Closure of another San Francisco Walgreens possibly over shoplifting

Another Walgreens is closing its doors in San Francisco and neighbors said it could be due to rampant shoplifting. 

After months of empty shelves, the Walgreens at Van Ness and Eddy streets will close its doors for good on Nov. 11th.

Customers say the store is known for being notoriously easy to shoplift. 

"I've heard that Walgreens is real easy to peel from," said one shopper. "Because they don't chase you."

And neighbors agree shoplifting has been an ongoing problem at the Walgreens location and may be a major factor in why it will soon be closed.

Customers said the shelves are bare and the company is not even bothering to restock.

 "This store is completely wiped out," said Eric Gusky. " I've watched these guys come in and just grab boxes full of honey buns and walk out. And poor guys inside, they can't do anything about it, you know."

Walgreens announced in August 2019 that it would be closing 200 locations nationwide, and with confirmation that this location will be closing soon San Francisco's Chamber of Commerce says it will leave a hole in the neighborhood economy. 

"They are mini supermarkets based in these neighborhoods and so they provide critical lifelines," said Jay Cheng from the Chamber. "So when one of them moves out we see a ripple effect through the community that's really hard to replace."

Neighboring businesses say they'd like to see more police patrolling the area to crack down on shoplifting.

 San Francisco police released a statement that read: "We are always assessing crime trends and addressing patrol staffing to accommodate for fluctuations in crimes. Northern Station has a regular footbeat assigned to… the lower Van Ness area to deter crime and respond to calls for service.”
Business leaders say the retail sector has been the target of organized retail crime. 

"We've seen the attorney general break up an $8 million crime ring around CVS and Walgreens," said Cheng. "Those are major franchises. So, they can afford to take significant losses. But, if you're a small business and facing that kind of theft and property crime there's no buffer there. That will send you straight over the cliff."

This marks the third Walgreens to close its doors in the city in the last year.

Business leaders say because of their size of those stores there are few retailers who can go in and replace them, so when they close, they often sit vacant for years and act as a drag on the neighborhood.