Jean Lugo-Romero: San Francisco Walgreens viral shoplifter suspected of viral video arrested in series of thefts
The videotaped shoplifting was a vivid example of what drugstore chains and local officials called the larger and more persistent problem in the city.
Agents from the SFPD North Station Street Crime Unit saw Lugo-Romero enter the store and found him “emptying cosmetics shelves and placing the merchandise in a bag of sport, ”police said. He was arrested without incident. The merchandise was valued at around $ 978, SFPD said.
For Saturday’s incident, Lugo-Romero was held in the San Francisco County Jail for attempted grand theft; entry into business with intent to steal, loss of less than $ 950; possession of drug paraphernalia; and a warrant for failure to appear on a previous theft case, police said.
The theft continued even as three people, including the store security guard, began filming on their cell phones a few feet away. The suspect then put the bag of items on his bicycle and walked over to the guard, who attempted to grab the bag but allowed him to pass. The shoplifter then left the store with the bag on the bike, the video shows. No one was hurt.
For this incident, Lugo-Romero was charged with second degree burglary, robbery, two counts of entering a business with intent to commit theft, loss of less than $ 950 and two counts of theft, according to police.
In addition, he was convicted of three counts of robbery and one count of burglary for incidents that occurred at the same Walgreens on May 29, May 30, May 31 and June 1, police said. He was further charged with entering a business with intent to commit theft, loss of less than $ 950 and petty theft for an incident last Thursday at the business at 400 Haight Street.
Local authorities try to crack down on organized retail crime
Last month, Ahsha Safai, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, held a hearing to discuss the city’s shoplifting problem, and retailers including Walgreens and CVS raised the issue.
“It got out of hand,” Safai said at the hearing. “People are afraid to walk into these stores: the elderly, the disabled, the children. And it is a brazen way. We cannot just, as a city, raise our arms and say that everything is fine. good.”
Authorities have positioned these thefts as organized crimes rather than spontaneous incidents.
“Unfortunately, this is another egregious example of retail theft that is an ongoing problem for many retailers in San Francisco,” Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso said in an email. last week., referring to the flight captured on video.
Yet the vast majority of theft cases go unresolved. SFPD data shows that only 2.8% of these crimes so far this year have been cleared.
CNN’s Stella Chan and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.