SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco police are investigating a handbag robbery at a Neiman Marcus store Monday evening.
Authorities said the robbery happened around 5:49 p.m. at the high-end department store located in Union Square.
But by the time officers arrived the suspects were already gone.
Witnesses said the ordeal happened just before the store was about to close. They said the suspects smashed display cases and snatched items from racks before fleeing.
Cell phone video shows the suspects bolting out of the store right behind each other with purses in their arms. It appears the suspects fled in awaiting getaway cars.
There are also photos showing glass displays inside the store, shattered.
Witnesses said they counted at least nine people, both men and women, running away with stolen items.
In a statement, Neiman Marcus said: "The safety and welfare of our associates and customers is our top priority, and we’re relieved to report that no one was harmed in the incident. We’re cooperating with the SFPD in their investigation."
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said that no retailer or its employees should have to suffer from the "brazen, organized theft depicted in this video."
As of Tuesday, police had not yet presented prosecutors with an arrest or identified suspects related to this incident but his office will "immediately review' any arrests police bring make for possible charging.
"Retail thefts are made profitable by criminal networks that fence stolen goods," he said. "To deter retail theft, we must dismantle the criminal networks that profit from it."
He said the DA's office operates a specialized Organized Retail Crime unit that targets the upper echelons of these criminal networks in partnership with multiple state, federal and local law enforcement agencies.
Boudin said those partnerships led to the recovery of over $8 million in stolen merchandise in 2020.
Other retailers have been prompted to react to similar crimes of their own.
Over a span of five years, Walgreens has closed about 17 stores, specifically as a result of shoplifting.
Late last week, Target announced six San Francisco stores will be limiting store hours as a result of too many shoplifters: Stores will now close at 6 p.m instead of 10 p.m.