Here’s a new wrinkle in the ongoing smash-and-grab robbery chronicles, as security video indicates SFPD sat and watched the robbery of a dispensary, not intervening until after the getaway vehicle drove off.
Cannabis dispensaries, and really all legal marijuna businesses in California, have certain unique burdens that make them more attractive to burglars. The all-cash nature of the businesses makes them a target, plus the type product they carry has, you know, a certain appeal. Last weekend’s rash of robberies targeting high-end retailers also hit a few cannabis businesses in Oakland, and today’s Chronicle brings us the story of another dispensary getting robbed in San Francisco — with the twist that police appear to just sit and watch as the cannabis gets cleaned out.
NEW: San Francisco police responded to a call about a possible burglary at a cannabis dispensary. But they only watched as the suspects exited and drove away, surveillance video shows.https://t.co/E3iHfVNn5F— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) November 24, 2021
"This one it really made me angry," shop owner Tariq Mizyed Alazraie told the Chron. The Chronicle does not identify the dispensary, but the California Bureau of Cannabis Control permit database shows Alazraie as the owner of BASA SF at Divisadero and Grove Streets.
In the footage, three patrol cars arrive as the scene unfolds at about 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 16. One car shines its spotlights on the apparent getaway vehicle, but police do not engage the suspects and allow the car to drive off.https://t.co/D3myke2o4D— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) November 24, 2021
The Chronicle has security video of the incident, which occurred last week on Tuesday morning shortly after 5:30 a.m., so it is prior to last weekend’s string of robberies. A single suspect who’s crowbarred their way into the dispensary emerges with two large trash bags full of stolen product, and heads toward the getaway car. Police arrive on the scene and shine a spotlight on the getaway car, right as a second suspect gets out and helps the accomplice load the goods into the vehicle (Mind you, the police have already been called and told there was a robbery in progress). A third suspect trots from the dispensary with yet another bag full of stolen goods, and the vehicle leisurely completes a three-point turn while one officer approaches on foot with zero urgency.
There is a total of 40 seconds where both the suspects and the police are on the same scene, yet the police do not engage. Let’s just say they were a little more aggressive when it came to Louis Vuitton handbag thieves.
After the suspects drive away, police walk into the business.— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) November 24, 2021
“Like strolling,” the owner's daughter said. “As though it could not have been a care in the world. They just need to get there and make the report because they were called.”https://t.co/D3myke2o4D
“They are less than 100 feet away from each other,” the owner’s daughter Anisa Alazraie told the Chronicle. “So the police are right there. They had every opportunity to intervene and stop this crime from happening, get these people caught. It almost appears that they chose not to.”
The Chronicle also identifies the daughter as “a former intern with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office,” so this is not some sort of “All Cops are Bastards” person.
SFPD says they’ve opened a probe into the incident. Spokesperson Matt Dorsey told the Chronicle that the department has been “made aware of the video, and our department reached out to the burglary victim in the incident to facilitate a complaint to the Department of Police Accountability. It is now an open DPA investigation and a personnel matter, and for those reasons we must decline to comment further at this time.”
I’m no cop, so I don’t know if maybe there are some sort of risk considerations or police department best practices that would prevent the police from engaging in what is very, very, very obviously a robbery in progress. But it sure flies in the face of complaints that the district attorney is soft on crime, or that property crimes are going unpunished and only Batman analogies can save San Francisco.
Because here the police saw a cannabis dispensary being burglarized, but seemed to develop a sudden sense of couch-lock.
Image: Kim A. via Yelp