SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After a huge retail crime spree in Union Square Friday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and SFPD Chief Bill Scott on Saturday promised changes are coming to the area.
The Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco’s Union Square was just one of nearly a dozen retail stores hit in the brazen smash-and-grab robbery spree. The Burberry store, Bloomingdale’s, the Jins eyeglasses store, Maxferd Jewelry & Loan and Yves Saint Laurent store were all targeted, police said.READ MORE: Santa Clara Shoe Store Ransacked in Late Night Smash-and-Grab Robbery
Mayor Breed held a press conference Saturday afternoon to address the incidents the day before.
“We’re going to making some changes to Union Square and how cars are able to access. There will be limited access in terms of when you come to this area,” Breed said.
Police Chief Scott said the department needs to make it harder for such mass robberies to take place.
“We have to make it difficult for people do to what they did last night. Pull up right next to a business, shatter the windows, wipe out everything they can carry, get right in their cars parked at the curb and leave,” Scott said.
Several stores, including the Louis Vuitton store, were either burglarized and/or vandalized on Friday night. Police have arrested eight people so far, and the chief said on Saturday he expects there will be more arrests to come.
Scott described those arrested as young adults, mostly residents of the Bay Area, some of whom are familiar faces to SFPD.
“It was concerted. There’s no doubt in my mind that this was not unplanned,” he said. “We have hours and hours of video — including our body-worn-camera video to go through. Some of these people who committed these acts are familiar to us. That’s why I’m confident we are going to have more arrests.”READ MORE: COVID Omicron: Rush To Vaccinate In East Bay As New Variant Emerges
Police had already upped their visibility in Union Square for the holiday season. That’s one reason why Union Square Alliance Executive Director Marisa Rodriguez believes more shops weren’t hit.
“They were, luckily, present when all of this happened and they could respond very quickly,” she said. “Were really happy to see such a great response from our police department, and we’d certainly like to see more.”
On Saturday, SFPD upped their visibility even more so than before, with officers seen throughout Union Square. Scott said that will be the norm for the holiday season.
“We will flood this area with police officers for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We will do what we need to do to put an end to this madness.”
Meanwhile, the sound of nonstop drilling filled the air in Union Square Saturday night, as shoppers took in the classic holiday sights. While there won’t be much window shopping this season at many stores, it wasn’t hard to see San Francisco police officers at virtually every corner.
“Actually, it kind of gave me a sense of comfort because they’re obviously being visible. And they want everyone to know that we’re going to be here if something does happen,” said Leslie Wilson of Sacramento.
Many high-end stores in Union Square that were not hit in the chaos Friday night are not taking any chances. For example, we found workers boarding up Dior and Valentino Saturday.
Samantha Prasad of Modesto was visiting Union Square for the first time in many years. When asked whether the latest crime spree would deter her from coming back in the future:MORE NEWS: Lee Elder, 1st Black Golfer To Play Masters, Dies At Age 87
“Yeah, probably. That is kind of scary, just getting caught up into that scene you know, not knowing what to expect or if it’s safe,” she said.