- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A San Francisco reporter says viral footage of a shoplifter gliding out of a Walgreens with a Santa Claus-like haul is now commonplace.

Lyanne Melendez of ABC-7 News says her video, which spread like wildfire on Twitter, is the product of a woman who can’t sit idly by as “Fog City” descends into chaos.

“It’s hard for me as a journalist to say ‘I won’t be involved, I can’t get involved,’” she said Monday. “I have to be sort of neutral, but this is also my city. I live in this city and I see this constantly.”

The reporter’s Hayes Valley experience isn’t constrained to local pharmacies.

“Not only Walgreens, but cars, and my garage door has been broken into twice,” she continued. “At what point do we say, ‘enough is enough, we want our city back’?”

San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai told the network that 17 Walgreens in the past five years have closed in the city.

“Almost every Gap retail outlet is gone,” Mr. Safai said. “CVS is [also] under assault.”

His solution: additional surveillance and a “deeper conversation” about crime.

“It might even involve a more aggressive effort when it comes to surveillance cameras, because you see the same individual hitting multiple locations,” he said. “Then you can begin to have deeper conversation about bringing multiple charges, or aggregate charges against that individual and really start to break this up.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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