Burglar uses electric saw to break into San Francisco newsstand, takes $20,000 in cash and merchandise

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You may have heard the quote: “Anything can be a weapon, if the man or woman who holds it has the nerve and the will to do so”.

In San Francisco, a burglar proves that everything can also be an instrument of burglary. On Sunday morning, surveillance video captured a man slicing through the iron railings of one of the city’s last newsstands with a circular saw. He goes through two doors in total, industrial locks and bars at the front door.

Once inside the 27-year-old magazine and smoking room called Smoke Signals, the burglar collected approximately $20,000 in tobacco products and emergency savings held in the store, as well as cash from a tip jar meant to go to a dog.

Fadi Berbery, the owner of Smoke Signals at Polk Street and Bonita Street, told ABC7 News he felt “attacked and desperate”.

He’s not alone – criminals are using saws to break into stores across the bay.

Nearby Smoke Signals, a local liquor store, was also recently robbed. The tool of choice? Another electric saw. It took two people about half an hour to get through the lock and gate with the saw, but they finally made it through and then got away with $5,000 in cigarettes. San Francisco police say they are not yet able to determine if this break-in and the Smoke Signals break-in are related.

Days earlier, a group of thieves broke into an Oakland cannabis dispensary using the back of an SUV as a battering ram and stole $21,000 worth of product.

Back at the newsstand, Berbery says it took almost a full shift for San Francisco police — nearly eight hours — to show up after calling for help.

“It’s so frustrating because they’re so daring to do these things,” Berbery told ABC 7. “Because they know the punishment is nothing compared to the loot they’re going to walk away with.”

Smoke Signals has an insurance policy that will help cover damage and loss, but it will not cover stolen emergency money. The store now has a GoFundMe setup, which you can find here.

Photo: Yelp

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