A woman felt compelled to throw a temper tantrum in the parking lot of the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco after she allegedly was caught shoplifting in a Black-owned business, witnesses say.
Fox News reports that employees claim they saw the woman, who is white and has not yet been identified, stealing several items, including a bathing suit, from a store known as the Pop Up Shop. Video footage, that has since been deleted from Instagram, showed the woman being confronted by a security guard in the parking over the alleged theft. As the security guard followed her through the parking lot, she grew upset and started flashing her middle finger and cursing.
“It’s just disappointing because these are all up and coming new businesses, and they really can’t afford to have items stolen. I mean four or five items can change the trajectory of their business. It’s just unfortunate,” Richard Bougere, a San Francisco-based rapper who co-owns the Pop Up Shop with his wife Danielle Banks, told the news outlet regarding the woman accused of stealing from his store.
“When you’re taking from somebody, you’re really taking from what they’ve been trying to build. They’re trying to invest in their kids. Some of the brands are mother-and-child owned,” Banks explained. The business owners say the incident is just one instance of a rising issue in the city.
The couple just opened the location on July 10 at Stonestown Galleria with merchandise from up and coming Black-owned brands.
Akeem Diaz, a local Bay Area artist who has several of his products featured in the Banks’ store, sympathizes with people who are struggling and feel they have to try other methods in order to obtain what they need to live, stating, “I get we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and I get that people are going through financial crises you know with the wealth gap continuing to widen.” He continued, “But she wasn’t in there stealing necessities. She was trying to steal to get cute.”
Bougere added, “I don’t condone it. It’s not cool. There’s other ways to get your money. Build your own business. Come to the Pop Up Shop. Put your business in our store and maybe you won’t have to what we call bip it [steal] in our city. Maybe you won’t have to bip it as much.”
J.C. Hernandez, a local security guard, echoed similar sentiments, telling reporters the “lawlessness” in the city over shoplifting has gotten “really bad.” But, he added, “I’ve been in the Bay area 20 years, I’ve never seen this. It’s just lawlessness. People are just openly coming in and stealing stuff.”
The couple was eventually able to retrieve their items. However, there’s no word on whether charges will be brought against the woman who was shoplifting.
Just two years ago, Bougere and his wife found themselves at the center of their own shoplifting scandal. The couple, who also co-owns performing arts group Project Level, were shopping at Forever 21 in July 2019 with three kids from their program when two San Francisco police officers cornered and accused the wife of putting clothes inside a white grocery bag.
No stolen items were found but the couple were refused an apology from the store manager. The group decided to leave without completing their purchase.
“What hurts the most is we were shopping for our students who don’t have the means to be styled like professional artists,” Banks said while recording live at the time. “Rich and I use our own money to give youth an opportunity they unfortunately can’t afford.”
She added, “You racially profiled two beloved San Franciscan’s who give to empower communities of color.”