The San Francisco Walgreens shoplifter defended by one CBS anchor last week as probably just stealing something he needed has reportedly been arrested and linked to at least seven different shoplifting incidents.
The man, identified by police as Jean Lugo-Romero, was the alleged perpetrator of a shoplifting incident on June 14 that went viral due to its brazenness. With a security guard and others filming him in broad daylight, he filled a trash bag with what appeared to be cosmetic products and then exited the building with almost no resistance.
Last week, “CBS This Morning” anchor Tony Dokoupil defended onlookers for not intervening, saying it wasn’t worth risking one’s life for “some toothbrushes.”
“That reads also as an act of desperation,” he said Wednesday. “You’re not getting rich off what you take from a Walgreens. You’re getting probably something you need.”
Some critics panned the remarks as essentially excusing petty theft. The San Francisco Police Officers Association also blamed District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s policies for enabling the behavior seen in the video.
Dokoupil’s anchors pushed back on his language at the time, suggesting the man did not appear to be stealing necessities like food or water. A CBS News spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Lugo-Romero was arrested around 8:30 a.m. Saturday after officers spotted him entering a store on Haight Street, San Francisco Police Department said in a recent press release. At the time, police officers who recognized him followed Lugo-Romero, 40, into the drug store “to find him clearing shelves of cosmetics and placing the merchandise into a duffel bag,” SFPD said.
After arresting him, officers determined the stolen goods were collectively worth approximately $978, police said.
“Officers had been looking for Lugo-Romero in connection with numerous investigations,” police said. “Lugo-Romero was suspected of committing thefts from merchants in the Northern and Mission Districts and was recently caught on camera during a brazen shoplifting incident during which he placed merchandise into a bag and rode a bicycle out of the store.”
Police said they were able to link him to six prior shoplifting incidents from May 29 through June 17. Five of the six previous thefts took place at the same Walgreens location at 300 Gough Street, police said.
In a statement provided to Fox News after the San Francisco shoplifting video went viral, a company said they, like other companies, had “seen a dramatic increase in shoplifting incidents and losses from shoplifting since California sentencing laws changed in 2014 to make all theft below $950 a misdemeanor when it was previously a wobbler, either a felony or a misdemeanor based on prosecutorial discretion.”
The shoplifting video went viral as San Francisco deals with a thievery epidemic.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.