KRON 4's Stanley Roberts brings us another of his People Behaving Badly segments, this time focusing on a "flash mob" of shoplifters who were caught on surveillance video robbing a SoMa Safeway en masse. This all happened recently at the Safeway at 298 King Street, at Fourth Street, and the management and workers at the store, this is "an everyday occurrence."
Seven individuals, presumably all deplorable teens, can be seen gathering in one aisle and quickly stuffing "high-end shampoos" and other items into their backpacks. Within 56 seconds, as Stanley notes, they're done and they clear out of the aisle.
In another video, you can see the manager of the store attempting to block the kids from exiting the store, holding his hands out to thwart their exit. They then begin trying to push past him, with one appearing to assault the manager, and then you can see a security guard and a bystander in blue try to intervene as the group tries to fend them off.
Witnesses tell KRON 4 that they have seen this same group "clearing the shelves of Tide [pods], alcohol, and coffee."
If two's a trend, I will just note an event I witnessed personally last week at the Safeway on Webster at Geary in the Western Addition, where a teenager quickly stuffed several bottles of body wash into his backpack in an aisle I was standing in, smiling and then walking away, followed shortly thereafter by a security guard.
The gang of thieves calls to mind the ensemble technique used by the Rainbow Crew, who targeted Union Square stores in recent years with decidedly higher-end merchandise in mind, and who were ultimately busted in October 16 of them in total after a years-long investigation.
Safeway issued a response to Roberts' inquiry, which you can read below.
Safeway is taking this matter seriously. The safety and security of our customers and employees is a matter of great concern to Safeway... We employ a number of security measures at our stores, including visible deterrents and others that are not immediately apparent. We are conducting a thorough investigation of the incident that occurred involving a Safeway employee. In the meantime, we can say the employee involved in the incident is okay.