SF merchants worried over recent robberies


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On Thursday, merchants packed a hotel room to hear from San Francisco Police.

"She attacks the salesperson. She's joined by her two accomplishes and they're dragging the other salesperson," said Sgt. Shaughn Ryan from SFPD Robbery Detail.

The most violent incident happened late last month when three people with guns robbed the Judith Ripka jewelry store on Geary.

A gunman robbed Mrs. Field's cookie store on Sutter Street two weeks ago. The nearby Aerosoles store was also hit by a gunman who made off with $1,000.

And merchants weren't only concerned with armed robberies. They've been hit by vandals, like the ones who smashed more than a dozen storefront windows after a recent protest.

"This is a very important neighborhood for San Francisco. The success of these merchants reflect and help the city," said John Brown from 5th and Mission garage.

Brown was one of more than 100 members of the Union Square Association who met in closed session with police at the Westin St. Francis Hotel.

ABC7 was allowed inside after the meeting.

The group's Executive Director Linda Mjellem wants to set up a more effective business watch program.

"We have a small one in the area but i think it involves expanding it to include the entire area we serve," said Mjellem.

Police want merchants to be vigilant of robbers casing their stores.

"We want people to become aware this is behavior that can be observed before the actual crime," said Capt. James Dudley from the SFPD Central Police Station.

Merchants want these high profile crimes to stop before the summer tourist season begins. They say Union Square is a safe place and they don't want that reputation tarnished.

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