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San Francisco District Attorney Charges Nine Victims of Wave of Shoplifting

Dist. of San Francisco. Atty. Chesa Boudin said on Tuesday he had charged nine people with crimes in a series of shoplifting incidents, including a mass crush at luxury stores in Union Square.

At least 40 thieves reportedly broke into a Louis Vuitton store on Friday, seizing everything they could before loading it into a series of cars parked in front of the sidewalk. The shoplifting trailer made its way into upscale San Francisco boutiques, creating a scene of chaos while stealing more than a million dollars in merchandise.

Boudin said two of the nine people were charged with possession of firearms in Friday’s incident. He said the nine people were facing charges of robbery, commercial burglary and possession of stolen property at the criminal level.

“This is not theft. This is not criminal behavior. It is a criminal act, ”said Boudin. “We are accusing crimes today.”

The district attorney said he would ask the court to keep two of those indicted behind bars due to the nature of their alleged crimes.

The Liberal prosecutor faces a recall election in June over what his critics say is a lenient approach to criminals.

The district attorney’s office said five people were arrested in connection with the Louis Vuitton store incident, three for burglary of a cannabis dispensary and one for burglary of a Walgreens.

Francill White, Tomiko Lamar Miller, Kimberly Cherry and Ivan Speed ​​are each charged in the Louis Vuitton incident with criminal looting during a state of emergency, second degree commercial burglary, robbery and receiving stolen property . Jamisi Callaway, who was a passenger in one of Union Square’s getaway cars, faces a slew of firearms charges including possession of a firearm with a previous felony, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a concealed firearm and the offense of resisting arrest.

As part of the clinic break-in, Raymond Phillips, Edward James Jr. and Michael Ray face charges of looting, commercial burglary, possession of stolen goods and the offense of resisting arrest.

Daron Wilson, arrested for the robbery of the Walgreens, is charged with looting, commercial burglary, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a concealed firearm and the offense of resisting arrest.

San Francisco Deputy Police Chief Mike Redmond, appearing with Boudin, announced that additional uniformed officers will be deployed to shopping areas and a traffic plan will be put in place “to keep cars out. in the area if we see things accelerating in the city center “.

Redmond said he expects many more arrests in Union Square shoplifting incidents and said the series of mob scams around the Bay Area that started in San Francisco could be linked.

“We think a lot of the same groups are involved,” he said.

Several stores in and around Market Street have closed, leaving nothing to chance in the coming days.

In the California crime wave that began Friday night, criminals have also targeted Burberry and Hermes stores, as well as an eyewear store and cannabis dispensaries.

In a Saturday night raid of a Nordstrom near Walnut Creek just before closing time, some 80 people jumped out of a bundle of cars, flash-mob style, and swarmed the driveways, many of them escaping with the merchandise. Two employees were assaulted, one of whom was sprayed with pepper.

Then, shortly after midnight Sunday, criminals used a sledgehammer to smash the windows of a Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills, police said, but patrol cars arrived to scare off thieves before they could. they cannot enter.

The chaos continued later Sunday with targeted stores in the East Bay and San Jose. On Monday night, a group attempted to break into Nordstrom at the Grove Mall in Los Angeles before leading police in a high-speed chase. Los Angeles agents arrested three people on suspicion of theft.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said in an interview on Tuesday, “We are going to do everything we can to stop this madness.” But, he added, “we don’t have to shut down Union Square.”

Instead, he said, his agents will prevent people from stopping outside stores like Louis Vuitton. “At these places, people would park right outside, then run into the store, grabbing what they could and hopping into their vehicles. We are going to disrupt this.

Scott said he is also placing enough officers in those areas to prevent a crowd of 40 or 50 from overwhelming the security of the store, as happened last week.

The chief said his investigators had hours of security footage; he expects many suspects still at large to be apprehended. “There is no doubt in my mind that it was expected – the number of affected stores nearby,” he said.

Governor Gavin Newsom described the incidents as “people crushing and grabbing, stealing things from people, creating havoc, terror in the streets”. Newsom said he is not speaking just as a governor, but as a business owner.

“My business has been robbed three times this year,” said Newsom, who owns a hotel business that includes wine merchants and restaurants. “I have no empathy, no sympathy for these people, and they need to be held accountable.”

Newsom said a state task force conducted 773 investigations and recovered nearly $ 20 million in stolen goods. He added that the California Highway Patrol would immediately increase its presence “in and around high traffic areas” as the holiday shopping season peaks.

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