seen around the city. San Francisco is among the cities that have seen a spike in hate crime s this year. 

Related: House passes bill to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans, sending it to Biden

Several others suggested that the witnesses did the correct thing in letting the man go. “The security guard got it all [on] video and no store patron was injured in the process. Win-Win,” wrote one . “This was handled correctly.” 

“We will never achieve world peace if you guys can’t see that Walgreens will lose nothing from this, and that man probably resorted to this because he had no other choice,” added another.  

But it seems Walgreens has been taking a hit, as the retailer has closed 17 stores in San Francisco over the past five years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported . And Walgreens spends 35 times more on security guards at stores in this city compared to other U.S. locations. What’s more, theft at these stores is four times higher than in other stores, per the Chronicle’s reporting. 

“Seventeen Walgreens over the last five years, almost every Gap retail outlet is gone, CVS is under assault,” Ahsha Safai, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, told ABC

Safai held a hearing on organized retail theft last month, and has proposed that the district attorney and the police department coordinate to do more to stop the shoplifting sprees. 

“It might even involve a more aggressive effort when it comes to surveillance cameras, because you see the same individual hitting multiple locations,” said Safai. “Then you can begin to have deeper conversations about bringing multiple charges, or aggregate charges against that individual and really start to break this up.”

/zigman2/quotes/203410933/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 46.54
-0.95 -2.00%
Volume: 5.78M
Aug. 4, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
17.63
Dividend Yield
4.10%
Market Cap
$41.08 billion
Rev. per Employee
$421,562
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/zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 68.70
+0.07 +0.10%
Volume: 7.58M
Aug. 4, 2021 4:04p
P/E Ratio
147.93
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$54.76 billion
Rev. per Employee
$675,700
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