The flash mob-style burglaries we saw in Union Square last November popped up again on Mission Street, as the GameStop store suffered a reported three robberies in less than one week.
One thing I’ve always found amusing in the modern era is that each year in early November, there is a mob of people lined up on the 2600 block of Mission Street. They are not waiting to vote in an election, they are waiting to buy the latest annual iteration of the Call of Duty video game at the 23rd and Mission Street GameStop. Yet a different kind of mob, a flash mob of burglars like we saw in Union Square last November, has lately been affecting that GameStop, as KTVU reports that game store has seen three “mob-style thefts” in six days.
Two juvenile suspects have reportedly been arrested, but eight more suspects are still at large, and we are including photos of security footage of the burglars posted on GameStop’s windows.
The KTVU timeline of these incidents says that “the first time was last Sunday” (and the photos in this post are of that incident, Sunday, April 3), and that “It was a smash and grab followed by flash mob style robberies on Wednesday and Friday,” so this all would have been last week.
According to an incident description posted on the GameStop window, which says the first incident took place at 3:30 p.m. that Sunday, “5 suspects smash open a glass cabinet containing gaming consoles and assaults [sic] an employee while doing so. Suspects take contents of the cabinet along with multiple headsets, controllers and accessories, totaling approximately $3k worth of merchandise.”
KTVU’s report adds that “a manager says $5,000 worth of merchandise” was stolen in the three robberies combined, and that that station “was told one employee quit over safety concerns.”
Could this have been, to some degree, an inside job? The efficiency of the operations leads us to that question, though one could have just cased the place and formed this plan, too. KTVU adds that nearby Ross and Safeway have seen similar robberies, and ties this all into “community calls it a crisis in the Mission” narrative.
But those stores are at the Potrero Center Shopping Mall, more than ten blocks away. Still, these flash mob robberies seem to target chain stores, and there may be something to that pattern.
On a hunch, SFist just decided to swing by 24th and Mission Street corner, which has lately become a bazaar of stolen goods, to see if there was any hot merchandise that looked like it might be from GameStop. We did not see any video games, consoles, or headsets among the very obviously stolen items. But stolen video games and accessories are probably easier and more lucrative to move on Amazon or eBay, so I’m game to guess that’s where this GameStop loot will end up.
Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact the SFPD Mission Station at (415) 553-1201. Additionally, GameStop is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Images: Joe Kukura, SFist