San Francisco, CA

Cops bust viral video Walgreens shoplifter during another theft, accuse him of hitting one store four days in a row

Golden Gate Media
He’s done it again, but this time, cops caught him in the act.Golden Gate Media

The man captured on a now-viral video freely swiping a garbage bag’s worth of merchandise from a San Francisco Walgreens store has been arrested after he tried to pull off a similar theft, police said on Saturday, June 19.

In a startling development, the suspect is accused of robbing the same Gough St. Walgreens store four days in a row, each time strolling into the store, wiping out shelf after shelf of merchandise, and then calmly walking out with his loot in full view of shoppers, employees, and security.

“On June 19, at approximately 8:34 a.m, members of the San Francisco Police Dept. Northern Station Street Crimes Unit arrested Jean Lugo-Romero,40, in a drug store on the 400 block of Haight Street,” police said in a statement. “Officers had been looking for Lugo-Romero in connection with numerous investigations being conducted by the SFPD Burglary Detail and District Station (SIT) investigators. Lugo-Romero was suspected of committing thefts from merchants in the Northern and Mission Districts and was recently caught on camera during a brazen shoplifting incident during which he placed merchandise into a bag and rode a bicycle out of the store.”

Video of the incident was shared online by another shopper. It has racked up millions of views and put San Francisco’s retail shoplifting epidemic under international scrutiny.

“During this morning's incident, officers saw Lugo-Romero enter the store and themselves entered the store a short time later to find him clearing shelves of cosmetics and placing the merchandise into a duffel bag,” police stated. “He was taken into custody without incident. The value of the merchandise was approximately $978.00.”

That figure is important because, under Proposition 47, approved by California voters in 2014, Lugo-Romero may be charged with a felony. Proposition 47 allows thefts under $950 to be classified as misdemeanors in the state.

“Lugo-Romero was booked into the San Francisco County Jail for attempted grand theft (664/487(a) PC), entering a business with the intent to commit theft, loss under $950(459.9 PC), possession of narcotics paraphernalia (11364 HS) and a warrant for failure to appear on a prior theft case (Bail: $26000),” police stated.

The department also linked him to six other thefts targeting the Gough St. Walgreens and the Haight St. CVS Pharmacy.

“Lugo-Romero was also booked for the following incidents:

  • May 29, 2021, 300 Gough Street, robbery (211 PC).
  • May 30, 2021, 300 Gough Street, robbery (211 PC).
  • May 31, 2021, 300 Gough Street, burglary 2nd degree (459 PC).
  • June 1, 2021, 300 Gough Street, robbery (211 PC).
  • June 14, 2021, 300 Gough Street, burglary 2nd degree (459 PC), grand theft (487(a) PC), two counts of entering a business with the intent to commit theft, loss under $950 (459.9 PC), and two counts of petty theft (490.2(a) PC).
  • June 17, 2021, 400 Haight Street, entering a business with the intent to commit theft, loss under $950 (459.9 PC), and petty theft (490.2(a) PC).”

“What happened in that Walgreens has been going on in the city for quite a while,” San Francisco Police Officers’ Association Vice President Lt. Tracy McCray said of the shocking theft during an interview on FOX. “I'm used to it. I mean, we can have a greatest hits compilation of people just walking in and cleaning out the store shelves and security guards the people who work there standing by helplessly because they can't do anything.”

Walgreens has closed 17 of its stores in San Francisco in the last five years because of unchecked and repeated “grab-and-run” thefts. The pharmacy chain spends 35 times more on security at its San Francisco stores than its locations across the country.

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