SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Five people are charged with participating in an organized crime ring after they allegedly rushed into a San Francisco Walgreens store with a wagon, and filled it up with stolen merchandise.
On Monday, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the defendants have been charged with numerous felonies in connection to the October 11 burglary.
According to San Francisco police, officers saw a group of eight people rush into the Walgreens at 965 Geneva Avenue. The group was wearing masks, carrying empty bags, and pulling a wagon cart, police said. The group began quickly filling their bags and the wagon with store merchandise.
“They grabbed everything they can get their arms around,” San Francisco Police Department Chief Bill Scott said. SFPD officers were watching.
When officers confronted the “brazen” thieves, a foot pursuit ensued out of the store, prosecutors said. Officers were able to catch up with six suspects and arrest them. The sixth person arrested was a 16 year old boy.
All of the adults accused in the case live in different parts of California: Shalia Brown, 24, of San Francisco, Joshua Davis, 34, of Sacramento, Thomas Henry, 20, of Oakland, Ian Spencer, 54, of Menlo Park, and Khali Arsenauspencer, 18, of South San Francisco.
Inside a courtroom on Friday, Brown, Davis, Henry, Spencer, and Arsenauspencer pleaded not guilty to commercial burglary, attempted grand theft, attempted organized retail theft, and conspiracy.
Henry allegedly committed the Walgreen heist while he was out of jail on his own recognizance, prosecutors said.
In court, prosecutors urged the judge to keep all five in jail pending trial because they pose a public safety risk, the DA’s Office said. But the judge decided to release four of the five defendants on their own recognizance and with a court-ordered electronic ankle monitor.
The court did not set bail for Henry, so he will remain in custody, prosecutors said.
If convicted of all charges, four of the defendants will face up to five years in state prison, while Henry will face a maximum of seven years behind bars.
The city’s top cop had a message for thieves who evaded capture at the Geneva Avenue Walgreens store. “You better be looking above your shoulders, because we’re coming for you,” Scott said.
Jenkins said, “This criminal conduct will not be tolerated and we will seek to ensure there is accountability and consequences in every case.”
Earlier this month, Police Chief Scott revealed an ongoing, citywide enforcement “blitz” combating retail theft. Teams of undercover and uniformed police officers are staking out stores, including in San Francisco Centre, that have been repeatedly victimized by shoplifters. The numerous arrests at Walgreens on October 11 was thanks to one of these blitzes, Scott said.
“Our city will not tolerate criminals ransacking our businesses,” Scott said. “These crimes devastating to our business community and local economy.”