5 more San Francisco Walgreens to close; SF Supervisor says it's directly related to retail theft

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
5 more SF Walgreens stores are closing amid rampant retail theft
Five more San Francisco Walgreens stores are getting ready to close in November because of organized retail theft.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Neighborhoods across San Francisco will soon be dealt another blow as five more Walgreens get ready to close in November because of organized retail theft.

  • Ocean Avenue near Stonestown
  • Clement Street in the Richmond District
  • Cesar Chavez Street in the Mission District
  • Mission Street in the Excelsior
  • Gough Street in Hayes Valley, the store where ABC7 news reporter Lyanne Melendez shot video of a shoplifter over the summer, that went viral.

VIDEO: Thief steals garbage bag full of items from SF Walgreens with security filming in plain sight

Cell phone video taken Monday shows some of the brazen crime that has been driving retailers out of San Francisco.

On Tuesday evening, the Walgreens on Mission in the Excelsior was very busy, with many people standing in line for prescriptions. The closure is especially difficult for the elderly community.

"Quite a few medications I have," explained Francisco Ortiz, who lives near the Walgreens and says it will be difficult for him to get his prescriptions at another pharmacy. "It makes me in a way mad and upset and sad."

"I rely on this Walgreens because they are close to my house," said Wilma Garcia Deguno, who's been shopping at the Walgreens since 1971.

She's 85 and no longer drives, but the Mission Street store is walking distance from her house. "I feel so bad that I cried when somebody told me that Walgreens is closing and I said I can not do anything."

RELATED: SF Walgreens stores average 4x more thefts than rest of country, company says

Deguno demonstrated how she sees thieves pulling items of shelves in the store.

As a result, she says, "they're just losing money."

"This is a really bad day for San Francisco," said San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai, who added, "we need to turn this around."

RELATED: Suspect from viral SF Walgreens heist video to face 15 charges, San Francisco DA says

Safai has prioritized organized retail theft. An on duty SFPD officer is now stationed at the Excelsior store, where Safai's mother also shops, but he says there aren't enough cops to go around. So, he's introduced legislation that would allow Sheriffs deputies to contract with businesses for overtime work at no cost to the city.

"We're doing this as a way to be preventative. We have no intention of wanting to go back to the times of over incarceration, but there needs to be more presence in the city as a major deterrent."

On Tuesday, Mayor London Breed also addressed the need for improved security. "We want to make sure that they're doing a better job strategically around their security systems to ensure these crimes don't continue to happen."

Because of rampant retail theft, Walgreens and Target stores have closed throughout San Francisco in recent years.