San Francisco thieves flee with designer handbags during brazen robbery at luxury store Neiman Marcus (VIDEO)

Police are investigating a brazen robbery at a Neiman Marcus store in downtown San Francisco, as the California city struggles to combat a wave of organized retail crime.

Witnesses told local media the incident happened at around 6pm on Monday, just as the high-end retail shop was preparing to close. The suspects are said to have snatched items from racks before fleeing in waiting getaway vehicles. A photograph purportedly taken inside the looted store shows empty shelves and a shattered display case. 

A video posted to social media shows around 10 people wearing masks and hoods dashing out of the store with armfuls of designer handbags and other pricey merchandise. The heist occurred in broad daylight, with the thieves making their escape as cars passed by. 

At the end of the clip, two men who appear to be police officers or security guards approach one of the getaway cars before it speeds off into the distance. Local news reports said the suspects fled the area before the police were able to intervene. No arrests have been made in connection with the incident. 

The bold daylight robbery comes amid a surge in organized shoplifting in the city. Last week, big-box retailer Target said it would be reducing operating hours at all six of its San Francisco stores due to the alarming rise in crime, particularly thefts. Pharmacy chain Walgreens has already instituted a similar policy. 

Last month, San Francisco’s crime spree made headlines after a viral video showed a man at a Walgreens store casually filling a garbage bag with stolen items. The nonchalant robbery was witnessed by a customer and a security guard, who filmed the incident on their phones. The suspect was able to ride out of the shop on his bicycle – with the stolen goods in its basket. 

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© Reuters / Brendan McDermid
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The California Retailers Association recently revealed that three of the state’s largest cities – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento – were among the worst in the country when it came to organized retail crimes.

San Francisco is also seeing an uptick in other crime types. Parts of the city have recorded 100 to 750% jumps in vehicle break-ins, according to local media, citing monthly statistics released by the police. 

On Sunday, a senior official in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office suggested concerns about the crime surge were motivated by racism. 

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