San Francisco DA charges suspected Walgreens bandit in connection with a slew of shoplifting thefts

A man accused of being the brazen shoplifter caught on widely shared video stealing goods from a Walgreens has been...

A man accused of being the brazen shoplifter caught on widely shared video stealing goods from a Walgreens has been charged in connection with a slew of retail thefts at drug stores in San Francisco.

Jean Lugo-Romero, 40, grabbed headlines around the nation after a television news reporter allegedly recorded him stuffing a trash bag with goods from a Walgreens in Hayes Valley before riding off on a bicycle.

While police data shows shoplifting incidents have dropped since 2019, the video created the perception that San Francisco is a lawless place and raised concerns about retail crimes running rampant.

The District Attorney’s Office has since filed 15 robbery, grand theft and burglary-related charges against Lugo-Romero stemming from a string of shoplifting he allegedly carried out in the span of just over a month.

Lugo-Romero is accused of knocking off eight drug stores between May 11 and June 19.

Prosecutors say he returned five times to the same Walgreens at 300 Gough St., where the viral video was recorded, and hit the same CVS at 499 Haight St. twice.

The first charged incident was an alleged grand theft at the Duboce Triangle Walgreens near Church and Market.

“Local businesses and neighborhood stores are the backbone of our community, and we are working to protect San Francisco stores and consumers,” District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement.

Boudin said his office is working with strategic partners, including a retail theft-prevention group called ALTO Alliance and the California Highway Patrol, to dismantle “the criminal networks that make these crimes profitable.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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