San Francisco family-owned hardware store has lost a staggering $700,000 in a single year to ‘organized shoplifting’

A San Francisco family-owned hardware store has lost a staggering $700,000 in a single year to ‘organized shoplifting’ as the city continues to battle rampant crime.

Dale Hardware’s owner Kyle Smith described the helpless situation in Fremont – and said his grandfather, who founded the shop in 1955, would ‘roll in his grave’ if he knew about the unbridled shoplifting.

The uncontrolled looting in San Francisco has occurred for a number of reasons – including the accelerating organized retail theft and increased homelessness.

Widespread drug addiction and the move away from incarceration for less-serious crimes are also contributing factors, according to experts.

Smith told the San Jose Mercury News: ‘You’ll go, “Sir, sir, sir!” and they don’t even turn around. Or they’ll give you a look, like, “Do you want to go there?”

‘How do we run a small business with $1,800 of loss every day? It ends up costing the consumer more money because we can’t survive without raising prices.’

Surveillance footage from different days in 2022 showed a number of people brazenly walking out of the store holding stolen tools. Some are concealed in bags, but others are just carried out in the open.

People pinpointed in the clips have individually stolen as much as $2,800 worth of supplies without being stopped by staff.

In another instance, a man shoved stolen gloves from the shelves down his pants before walking out of the shop unscathed.  He also took 37 circular saw blades from the store.

Another situation saw a pair load a flatbed cart with $11,000 in specialty wire.

One of their accomplices stood at the door posing as a customer – warning employees to stop pursuing because ‘those guys have guns.’

They walked away with all the gear.

And one woman, pushing a double stroller with a blanket and teddies draped over it, hid $4,000 worth of batteries she had grabbed from the store in less than four minutes.

The large store hires dozens of employees and has installed many cameras and license-plate readers in the parking lot in a bid to stop the looting – but to no avail.

Heavy chains now adorn most of the expensive merchandise in Smith’s store.

In 2021, Rachel Michelin, the president of the California Retailers’ Association, said San Francisco and Oakland areas suffered the second-highest amount of losses to organized retail crime in the country.

The two areas have lost around $3.6 billion to shoplifting.

But that was before the recent spike in crime that has impacted the bay area and the rest of the nation.

The National Retail Federation said that the scourge – which grew worse during the pandemic – cost the industry almost $100billion in 2022.

Fellow Bay Area shop owner Sam Kalil told the Mercury News that his two San Jose Shops selling jeans are targeted by many who steal.

‘I stopped calling police. Shoplifting, they don’t even bother to show up anymore,” Kalil he told the outlet.

Kalil said he has been for 30 years and seen a surge in shoplifting since the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that he loses $1,000 to $3,000 a month in stolen goods at each store.

Earlier this month, it was reported theft had become so bad in San Francisco that some stores were padlocking shut their freezers and tying metal chains to ensure the doors remained closed overnight.

Video shot by one potential shopper at a local Walgreens in the city sees aisle after aisle of products locked away behind Perspex and glass, out of the reach of thieves.

Even lower-value items such as toothpaste and tissues are kept under lock and key, such is the rampant theft that has been occurring in many of the city’s pharmacies and supermarkets.

At one particular location, on 16th Street and Geary Blvd, the freezer doors are entirely chained up, with staff concerned thieves will come into the store overnight to empty the contents.

Shop workers have already reported a problem with thieves coming to the store as many as 20 times a day to fill their bags full of products, including items that need to be kept at cool temperatures such as frozen pizza and ice cream.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed told the New York Times that she understood the ‘frustration’ of residents and staff who are unable to get groceries without it being an ‘eventful experience’.

But the Dem leader then admitted that ‘no one is able to really do anything’ about the rise in crime and rampant homelessness affecting stores – which has resulted in 46 percent of shops in the city’s downtown Westfield mall closing since 2020.

The mall’s owners later said they were giving up on the shopping center and abandoning the property.

‘You go to a grocery store, and it shouldn’t be an eventful experience. It’s definitely changed,’ she said.

‘You go to the store now and see people constantly walking out with items in their hands, getting into altercations with staff. And no one’s able to really do anything.

‘There’s a level of frustration I know that definitely comes with that. And to deal with that all day, I can understand that employees would say we’ve had enough.’

But despite making excuses for the low-level crimes, Breed said that it is her job to ‘get things done’ – adding ‘no one wants to hear excuses why you can’t.’

Numerous retailers have pulled out of the downtown San Francisco because of the rampant shoplifting and homelessness.

The problem of such wanton theft is not unique to San Francisco; other big cities across the nation, including New York, have also been dealing with the problem over the last few years.

In some cases, it has left pharmacy chains no option but to leave areas completely as the massive thefts hurt the bottom line.

The pictures of chained-up merchandise marks a new low point, with stores risking alienating legitimate loyal customers who can no longer be bothered to go through the rigmarole of having to summon staff simply to grab something off the shelf.

* Article From: The Daily Mail