SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – It’s hard enough on a business when they fall victim to one smash and grab. But what about when they are targeted multiple times?
A Game Stop store in San Francisco’s Mission District was targeted three times in one week.
KRON 4 reports on how police are handling repeat offenders and what one association is doing to take matters into their own hands.
From the glass broken out of a car window, to the smashing of a glass case at a jewelry store, the Bay Area is all too familiar with the crime of a smash and grab.
Officer Robert Rueca says San Francisco Police received a call in the middle of the afternoon on April 3rd of a similar incident at a GameStop in San Francisco’s Mission district.
Officer Robert Rueca said at a press conference, “the victim stated that while they were working they heard the sound of glass breaking in the store. When they went to go look, The victim noticed that several suspects were smashing display cases and stealing items from those cases.”
GameStop says they were hit two more times that same week with flash mob-style thefts, reporting around $5,000 in total losses.
Roberto Hernandez with the Mission Merchant’s Association says it’s a crime that affects workers as much as it does a company. He says, “here at GameStop, one of the employees was actually hit by one of the individuals that walked in and told open up the lock.”
According to Hernandez, several businesses in the Mission are dealing with thieves. He says one of his relatives who worked at this Ross store finally had enough.
“They actually quit because she was in so much fear of daily people walking in and just taking racks and then threatening the employees,” he said.
The San Francisco Police Department was able to identify and arrest two juveniles in connection to the April 3rd theft. They’re still trying to track down more suspects involved.
While Hernandez and others with the Mission Merchant’s Association are organizing a volunteer citizens patrol group.
Hernandez told KRON4, “we know that there is a drug problem, we know that the streets need to be cleaned. We know that this theft that is going on has gotten to a point that it’s out of control.”
Officer Rueca welcomes community involvement that prevents crime but discourages any type of vigilantism.
He states, “if there is something that our neighborhoods and our communities can do without being in harm’s way, we support that.”
GameStop is offering a $500 reward for any information that leads to more arrests in connection to the thefts at their Mission Street store.