SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A San Francisco cannabis dispensary lost approximately $100,000 worth of inventory after thieves broke into the store last week, its owner told KRON4. The burglary happened after 2:00 a.m. Wednesday and security footage shows that the perpetrators conducted a professional-looking operation.
Duncan Ley got a phone call from his security system at 2:13 a.m. on Jan. 11 that his store, California Street Cannabis Co, had been broken into. He immediately contacted the San Francisco Police Department, but by the time officers arrived, the thieves had made off with their loot.
He said the thieves targeted his product, mostly going after flower but taking vape cartridges and edibles as well. Ley says they also made attempts at stealing the store’s ATM and safe but were unable to do successfully.
Security footage shared with KRON4 shows three vehicles pulling up in front of the shop. The suspects used a bolt cutter to get through the exterior gate and a crowbar to pry open the door. Less than four minutes after arriving, they were inside the store.
“Looked like professional criminals with perhaps a military background,” Ley said.
Video from inside the store shows the suspects, six in total, entering the store and pillaging its product. They took items that were behind glass cases and on shelves, rapidly piling product into bins and garbage bags. The video below shows the shelves fully stocked before the thieves broke in and cleared out by the time they were done.
The suspects filtered in and out of the store as they grabbed product and put it back in their vehicles. While the burglary was in progress, security footage from outside the store shows cars and pedestrians passing by.
“It took them 7 minutes or so to get into the front,” Ley said. “Unfortunately, no neighbors notified the police before I got the notice. Which is a bummer because it was pretty darn loud and there’s a bunch of residential units around the place.”
One suspect kicked in the door to the store’s back office and ransacked it. Videos show one suspect attempting multiple times to wrench the dispensary’s ATM from the wall, but he was unable to.
The suspects were all clad in masks and wearing gray or black hooded sweatshirts and sneakers. Ley described their clothes as designer streetwear – one suspect was wearing a sweatshirt from the popular brand VLONE.
Ley is hoping the public can identify the suspects. Anyone who can is asked to contact SFPD.
Security footage with timestamps shows that the suspects first started prying open the gate at 2:07 p.m. They were inside the store at about 2:13 a.m. and they sped off by 2:20 a.m.
Ley says he got a phone call from his security system at 2:13 a.m., and SFPD was notified one minute later. Officers showed up at the store at 2:27 a.m., according to Ley. However, a statement sent from SFPD to KRON4 says that the officers were sent to the scene at 2:20 a.m. Both parties agree that everyone was gone by the time officers arrived.
California Street Cannabis Co is located at 235 Clement Street. SFPD’s Richmond Station is located at 461 6th Avenue, roughly four blocks away. Ley is unhappy with how long it took officers to arrive.
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“Three-and-a-half blocks away and 12 minutes to respond… It seems to me like they don’t want the fight,” Ley said.
When asked about the response time, SFPD explained that police calls are assigned a priority rating of A, B or C based on the nature of the incident, with A being the most important and C being the least. Police did not say which grade was given to the call at California Street Cannabis Co. SFPD did add that officers sometimes come from other incidents and not the district police station.
Wednesday’s burglary was the first time that this location of his store has been hit. However, Ley says at least five other dispensaries in San Francisco and Santa Rosa have fallen victim to a burglary in recent days.
It is part of what he says is a problem for dispensaries and other businesses across the Bay Area. Dispensaries are a cash-heavy business, as there is a fee for a person to buy cannabis with a debit card. This makes them a target.
Ley says he had a meeting with SFPD’s Richmond Station, but he recognizes there is no way to completely avoid it.
“All we can do is design our system to bend or slow down our perpetrators,” he said.