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Inside Walgreens store with highest theft rate in America where goods are in chains & 3 shoppers steal within 30 minutes

May 22, 2023

WALGREENS has resorted to locking goods in chains in one of its San Francisco stores in a dramatic bid to clamp down on theft.

San Francisco is grappling with a so-called crime epidemic and shocking stats have revealed that shoplifting offenses have surged in recent years.

A Walgreens located in the city’s Richmond neighborhood has the reputation of being the drugstore with the “highest theft rate.”

And, a CNN reporter said she saw three shoplifting incidents within 30 minutes.

A staffer told a journalist from local ABC affiliate KGO that the store is pummeled with 15 to 20 thefts per day.

Chiefs have resorted to putting frozen treats ranging from ice creams to pizzas under lock and key, and goods are also stored behind plexiglass.

Shoppers must push a button that grabs a staffer’s attention if they want an item.

A message blares out over the store’s overhead speakers, informing employees that a customer wants assistance.

Walgreens workers have claimed that suspected shoplifters have tried to burn the cases that items are stored in, per KGO.

Richie Greenberg, who lives in the area, told CNN that the anti-theft strategy is “telling us that rampant crime has become a regular part of life.”

CNN reported that Walgreens chiefs have urged workers to remove the chains due to the perception of the anti-theft strategy. The U.S. Sun has approached Walgreens for comment.

But, the shoppers have been left frustrated by the new in-store experience.

Justin Van Zandt, a local, told KGO: “It just frustrates me so much to see the neighborhood fall apart and to have to ask somebody to unlock things.”

A spokesperson for the company previously told The U.S. Sun: “Retail crime is one of the top challenges facing our industry today.

“We are focused on the safety of our patients, customers, and team members. And we are working closely with law enforcement, elected officials, and community leaders to draw greater attention to and improve our response to retail crime.”

“We continue to take preventative measures to safely deter theft and aim to deliver the best patient and customer experience.

It comes as Walgreens execs intend to shut down 150 stores in the US this year. It’s not yet known which drugstores are set to be affected.

The anti-theft crackdown comes as shoplifting offenses in the city jumped by 20 percent between 2019 and 2022.

Walgreens is not the only chain that has taken drastic action in San Francisco to try and combat shoplifting offenses.

Chiefs at Safeway have installed receipt scanners and security gates in stores located in the Bay Area.

A spokesperson for the supermarket said: "Recent changes were made at select Safeway stores in the Bay Area to maintain a safe and welcoming shopping experience for our customers and associates given the increasing amount of theft.

"Those updates include operational changes to the front end of the stores to deter shoplifting.”

Shopper Stormy Henry welcomed the measures as she told The San Francisco Chronicle: “The crime makes you not want to shop here.”

The U.S. Sun has previously reported how a Nordstrom store in the city’s Westfield shopping mall is due to close by the end of August, and Whole Foods Market chiefs shuttered its flagship store in the city amid mounting crime fears.

WALGREENS has resorted to locking goods in chains in one of its San Francisco stores in a dramatic bid to clamp down on theft.