Walgreens is closing more stores in San Francisco due to organized retail theft in the city.
The retailer made the announcement on Tuesday, saying five stores will close next month, SFGATE reported.
“Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average,” Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told the news outlet, noting that theft has increased despite increased security.
Ahsha Safai, who is a supervisor for Walgreens in San Francisco, said that the closure of the Mission Street location is devastating, according to SFGATE.
“[It] has been a staple for seniors, families and children for decades,” he said.
“This is a sad day for San Francisco,” Safai added. “We can’t continue to let these anchor institutions close that so many people rely on.”
Walgreens has reportedly closed nearly 10 stores in San Francisco since 2019. The drug store chain closed one location in the city last year that lost nearly $1,000 a day to theft.
Widely circulated video and images of shoplifting has highlighted the problem, according to The Associated Press.
A masked man was caught on video shoplifting from a local Walgreens in June. He reportedly packed items into a trash bag and left the store on a bicycle. A suspect was later caught.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) and Police Chief Bill Scott announced last month that the city planned to create a system that makes it easier to report shoplifters and that more police would be dedicated to the problem, the AP reported.
“We care about criminal justice reform. We care about second chances. We care about making sure that people are not wrongly accused,” Breed said at the time. “But don’t take our kindness for weakness, our compassion for weakness.