Surveillance video captures thieves in latest San Francisco smash-and-grab

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- A store on Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District is filled with 17,000 square feet of vintage furniture and art. But its owners are counting on modern surveillance cameras to catch the burglars who burst in there early Wednesday morning.

Surveillance cameras at the Mission store called Stuff captured four burglars using -- what police said appears to be a slingshot -- to break through the front door at about 4:30 a.m.

The thieves break open a glass display and begin filling a bag with silver jewelry and other items. Another takes down two television monitors and quickly exits, followed by the other burglars. They were in and out in under two minutes with the stolen goods.

The store is home to about 60 independent vendors, some of whom spent the day cleaning up and counting their losses. John Young estimated he lost as much as $5,000 in merchandise.

"Mainly silver jewelry because I guess that's the easiest thing, nice and small, worth money and they can just sweep it into their bag," said Young. "I'm just trying to clean up my mess and start all over."

Store co-owner James Spinello said the surveillance video clearly shows some of the robbers faces. Outdoor cameras, he said, show the four burglars used scouts on the street to keep watch.

"They came up in their vehicle after someone let them know that it was fine to come over," said Spinello. "They used people that were on the streets as lookouts while they did their work."

It's one of a recent series of smash-and-grab burglaries in San Francisco that have targeted merchants ranging from high-end fashion retailers, to stereo stores and the Wells Fargo museum. In some cases, burglars have used cars to crash through storefronts. No arrests have been made.

"That's the thing we'll have to take a look at, is if they're copycats," San Francisco Police Department spokesman Officer Albie Esparza told KTVU. "A are they just getting this idea or are they all related to a larger, organizational crime spree?"

Young has followed accounts of the other smash-and-grab burglaries and said he wasn't surprised that the store was hit.

"It was like, 'Yeah, could happen to me one day,'" said Young. "And today it did."