Business

San Francisco Richmond District smoke store goal of repeat break-ins; proprietor says retailer misplaced insurance coverage protection


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — In San Francisco, some business owners are frustrated and don’t know what to do next after an early morning smash-and-grab at their smoke shop in the Richmond District. They say, this is the fifth time the store has been targeted.

Some say it appears to be an organized hit.

Thieves trashed Bashir Naderi’s smoke shop.

Once again, crews are forced to clean up the mess at Cigarettes Cheaper at 17th Avenue and Geary in the Richmond District.

Naderi says surveillance video shows seven to 10 people were involved in an early morning smash-and-grab Wednesday.

“So many people come and grab everything and run,” said Naderi.

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Naderi says three, maybe four cars were involved.

“People back up the car and break the door. They come and grab all the cigarettes. A lot of cigarettes on the street,” said Bashir Naderi, co-owner of Cigarettes Cheaper.

Naderi showed ABC7 News a photo of a suspected stolen car that thieves ditched.

“This is the car. They back up and hit the door,” said Naderi.

One year ago, the same smoke shop was hit.

Because of the repeat break-ins, he lost his insurance coverage.

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“We don’t have insurance. They don’t pay us from last year ’til now,” said Naderi.

Naderi says his losses are staggering and it seems like nothing is being done about it.

“I don’t know who will stop this one. The mayor, the politics, the police, chief of police. They need to catch them and put them in jail,” said Naderi.

“It happens all the time,” said Alex Miretsky. He’s the owner of Europa Plus — right down the street from the smoke shop.

“They tried to break in. They took the lock out. But looks like they’ve been working on it for some time. But they were unable to break in,” said Miretsky.

Mark Dietrich is a public safety advocate and resident of the Richmond District.

“I’m not surprised. I continue to be saddened and disgusted. Our neighborhood continues to be picked clean by crime. Our city leaders appear to do very little,” said Dietrich.

“It’s happening in every merchant corridor in our neighborhood. Whether its Geary or Clement Street or Balboa, where we have these wonderful restaurants and merchants, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been broken into multiple times. So, I don’t know how small businesses can take it and survive in this environment.”

But crime data tells a different story. According to data from SFPD in our ABC7 News Neighborhood Safety Tracker, burglaries citywide are down 22% in the past year, and in the Richmond District, burglaries are down slightly from 2023.

Supervisor Connie Chan, who represents the Richmond District, was unavailable for comment on Wednesday, but her office says Chan released a public safety plan in April to combat property crime.

Chan wants to expand the police ambassador program, increase foot and bike patrols, and is proposing a live surveillance program from 2 to 5 a.m. during peak vulnerable hours to help Richmond police respond in real time.

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

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