Skip to main content

San Francisco Walgreens thief gets 2 years in prison after string of thefts

Street signs "30th St" and a Walgreens store with a red sign on a brick building, under a clear blue sky.
Prosecutors alleged that Savannah Church was part of an organized group that stole merchandise from Walgreens, Sephora and Bath & Body Works stores in San Francisco. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

A San Francisco woman was sentenced to two years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to what prosecutors described as a series of "snatch-and-grab thefts" at Walgreens and other stores.

Savannah Church, 25, was convicted of committing assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, two counts of organized retail theft and one count of petty theft, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office said. Church was also ordered to pay $43,170.84 in restitution to the victims.

“Organized retail theft is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in San Francisco,” District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement.  “My office will continue to partner with the San Francisco Police Department to ensure there is accountability and that perpetrators face consequences. Working in partnership with victims, businesses, and other law enforcement agencies, we will continue to make progress.”

Prosecutors alleged that Church was part of an organized group that stole merchandise from Walgreens, Sephora and Bath & Body Works stores in San Francisco from April 23, 2023, through Sept. 15, 2023. The DA's Office said the group's strategy was to enter the store together, quickly grab and conceal items, and then flee. Church was also accused of assaulting a person who tried to stop her from robbing someone on the street.

Church was arrested on Sept. 15 and has been in custody ever since, according to online booking records and the DA's Office. It was not immediately known if she has an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

“Almost every day, citizens of San Francisco, as well as store employees across the city, have to bear witness to these brazen thefts,” Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Zudekoff, who prosecuted the case, said in a statement. “This prosecution was successful because of the cooperation of victims, witnesses, store employees, and the fantastic investigation work of the San Francisco Police Department.”

"While Ms. Church admitted to wrongdoing and is taking responsibility for her actions, sending a young woman to prison for two years and ordering her to pay over $40K in restitution places unrealistic burdens on someone whose actions were already driven by poverty and desperation," said Deputy Public Defender Eric Fleischaker. "We want Ms. Church to have opportunities to move her life in a different direction, but that is not what prison is likely to provide."

Stephanie K. Baer can be reached at