After months of seeing its shelves repeatedly cleaned out by brazen shoplifters, the Walgreens at Van Ness and Eddy in San Francisco is getting ready to close.
“The last day is Nov. 11,” Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said.
The drugstore, which serves many older people who live in the Opera Plaza area, is the seventh Walgreens to close in the city since 2019.
“All of us knew it was coming. Whenever we go in there, they always have problems with shoplifters, ” said longtime customer Sebastian Luke, who lives a block away and is a frequent customer who has been posting photos of the thefts for months. The other day, Luke photographed a man casually clearing a couple of shelves and placing the goods into a backpack.
“I feel sorry for the clerks, they are regularly being verbally assaulted,” Luke said. “The clerks say there is nothing they can do. They say Walgreens’ policy is to not get involved. They don’t want anyone getting injured or getting sued, so the guys just keep coming in and taking whatever they want.”
When a clerk was asked where all the goods had gone, he said, “Go ask the people in the alleys, they have it all.”
Homeless encampments are common in the neighborhood, including two just across Eddy Street.
No sooner had the clerk spoken than a man wearing a virus mask walked in, emptied two shelves of snacks into a bag, then headed back for the door.
As he walked past the checkout line, a customer called out, “Sure you don’t want a drink with that?”
Under California law, theft of less than $950 in goods is treated as a nonviolent misdemeanor.
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