SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The holiday shopping season has been shattered by the recent robberies in San Francisco’s Union Square and at other retailers across the Bay Area, leaving some shoppers in SF worried about getting caught up in the mayhem of another flash mob smash-and-grab.
Local leaders across the Bay are scrambling to find security solutions.
Just days before Black Friday would normally be a time for Bay Area residents to visit San Francisco to shop and spread a little holiday cheer. The crime spree that erupted last week has left some feeling otherwise.
“That was scary,” said one shopper who KPIX spoke with Tuesday.
“It’s sad. It’s scary. It’s disappointing,” agreed San Francisco resident Stephanie Yarborough, who lives in Union Square.
People who live, work or shop in the neighborhood say some of their cheer has been stolen, much like the merchandise taken from the Louis Vuitton store targeted in Union Square as other Bay Area retailers hit during the recent incidents that found thieves storming into stores in Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Hayward and San Jose.
“I wish they would stop and that people would love and respect one another,” said a visiting shopper.
During the morning hours in Union Square Tuesday, KPIX cameras spotted several windows boarded up as clouds of concern hang over shoppers and businesses. There has been a pronounced increase in police presence in the area since the Friday robbery as well, with an SFPD command center and multiple units either parked or patrolling through the neighborhood.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin told KPIX during an interview Monday there are at least 25 more people involved in these mob-style robberies who are still on the streets.
On Tuesday, his office is awaiting more arrests by police. Boudin is set to announce felony charges for those who were taken into custody Friday at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Yarbrough said her shopping routine likely won’t change.
“I’m still going to go into stores and browsing and all of the things I would normally do. But I think it’s just a bummer,” she said.
As city and police officials do what they can to curb this recent spate of crime, one woman KPIX spoke with said it starts at home.
“Well, if we all work together and talk to our kids and tell them to stop, and people would teach their kids how to act, it’d be better,” she said.