San Francisco's crime situation is so bad that even CNN decided to shine a spotlight on it -- and while they were shooting from the nation's most-robbed Walgreens, a shoplifter casually walked by the reporter and camera with stolen merchandise.
In fact, CNN's Kyung Lah says she and her crew observed three shoplifters in just 30 minutes at a Walgreens in San Francisco's Richmond District, which is bordered by Golden Gate Park and the Presidio. Among the company's 9,000 US stores, that one is robbed the most -- an average of 12 times a day.
“In the 30 minutes we were at this Walgreens we watched three people, including this man, steal,” says Lah, as the accompanying video shows a messy man with stringy hair and a winter jacket walk right out the store with some type of product in his hands. Turning to a cashier, she asks, "Did that guy pay?" The cashier replies with a simple "no." Naturally, CNN protected the thief's identity by blurring his face.
The particular Walgreens featured in the story is the same one that garnered social media buzz earlier this month after installing heavy chains and padlocks across the frozen food coolers.
NEW: The Walgreens at 16th/Geary in San Francisco has chained up the freezer section ⛓️— Betty Yu (@bett_yu) July 18, 2023
Workers said normally shoplifters clean out all the pizza and ice cream every night. They’re usually hit 20x a day. The whole store is virtually locked up. @KPIXtv
h/t @greenbergnation pic.twitter.com/lfFWmkLWdo
Lah reports that store workers, fed up with being ripped off a dozen times daily, installed the highly conspicuous chains and padlocks on their own initiative. However, after the imagery was widely shared across social and traditional media, Walgreen's corporate leadership ordered the locks removed, apparently fearing the visuals would damage the company's brand more than they would underscore the increasingly desperate situation for retailers in San Francisco and other crime-plagued cities.
While the unsightly hardware is gone, an astonishing proportion of the store's products are behind locked plexiglass, from mustard to maple syrup to cough medicine. At another retailer, CNN showed frozen foods under cable locks, while the purchase of products like fake eyelashes and lotion also requires asking an employee for help.
In San Francisco, we went to the Walgreens that is the #1 spot for theft in all the 9000 US stores, per Walgreens. This is where chains once shut the freezer section. And we saw 3 thefts right in front of us. But across SF, coffee, mustard, nail polish-- are all locked up: pic.twitter.com/IfYBVgpeI2— Kyung Lah (@KyungLahCNN) July 25, 2023
CNN's Lah also observed ground coffee under lock and key. Asked for his perspective, a clueless customer told her, "I don't understand why coffee [would be locked up.] It's become kind of like a police state in San Francisco." Of course, any rational observer would realize the locked-up coffee demonstrates San Francisco has become the opposite of a "police state," as criminals steal property with utter impunity.
California's Prop 47 chummed the waters for shoplifters by making thefts of up to $950 of merchandise a misdemeanor. Now, Sacramento legislators are working hard to make things even worse: Last month, the state senate passed a bill that would make it illegal for store employees to confront thieves.
Hell-bent on wealth redistribution, it seems California's Marxist rulers are as happy to enable it by individual, criminal acts as they are via government programs.