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Home / Technology / Technical dealer B8ta closes 2 SF stores after robbery under gun

Technical dealer B8ta closes 2 SF stores after robbery under gun



Consumer electronics retailer B8ta has temporarily closed two San Francisco stores, the latest shot coming after an armed robbery on Wednesday in the Hayes Valley location in the middle of a violent crime.

Security camera footage shows a man with a scooter entering the store and flashing a silver pistol at the store manager, who moves back. The man, who is wearing a mask and baseball cap, takes two laptops and leaves the shop on the scooter.

B8ta chief Vibhu Norby said crime has gotten much worse this year in San Francisco. Last month, a masked man “apparently drug” took an $ 800 product and ran out, he said. Separately, another man entered the store’s back room and damaged products and broke a sign, according to a police report. At Union Square, two women stole several bags last month, according to a police report. That store is also now closed, and all incidents are under investigation, according to San Francisco police.

Burglary, classified as forced-entry theft or threats, has taken place in San Francisco over the past year, with closed stores and homes becoming popular targets during the pandemic. Across the country, burglary jumped by 50.9% in 2020 to 7,487 cases compared to 4,962 cases in 201

9, according to police. In the department’s northern district, which includes Hayes Valley, burglaries increased by 44%.

There is another obstacle for dealers who were forced to close for several months during the pandemic, and who now have restrictions on occupancy. Many customers have switched to online ordering, which reduces foot traffic.

B8ta’s advanced products include laptops and speakers worth thousands of dollars, and robbery has been a problem since the Hayes Valley store opened in 2017. But recent events, culminating in a shooter in the store this week, made it impossible to keep the store open. , In Norby. An unarmed security guard was powerless to stop the robbery.

Violent crime is not a problem in the company’s stores outside of San Francisco, which include other metropolitan cities such as Palo Alto, Corte Madera and San Jose. “This does not exist elsewhere where we have stores,” he said.

Video: B8ta

Some even smashed a window in the company’s store at Chase Center last month, which is a block from police headquarters, but was thwarted by another glass pane.

Norby said it is disappointing that some of San Francisco’s top shopping areas have become dangerous, and he wants to reopen stores when it feels safe.

“Hayes is one of the best shopping streets in town,” he said. Union Square is next to the Hermès luxury store.

He asks city officials to prioritize security in the areas.

“I do not have a solution for you, but I have a challenge, which is to keep this block safe for a month,” said Norby.

The city’s Office of Economic and Labor Development said it linked B8ta to Union Square’s Community Benefit District, which works with local vendors on public safety and other services, and to Northern Station Police Captain Paul Yep.

“We are sorry, Mr. Norby and his staff have had to experience this. “Our hope is to continue to bring down the COVID-19 cases so that we can resume the reopening of the economy and start letting people return to the corridors to shop and eat, and make them safe,” the agency said.

“This is a very worrying development, and our office has been in direct contact with the owner, as well as the SFPD and the district attorney, in response. We are committed to addressing this issue and ensuring that the neighborhood’s businesses and their workers are protected, “said Superintendent Dean Preston, representing Hayes Valley, in a statement.

B8ta has raised more than $ 93 million from investors, including Macy’s and Khosla Ventures, in an attempt to envision retail technology products, but the pandemic ravaged the business. The company laid off more than half of its corporate employees and beat around 250 retail workers in March last year. Many workers have been re-employed, and the company was helped by a $ 2.26 million loan in the Paycheck Protection Program, Norby said. The company now has around 130 workers.

“We have found ways to make ends meet. We are definitely not out of the woods, ”he said, predicting that it will take a year for things to recover.

In March last year, the company closed its San Francisco office and changed the mailing address to the warehouse in Austin, Texas, but Norby intends to keep B8ta’s headquarters in San Francisco, where he lives, and hopes to eventually reopen the closed stores.

“SF is such a great city, it would be a shame not to have a shop here,” he said. “We’re not leaving.”

Roland Li is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: roland.li@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rolandlisf




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