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Organized Theft Rings Force Closures of 5 Walgreens in San Francisco

'This closure will significantly impact this community...'

Citing “organized retail crime,” and lax penalties for criminals, Walgreens has announced the closures of five more retail locations in the San Francisco Bay area according to the New York Post.

“San Fran shoplifters have been emboldened by a referendum that lowered the penalty for stealing goods worth less than $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor, cops and prosecutors have said,” said the Post.

A Walgreens spokesman said that, despite adding extra security, retail theft has continued to climb.

“Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average” despite large increases in security, Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso said, according to ABCNews.

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Organized crime theft rings are responsible for much of the increase said law enforcement officials according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Viral videos have featured criminals engaged in “grab-and-go” crime in San Francisco, brazenly ignoring security guards and stealing wholesale by dumping items in a bag and breezing out with no attempt at concealment.

The Chronicle reports that 22 Walgreens stores have closed in the last five years.

“I am completely devastated by this news,” said Ahsha Safai, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

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“This Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for seniors, families and children for decades,” Safai continued. “This closure will significantly impact this community.”

The New York Post said that drugstores in New York City are also falling victim of a crime spree that has shelves bare, in part because items have been stolen.

Law enforcement officials in the Big Apple similarly blame the lax policies created by criminal justice reform measures.

“Police Commissioner Dermot Shea has blamed the shoplifting surge on the state’s ‘disastrous bail reform law.,’” says the Post.

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