SAN FRANCISCO (TND) — A San Francisco man was arrested last week for allegedly selling products stolen from local retail stores, with investigators estimating he made half a million dollars a year off the scheme.
Sergio Manuel Puga-Tenorio, 38, was selling over-the-counter medications and personal care products on online platforms, such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace, according to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).
SFPD said investigators are still working to determine exactly where the seized items came from.
“Investigators also believe that Mr. Puga-Tenorio is not unique and that there are several other individuals in the city conducting similar fencing operations,” SFPD added in a news release.
Critics argue the rise in brazen retail thefts across the country has been the result of liberal prosecution standards and policies that are too soft on crime.
READ MORE: “Bay Area crime spree raises questions about district attorney, prosecution of shoplifters”
For example, felony theft laws that are too permissive and bail reform policies that let thieves roam the streets freely before they stand trial have been cited as catalysts for the surge in retail theft.
As a result, thefts from general merchandise stores like Walgreens and CVS have become noticeably more common, leading to store closures and forcing retailers to take heightened security measures.
In San Francisco, Walgreens began locking up everyday hygiene products, like lotion, in an attempt to deter thieves. Best Buy also began locking up more of its merchandise following the surge in crime.
High-end stores like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdale’s even reconfigured traffic patterns to make smash-and-grab thefts more difficult for would-be thieves, NBC News reported.
San Francisco’s former progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin, was heavily criticized for failing to put the hammer down on lower-level crimes. He was removed and replaced following a successful recall vote earlier this year.
Other progressive district attorneys, including Los Angeles's George Gascón and Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner, are also on the chopping block for their soft-on-crime policies. Both are facing recall and/or impeachment efforts.
READ MORE: “‘You're next’: Deputy LA DA warns George Gascón following Chesa Boudin recall”