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San Francisco Sephora Theft Suspects Flee After Pepper-Spraying a Person

Written by George KellyPublished Nov. 19, 2023 • 5:32pm
Two shoppers walk past a brass plaque that reads, "Stonestown Galleria."
Shoppers walk around Stonestown Galleria, where several suspects robbed a Sephora makeup store on Sunday. | Source: Juliana Yamada for The Standard

A group of 10 to 15 teenagers fled a Stonestown Mall makeup store with a sizable weekend haul, leaving behind possibly one suspect and a pepper-sprayed employee, police said.

According to the San Francisco Police Department, officers responded at 3:49 p.m. Sunday to a report of a theft from a store at the mall. Callers told dispatchers that a group of teenagers had taken a large amount of merchandise before fleeing. 

Multiple storefronts at the Stonestown Galleria mall open onto 20th Avenue, where the theft was reported. According to the Citizen platform, a group wearing ski masks and hooded sweatshirts entered the mall's Sephora store.

When officers arrived, they called for medical assistance for a victim who reported having been pepper-sprayed. At the scene, a security staffer told police at least one suspect had been held. Police did not say whether any held suspects were detained or arrested.

READ MORE: Stonestown Galleria Has Quietly Become San Francisco’s Second Japantown

According to prior reporting by The Standard, Stonestown Galleria—located in a more residential, less touristy area than other San Francisco shopping centers—is thriving, with its post-pandemic recovery boosted by Asian restaurants and retail stores.

While San Francisco’s Downtown is still struggling, Stonestown mall’s business and sales have surpassed those of 2019, the last year before the pandemic, according to a mall spokesperson.

There were 46 larceny thefts reported in the city's Lakeshore neighborhood in the 30 days before last Friday, and 705 thefts in the 12 months before Friday compared with 944 during the same one-year period ending in November 2022, according to police data analyzed by The Standard. There were 481 reported burglaries in the same 12-month period ending in November 2021.  

Citywide, the number of reported larceny thefts has dropped 10% since November 2022, from 433 to 388 incidents per 10,000 residents.

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