Small businesses in San Francisco suffering from repeated break-ins amid pandemic

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Small business owners in San Francisco said their empty storefronts have become easy targets for vandals and burglars, and the thefts are a symptom of a much larger problem.

"So you’re seeing this like, this growing issue of crime and lawlessness that’s being unchecked," said Rory Cox, standing in the middle of his empty gym YuBalance in Noe Valley. Recently, he said someone smashed open a lockbox with keys inside, but didn’t actually break in.

"It cost me like 500 bucks, but I changed the locks," Cox told KCBS Radio.

His location in the Inner Sunset was also hit.

He said someone broke in and stole a speaker.

As the founder of the San Francisco Small Business Alliance, Cox said that he’s been getting calls from business owners all over the city, such as Paul Lim.

"They were able to get in, broke two glasses, stole from register change and the iPads for our online ordering system," said Lim, who owns Twisted Donuts and Coffee.

Restaurant owner Johnny Metheny runs Toy Soldier and Tin Cactus in the Financial District, which have been boarded up since the summer.

"We had two restaurants side-by-side, each one has had break-ins, they jimmied through to get inside, both times they stole quite a bit of alcohol," Metheny said.

He said the criminals know there are empty spaces with no one around, and no authority is going to arrest them. Cox doesn’t expect police to make any arrests, but really hopes someone at the city will step in.

"I mean, this is just too much," he added.