San Francisco (AP) - Prosecutors in San Francisco say they have charged 16 people in a retail theft ring that stole more than $225,000 worth of clothing, purses and other merchandise from high-end stores, such as Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo. The District Attorney's office announced the charges Monday and said 10 more people have been charged in other Western U.S. cities where the group stole an additional $200,000 worth of merchandise, including Honolulu and Seattle.
Prosecutors said the group was responsible for dozens of thefts dating back to 2015. “Large groups of people, sometimes as many as 10 or 12, would enter an establishment with booster bags in their hands and just brazenly grab as much merchandise as they possibly could and run out the door,” said Frank Carrubba, the managing attorney of the crime strategy unit within the district attorney’s office.
In the spring and summer, he said, the groups became more violent, sometimes using pepper spray on store workers. “They would knock cases open and then push them out of the way and then grab large-dollar amount items, put them in bags and run out the door,” Carruba said. “They used knives in some situations.”