A San Francisco Walgreens was robbed three times while CNN was filming a live segment on Monday.
CNN’s Kyung Lah was visiting the shop to report on the rampant crime when cameras caught a man walking out of the store with several items.
“Did that guy pay?” Lah asked the cashier, who answered that he had not. Lah also noted that she witness two other robberies despite spending just 30 minutes at the store.
“Walgreens says this Richmond neighborhood store, with aisles of products like mustard locked behind plexiglass, has the highest theft rate of all their nearly 9,000 U.S. stores, hit more than a dozen times a day when thieves turned to cleaning out ice cream and frozen burritos, workers grew so frustrated, they resorted to the chains,” Lah said, referring to the long lengths of chain and padlocks set up in the frozen food section. “They were ordered down by corporate because of the negative messaging.”
Lah reported that, at other stores, frozen food, fake eyelashes, lotion, coffee and other items are also behind locked up.
“It’s become kind of like a police state in San Francisco. I don’t know how else to describe it,” resident Richie Greenberg told Lah during the CNN segment.
San Francisco has seen more than 20 retail stores close in the downtown area since 2020, and over 10,000 cases of larceny or theft have been reported in 2023. Other cities have been hit by a spike in crime, with one Walgreens in Chicago renovating the store so that only two aisles of “essentials” where “customers may shop for themselves” are available. Customers who want a “non-essential” item must request it at the counter and wait for authorized personnel to retrieve it.