SF Castro store repeatedly victimized in smash & grab burglaries

A string of burglaries in the Castro District has businesses and residents on edge.

Gary Knight, manager of Smoke Plus, said the store has been burglarized three times in the past month. The most recent burglary happened May 17.

Knight said all three smash and grab burglaries have occurred around 5:00 a.m. and he believes it is the same burglar each time.

“He’s going after cigarettes and things he can get his hands on quickly and easily,” Knight said.

Another nearby store, Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods, was burglarized last week, according to an employee.

Residents like Bob Dietlan have noticed a change. He has lived in the Castro for 51 years and said it does not feel like home anymore.

“When the Castro first opened up it was nice, you knew everybody,” he said. “Now people are afraid to walk on the street at night.”

Knight said the crime is so bad, it is affecting how long he has to wait to get a gate installed in front of Smoke Plus.

“They said it would take about a month because everyone is getting these gates, because they’re so overwhelmed,” Knight said.

He hopes the criminal or criminals get caught soon.

“If you come into a neighborhood as nice as this and see bars everywhere, you don’t feel safe anymore do you,” he added.

The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately return our requests for burglary stats in the Castro.