GameStop victim of repeated mob-style thefts; community calls it a crisis in the Mission

Thieves have struck at one GameStop store in San Francisco three times in a matter of days.

Workers described the thefts as smash and grab and flash-mob style robberies. GameStop is asking for the public's help in catching those responsible.

The store is located in the Mission neighborhood. A manager said the first time was last Sunday.

It was a smash and grab followed by flash mob style robberies on Wednesday and Friday.

All took place during daylight hours with employees working. KTVU was told one employee quit over safety concerns. 

"It's out of control, and we're in a crisis here in the Mission District," said Roberto Hernandez with the Mission Merchants Association.

He said GameStop is not alone. Theft is rampant.

He said the Safeway and Ross stores on 16th Street repeatedly targeted.

An employee at Ross said the store closes early now because of theft.

"Ross store, they literally go in and take a whole rack of clothes and just walk out the store like nothing," said Hernandez.

 At GameStop, a manager says $5,000 worth of merchandise including video game consoles, headsets and accessories were stolen.

A suspect assaulted an employee to gain entrance to the stockroom.

"These are shocking shows of brazenness by these suspects," San Francisco Police Officer Robert Rueca said so far, two juveniles have been arrested. 

GameStop said up to eight more suspects are still at large.

Police advised workers not to fight back.

"If you find yourselves in the situation where you're a victim of theft, comply," said Officer Rueca.

There is now a security guard at the GameStop store. It is offering $500 for information that leads to the arrest of each suspect.

"All the employees who work at the stores are people who live in this neighborhood. And they're living in fear every time someone walks into a store and does that. And  don't you dare tell them anything because they'll threaten to kill you," said Hernandez.

"Some of the people doing this are juveniles who are in poverty and really in need of help. Taking care of that and keeping in mind the root causes are also really important," said Megan Mercurio who lives in the Mission neighborhood. 

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Hernandez said city leaders need to put extra police in the Mission, the same way they did in response to the looting at Union Square.

"We're living in a zone that is dangerous," Hernandez said there have been community meetings with police to try to address the problem.

He said the Merchants Association plans to put together a volunteer citizens patrol group.