San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said at a Tuesday press conference that his office has filed felony charges against nine people arrested in connection to the large-scale burglaries that hit Union Square merchants and other businesses last weekend.
Five people were arrested and charged in connection with the burglary at the Union Square Louis Vuitton store. Three people were charged for burglarizing a cannabis store in the city. One person was charged in connection with burglarizing a Walgreens. Two of the nine people were also charged with felony possession of a firearm.
“These are not petty thefts, this is not misdemeanor conduct, this is felony conduct and the charges that were filed today are felonies,” Boudin said at the press conference. “Any discussion about whether or not certain things should be misdemeanors or felonies has nothing to do with these cases.”
Boudin’s approach to criminal justice reform, which often eschews jail time for minor offenses, has been seized upon by groups seeking to recall the district attorney. In a signal of the Boudin’s tenuous political position, the press conference was forced inside due to about a dozen demonstrators chanting pro-recall slogans.
Arraignments for the nine suspects are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and Boudin said his office has filed detention motions against two of the suspects and has asked the court to impose “appropriate restrictions” to keep the public safe.
Boudin and San Francisco Police Department Assistant Chief Michael Redmond said at the press conference that investigation into the criminal activity continues and more arrests and charges are expected.
“We are all eagerly awaiting more arrests in these cases and we stand united together to send a message to anyone who would consider these crimes in San Francisco that it will not be tolerated,” Boudin said. “You will be arrested, you will be brought to justice and you will face serious consequences when you commit serious crimes in our city.”
Redmond said the police department has staffed up all ten of the department’s district stations, increased the number of officers downtown and instituted a traffic plan to limit cars in Union Square. The police department has also started a major incident response team to more effectively organize the investigation into the robberies.
Boudin positioned the criminal activity in San Francisco as part of a larger coordinated attack that included incidents in San Jose, Hayward, Oakland and Chicago. He said he is in conversation with other local and state law enforcement partners on a collaborative approach to investigating and charging these sort of large-scale burglaries.
“We have to do a better job collectively within my office and within this city of identifying and addressing the root causes of crime and being proactive to prevent these kinds of crime from occurring in the first place,” Boudin said.