SF leaders on Union Square looting, vandalism: 'Won't tolerate this kind of behavior'

"We are exploring every single possible criminal charge related to the conduct."

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Sunday, November 21, 2021
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City leaders are responding after smash-and-grab robberies resulted in more than $1 million worth of items being stolen from stores in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After a series of smash-and-grab robberies resulted in more than $1 million worth of items being stolen from stores in San Francisco's Union Square Friday night, city leaders are responding.

"I mean it was absolutely shocking," said District 11 Supervisor, Ahsha Safai.

WATCH: Video shows decimated San Francisco Louis Vuitton store after massive smash-and-grab robbery

Safai tells ABC7 news one of those arrested Friday night, had also been arrested back in March for gun possession.

He says unless those responsible are held to account, organized crime will continue to plague the city.

"We have to ensure there's consequences for this, and we have to send the message that Union Square is safe, that we want to have people come in and shop, and that we won't tolerate this kind of behavior," Safai said.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin says he was outraged by Friday's events, and has a team working with SFPD around the clock.

"We are exploring every single possible criminal charge related to the conduct. We will use every tool in our tool belt," Boudin said.

RELATED: 'Unacceptable': Mayor Breed says changes will be coming to SF after brazen Union Square robbery

But it's not just the immediate losses from Friday night that worries city leaders, they tell me the ripple effects are also potentially alarming.

"If retail frontline workers don't feel safe, if shoppers don't feel safe, stores will ultimately shut down. If stores shut down, we lose sales tax," Safai said.

SF mayor, police chief address looting, vandalism after robbery at Union Square

Safai believes that potentially could have a major impact on the city and hit not just businesses, but also everyday residents.

RELATED: 3 arrested, firearm recovered from Walnut Creek Nordstrom store looting involving 80 people: Police

And while critics say Boudin is soft on crimes like shoplifting, he says in order to see real change, the incentive has to be removed.

"We need to go to the root of the problem. We need to take apart the fencing operations that make it profitable. And we need to make sure that we're not limiting ourselves to what happens alone in San Francisco," Boudin said.