Vintage collectibles stolen in brazen robbery of San Francisco Mission District store

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Several masked men pulled off a low-tech, high-risk burglary of a large collectibles showcase and retail store in San Francisco's Mission District.

The thieves left a big mess behind as they made off with a lot of valuable stuff.

The well-executed crime was not the job of just one person, but a fairly large group of thieves. Unlike the rash of high profile store robberies where they used cars to break in, these robbers used an old-fashioned tool to break into the store.

The robbery at the Stuff store occurred early at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. Some of the business' 40 security cameras captured the incident.

Four to six thieves all wearing black were involved in the brazen theft. Co-owner James Spinello believes they even hired street people to help them.

"They used people on the streets as lookouts while they did their work," Spinello said. "They came up in their vehicle after someone let them know it was fine to come forward."

The robbers gathered outside the store. One of them used a slingshot to smash the front glass door. Then they all stormed into the store and begin pillaging.

The 1,700 square foot building is rented to some 60 dealers who sell porcelain, jewelry and a wide range of vintage collectibles. Inside, the thieves acted quickly.

They took items off the shelves, displays and countertops. Haiko, who doesn't want his last name used for fear of retaliation, was hard hit.

"The whole shelf was removed that had jewelry and mostly rings and broaches, mostly sterling and little bit of gold," Haiko said.

There have been half a dozen high profile robberies in San Francisco in the past six months where thieves have used their cars as battering rams.

The boldest crash and grab happened at the Wells Fargo Museum in January where thieves drove an SUV into the glass entrance.

Police are looking to see if this latest robbery is linked to the others.

"We don't know if this is a copy-cat, just not using a vehicle but this seems to be the latest trend," San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza said.

So far there have been no arrests in the Wells Fargo robbery as well as the others.
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