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Cotopaxi Closes San Francisco Store After String of Smash and Grab Thefts

Cotopaxi has closed its San Francisco, noting that employees remain “terrified” as organized retail crime plagues the city.

In a post to LinkedIn, Cotopaxi founder and CEO Davis Smith announced the closure of his brand’s Bay area location after what seemed to be an endless stream of smash and grab thefts that have hit the store since it opened a year ago.

“Our first week there, our windows were smashed, and thousands of dollars of product was stolen,” Smith wrote in LinkedIn on Wednesday. “We replaced the window, and it immediately happened again (four times).”

Smith added that he replaced the windows with plywood as he waited over a month to get a metal security gate. The store also started to keep the doors locked and would only let in prospective customers. “But even then, they’ll have a woman go to the door, and then hiding individuals rush into the store as soon as the door opens,” Smith added.

“As of today, we are closing the store due to rampant organized theft and lack of safety for our team,” Smith said. “Our store is hit by organized theft rings several times per week. They brazenly enter the store and grab thousands of dollars of product and walk out. Our team is terrified. They feel unsafe.”

Smith added: “It’s impossible for a retail store to operate in these circumstances, especially when cities refuse to take any action (despite us paying taxes well above any other state we operate in). The city recently announced a reduction of police presence in this neighborhood, despite mass-scale crime. It makes me sad that I’m now avoiding San Francisco, a city I used to love.”

Cotopaxi closes San Francisco store
Cotopaxi has close it San Francisco store after a string of retail crime.
CREDIT: LinkedIn

According to Cotopaxi’s website, the San Francisco store is marked as “temporarily closed.” Its other 8 locations across Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state remain open.

FN has reached out to Cotopaxi for further comment.

Since 2020, organized retail crime has seen an uptick from pre-pandemic levels. Many government organizations have attempted to tamp down on the rampant problem as retailers call for more protections.

In June, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a new guide to combat organized retail crime across the U.S. The report highlighted common red flags among organized theft groups in order to fight the surge of violent “smash-and-grab” attacks in U.S. stores.

In February, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg teamed up with small businesses in the borough to tackle the rise of shoplifting and commercial robberies that have been plaguing retailers for months.

And in December, Calif. Governor Gavin Newsom introduced a new plan to fight and prevent crime in the state. Called the “Real Public Safety Plan,” the new legislation included $255 million in grants for local law enforcement over the next three years in order to increase police presence at retail locations.

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