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Break-ins strike San Francisco small businesses in hunt for cash, electronics

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A rash of burglaries have hit merchants in the Marina and Cow Hollow neighborhoods, with crooks in some cases crawling into backyards of businesses and kicking in doors.

There were nearly a half-dozen burglaries in and around the upscale shopping areas this month alone, Northern police Station Capt. Ann Mannix said.

“And there could be more,” Mannix said as she flipped through a stack of police burglary reports.

The losses in the burglaries aren’t huge — the crooks seem to mainly want cash, small electronics or anything they can carry out without looking too conspicuous, Mannix said.

A wide array of small businesses has been hit, including a laundry center, a restaurant and a sign company, Mannix said.

The businesses being affected are in the areas of Union and Chestnut streets, she said.

One of those businesses was Vivian’s, a hair salon at 3206 Scott St.

“When I came in Monday, everything was topsy-turvy,” said owner Vivian Tamura. “They didn’t get [anything]. They didn’t find any money.”

Mannix has been meeting with merchants in an effort to educate them on how to ward off crooks.

Some of the shops without alarms should consider installing them, and businesses with backyards may want to invest in motion sensor lights, Mannix said.

Alex Feldman, the president of the Marina Merchants Association, said the burglaries have been a hot topic at recent association meetings. Feldman, the CEO of San Francisco Optics, said he became involved with the association after his shop on Chestnut Street was burglarized.

The Marina Merchants Association is pushing to install cameras at the intersection of Fillmore and Chestnut streets, hoping to catch thieves as they leave the shopping district, Feldman said.

Along with burglaries, there have been a few robberies of businesses in the area. On April 3, a crook entered a Gap Body on Chestnut Street brandishing a silver handgun.

The heist was foiled when an employee told the crook that the security door to the safe room would close automatically after they entered. The crook did not try to enter the safe room. After the door closed, he fled the store, police said.


Examiner Staff Writer Mike Koozmin contributed to this report.

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