Charges reduced for 2 of 9 San Francisco organized retail theft suspects

Melanie Woodrow Image
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Charges reduced for 2 of 9 SF organized retail theft suspects
Two suspects arrested in connection with the Connected Cannabis burglary have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There are plea deals for two of the nine people arrested in connection with organized retail theft that ravaged San Francisco in November. The District Attorney was adamant the conduct was felony conduct and charged as such, but now two suspects have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.

Many people are familiar with images of thieves burglarizing the Louis Vuitton and other luxury retailers in November, but beyond Union Square there was more crime.

"There were also multiple cannabis dispensaries across the city that were hit around the same time," said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott during a press conference on November 20, 2021.

RELATED: SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin files felony charges for 9 suspects in Union Square robbery

SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced felony charges against the nine people arrested for the organized retail thefts in Union Square.

Connected Cannabis was one of those businesses.

Days later, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced felony charges against nine people including three accused of burglarizing cannabis dispensaries.

RELATED: Videos show scope of Bay Area's weekend of organized retail robberies

"These are not petty thefts, this is not misdemeanor conduct, this is felony conduct," said Boudin on November 23, 2021.

Now, two months later, two suspects arrested in connection with the Connected Cannabis burglary have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.

San Francisco Police Officers Association Vice President Tracy McCray says she isn't surprised.

"It goes to our reputation that you could come here and you know really basically get away with anything," said McCray.

Originally charged with four felonies each:

  • Looting during a state of emergency
  • Second degree commercial burglary
  • Grand theft
  • Receiving stolen property
  • The DA's office now says one suspect, Michael Ray, 27, of San Francisco pleaded guilty to misdemeanor second degree commercial burglary.

    The other suspect, Raynard Jones, 32, of Riverdale, Georgia, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing.

    RELATED: Bay Area district attorneys form alliance to combat organized retail theft

    Bay Area prosecutors across several counties are joining forcing to combat organized retail theft.

    "Which is no different from someone being on your front lawn where there's a no trespassing sign and you telling them to leave and them refusing to," said Brooke Jenkins, a former prosecutor in the San Francisco DA's Office who is now a volunteer with the campaign to recall Chesa Boudin.

    "It is extremely common that cases resolve by way of plea deal," said Jenkins.

    "However, what's unique about this situation is that the D.A. gave a press conference indicating a strong opinion that the conduct was felony conduct," she continued.

    "Which suggests that the D.A.'s Office believed that they had sufficient evidence to support those charges," said Jenkins.

    Back in November when the DA announced the felony charges, some asked if he could guarantee they wouldn't be reduced.

    RELATED: 5 plead guilty in one of largest retail theft busts in CA history, attorney general says

    "My office has some discretion in that matter and judges have discretion as well," said Boudin at the time.

    He encouraged journalists to stay on top of it.

    "If you follow the cases you will see that when people commit crimes in San Francisco, there are consequences," said Boudin in November.

    Though some say, those consequences for at least two people arrested were not strong enough.

    RELATED: Experts caution use of 'looting' in describing rash of Bay Area smash and grabs

    As part of their guilty plea, each will be on probation for a year. Ray served 5 days in county jail while Jones served 10 days in county jail, each with credit for time served. Both are ordered to stay away from Connected Cannabis. Ray was also ordered to pay restitution.

    "This was essentially a slap on the wrist," said Jenkins.

    The San Francisco DA's office confirmed the cases have been settled but has not yet responded to a request for comment.