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Shocking video shows 9 escaping after brazen theft at luxury store


By Cheri Mossburg, Stella Chan and Eric Levenson, CNN

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is trying to identify a group of robbery suspects caught on video brazenly taking handbags from a high-end department store on Monday evening.

In video taken by a witness and obtained by CNN affiliate KGO, about 10 suspects — wearing face coverings and hooded sweatshirts — run out of the front door of the San Francisco Neiman Marcus store carrying handbags, some with the security cables still attached.

The video shows the suspects run off screen, and three vehicles then speed off down the street.

SFPD confirmed the incident in a statement, saying no suspect has been arrested yet.

“Officers arrived on scene and met with the victim who stated that multiple suspects entered the store, grabbed merchandise and fled the scene in multiple vehicles,” according to a statement from the SFPD.

The theft comes amid concerns about ongoing retail crime in San Francisco, particularly at chain drug stores like CVS and Walgreens. A suspect in a particularly brazen theft at a Walgreens last month, also caught on video, was later arrested and charged with carrying out a spree of such crimes. And last week, Target moved to close five San Francisco stores early due to thefts and shoplifting, KGO reported.

“For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores, similar to reports from other retailers in the area,” a Target spokesperson said in an email. “Target is engaging local law enforcement, elected officials and community partners to address our concerns.”

Still, despite these high-profile incidents, SFPD crime data shows declining incidents of property crime in the city so far this year. As of July 4, larceny theft is down 8.8% this year compared to the same point last year. In the same time period, robbery is down 11.9%, yet burglary is up 4.2%. In 2020, larceny theft was down 39% year-over-year, according to SFPD crime stats.

Authorities have previously portrayed these high-profile retail thefts as organized crimes rather than spur-of-the-moment incidents. Last October, for example, five people were arrested for allegedly buying stolen goods and reselling them in an investigation that seized and recovered about $8 million in stolen merchandise from retailers across the region, according to the California Attorney General’s Office.

In particular, the theft at the Nieman Marcus is altogether similar to an incident in May, in which a group ran into the Stanford Shopping Center Neiman Marcus and absconded with more than $150,000 worth of handbags, according to the Palo Alto Police Department.

“The investigation revealed that ten unarmed suspects (five male and five female) entered the open store and grabbed 43 handbags, some of which they physically ripped off security cables (causing some glass in display cabinets to shatter),” police said in a press release. “They exited the store and fled in three vehicles prior to police arrival. Police believe at least two additional suspects were acting as getaway drivers but did not enter the store.”

Neiman Marcus has not responded to a request for comment.

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