Grab-and-run thievery is nothing new at the high-end shops around Union Square, but despite the best efforts of security guards and a network of cameras, the thieves keep coming back during the pandemic.
The latest instance of brazen daytime theft was at the Yves Saint Laurent boutique in Union Square — the same Geary Street store that thieves backed a car through the windows of in 2018 in order to swipe a few purses. As the Chronicle reports, despite having a locked door, a security guard stationed there, and only allowing in one customer at a time, a group of thieves shoved their way into the store last Monday around 5 p.m.
One female suspect apparently signaled to be buzzed into the store, and then she was followed in by four others — a couple of whom subdued the security guard while the others stole merchandise. Manager Stanley Chin tells the Chronicle, "I was in the storeroom when I heard the commotion," saying the whole crime was over in 90 seconds.
The total haul was reportedly around $54,000 in YSL purses. And this was the third brazen grab-and-run robbery like this on the same stretch of Geary in four weeks.
There's one detail to suggest the thieves around Union Square are getting more fearless: Deputy Police Chief David Lazar tells the paper that "The same suspects [are] committing multiple thefts while wearing [court-ordered monitoring] ankle bracelets, which means they have already been arrested before for burglary or theft and their cases are pending."
This latest robbery, and the way it was committed, recalls the Rainbow Girls or Rainbow Crew who terrorized Union Square retailers for about five years in the early part of the 2000s. They were eventually busted in 2016, with 16 suspects arrested.
Lazar suggests that a couple of suspects have been identified already from the YSL robbery, and arrests may be pending.