Police are investigating the alleged theft of $1.2 million worth of Kashmir, India-made merchandise from a high-end shop inside The Fairmont San Francisco hotel — but the case might be more than a run-of-the-mill burglary.
The massive theft reportedly occurred Oct. 6 at Charisma Crafts, which sells high-end Indian handicrafts and furniture to hotel guests and visitors, according to Central Police Station Capt. Garret Tom.
“Someone used a U-Haul to empty out the store with approximately $1.2 million worth of carpets, jewelry, silk clothing, and cashmere shawls and furniture,” Tom said in a news release. “The person of interest is a recently fired employee who did not return the keys to the establishment.”
Charisma Crafts was closed Monday. A man who answered a phone number posted on the business declined to identify himself or comment on the case.
“It’s under investigation and I’m not at liberty to say anything,” the man said.
However, The San Francisco Examiner did get in touch with the alleged thief, South San Francisco resident Nasir Sheikh. He said he is actually the owner and worked at the shop seven days a week until Oct. 5. Sheikh also said he removed only 60 percent of the merchandise from the store because he couldn’t fit the rest in his U-Haul truck.
Sheikh claims he decided to remove “his” merchandise from the store as the result of an ongoing dispute with his business partner, who claims he is the store’s owner.
Investigators showed up at Sheikh’s home the same day as the alleged heist, but did not arrest him, he said.
“The cops ultimately said this is a civil case and to hire an attorney,” Sheikh said.
Tom did not return a call for comment Monday.
Charisma Crafts reportedly rents space at The Fairmont and operates independently of the hotel. The Fairmont is a historic property atop Nob Hill that’s known in part for its Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar and holiday gingerbread house.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” in the message. email@example.com