NATIONAL NEWS

Thieves steal $100,000 in cigarettes, cash from California smoke shop

Jun 5, 2023, 3:35 PM

Police lights...

FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Family-owned small business Cigarettes R Cheaper suffered its biggest hit last month in its long history in San Francisco.

Surveillance video shows two cars parked outside the smoke shop in the Richmond in the overnight hours on May 31. One thief uses a tool to try and break the glass before others eventually push their way inside the store. Some burglars were already carrying empty bags.

Once inside, the thieves start clearing out the shelves, dumping whatever they could get their hands on into a bin and what looks like a bed sheet.

Within about 15 minutes, the crooks made off with 500 cartons of cigarettes worth $80,000. They also stole the safe containing $20,000 in cash.

They left behind extensive damage.

“So many businesses, they run out of business or they’re moving out from the city because of it, not safe, you know? Nobody feels safe. I don’t even feel safe here anymore,” said store manager Sunny Shakoor. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Even daytime they can rob me, they can do anything.”

Shakoor said the family opened the Geary Boulevard location about 30 years ago. They were also hit by burglars last year. He believes crime is getting worse in the neighborhood.

“Because I hear every day something happening in this neighborhood. They break into houses because, two days before that, a cop come here. The police told me they’re looking for two cars, seven to eight guys,” Shakoor said. “Same group. That’s what he said.”

Shakoor says that on the same night, thieves also broke into a doctor’s office next door.

He said his family came to the U.S. from Afghanistan for a better life.

“We come from far away to work here, to live — $100,000 not easy to cover,” he added.

Shakoor said the thieves stole what would take the store about a quarter of the year to make in sales.

Since the latest break-in, the family has spent thousands of dollars in window replacements and installing new gates behind the glass.

“I just want the government, the city of San Francisco, to pay more attention for businesses — for safety of people, businesses, houses, all around — because we are the taxpayer you know?” Shakoor said.


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Thieves steal $100,000 in cigarettes, cash from California smoke shop