Teens held in spree of SF smash-and-grab thefts

Five teenagers have been arrested by San Francisco police in a monthlong spree of retail thefts across the city. 

Four teenage boys - the youngest just 14 - and a 16-year-old girl, were taken into custody.

"It is always shocking to see young people be involved in this kind of activity," said San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai, who has made a crackdown on retail theft a priority.

Safai said intervention is possible.

"It's important that we're getting people at a young age, because this is the time when you can turn their life around," Safai said.

The teens targeted retail stores on at least 10 different occasions in March and April. 

Some were hit more than once. The Walgreens on Columbus Avenue in North Beach was hit three times in less than two weeks.

Other Walgreens were targeted, including one at Divisadero and Lombard in Cow Hollow and another on Geneva Avenue near Paris Street in the Excelsior District.

The GameStop store near 22nd and Mission was hit at least twice. 

The Foot Locker at Stonestown Galleria was also robbed. In a separate incident, two victims at the mall were robbed, but an officer and off-duty recruit broke up the attack.

San Francisco businesses can't tolerate this," said Rodney Fong, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. "We are taking risks on our own, doing business in San Francisco."

He said these arrests should send a message. 

"It's a misconception that these crimes are not victimless," Fong said. "Whether they're employees, people who witness these horrible events and the consumer confidence of San Francisco is really the biggest thing."

Safai agreed, saying, "Businesses are closing, people are living in fear of seeing this type of sometimes violent activity."