SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- The latest smash-and-grab heist targeting a high-end retail store in San Francisco's Union Square has locals calling for action from authorities.
Neiman Marcus is one of the pillars of luxury shopping in San Francisco's Union Square. Cell phone video of the robbery at the store early Monday evening showed the brazen pack of criminals fleeing the show with armfuls of expensive merchandise.
Ten suspects are seen in the clip, but all were masked and unidentifiable. Carrying several expensive handbags each, the thieves jump into multiple getaway cars and speed off.
Photos and video provided by Instagram user SFStreets415 showed the damage that was left behind with handbags strewn on the ground, shelves emptied and glass display cases shattered.
"The only way to stop them is by holding these people accountable and keeping them from further committing these crimes," said SFPD spokesperson Robert Reuca.
But not holding people accountable may be why it's happening. Some point a finger of blame at San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who has been open about his reluctance to prosecute people for retail theft.
The shoplifting problem has gotten so bad that Walgreens has announced it is closing 13 stores in the city. Target stores in San Francisco have begun closing early at 6 p.m. due to increased shoplifting at certain locations.
Investigators believe the Neiman Marcus robbery was part of an organized crime operation that can sell the stolen items both domestically and internationally. On Tuesday, Supervisor Ahsha Safai said the Board has sent Boudin a letter of inquiry asking what coordinated strategy he may have to stop the thefts.
"This is not crimes of opportunity," said Safai. "We're not asking him to charge someone that's down and out. We're asking him to target people that are recruited by these organized crime outlets. So we're going to see what happens in the next week and what his response is."
A statement from the DA's office said they want to focus on the criminal networks that fence the stolen goods. Meanwhile, the response from the public is one of disgust.
Resident Robert LaCome has lived in SF for 71 years. He told KPIX he has never seen it as lawless as it is now.
"It's hurting the city," he said. "I mean, your tourism…who'd want to come to a filthy city?"
Police say they're investigating the mass shoplifting, but it's unclear what punishment the suspects would even face if caught. That uncertainty may be encouraging the crimes.
"Somebody's not doing their job," said LaCome. "What is the job? Enforce the law. Then enforce it! Whatever it takes!"
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