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San Francisco stores boarded up for Christmas amid mass looting sprees

Recent photos have shown stores in San Francisco boarded up with a strong police presence ahead of Black Friday.

A rise in theft and smash-and-grab robberies hit California’s Bay Area this November, from luxury stores in San Francisco’s Union Square to family businesses in Chinatown. Approximately 80 people raided this Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, stealing merchandise in under one minute, a police spokesperson said. Three employees were kicked, punched, or pepper-sprayed, the spokesperson added.

In the same week, Union Square in San Francisco also so several smash-and-grab robberies. A group of thieves targeted a Louis Vuitton store, District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement. Over $1 million of merchandise was stolen during the Union Square robberies, prosecutors said. Nine arrests have been made so far, according to the District Attorney’s website.

Local business owners and employees told reporters that they want officials to do more to combat organized retail theft. San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) said the robberies are “detrimental to our city,” promising security changes to Union Square.

Earlier that month, a small business owner in Chinatown had $250,000 worth of jewelry stolen from her store in a smash-and-grab robbery. She told the SF Chronicle that her insurance won’t cover the loss, adding that she’s not sure if she can afford to keep the store open.

“What happens when people vandalize and commit those levels of crimes in San Francisco, we not only lose those businesses, we lose those jobs,” Mayor Breed said. “We lose that tax revenue that helps to support our economy that helps to support many of the social service programs that we have in the city in the first place.”

Pictures of the boarded-up stores have gone viral on social media platforms. “This is what downtown San Francisco looks like rn,” one user tweeted alongside photos of the city’s homeless encampments. “If you’re feeling sorry for ZARA and Burberry shoppers, you’re missing the point.”

Both police and private security guards stood watch at several stores in Union Square. “We will flood this area with police officers for the foreseeable future,” SFPD Chief Bill Scott said at a press conference. “We will do what we need to do to put an end to this madness.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: SF CHRONICLE

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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