San Francisco Whole Foods had more than 560 emergency calls prior to closing store due to crime, drugs

"Male [with] machete is back. Another security guard was just assaulted."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Employees at a crime-plagued San Francisco Whole Foods Market that was suddenly shuttered after just a year in business were routinely threatened with weapons and had to call 911 hundreds of times, according to a new report.

The New York Times discovered records of 568 emergency calls to the Market Street store over 13 months. Incidents included vagrants throwing food, starting fights and even defecating on the floor. 

According to one 911 call, staff reported that "Male [with] machete is back. Another security guard was just assaulted." Another caller said security guards at the store were assaulted by a man with a knife, who then sprayed employees with a fire extinguisher.

One man overdosed on fentanyl and methamphetamine in the bathroom in September. At least 14 people were arrested during the 13 months the Whole Foods downtown was open.

Criminals were seen coming out of the store with massive amounts of alcohol. Over 250 baskets were stolen. After the store stocked another 50, those also went missing.

The store reduced its operating hours in October due to the high number of thefts and violent incidents and in November, the store changed its bathroom rules after workers found syringes and other drug paraphernalia.

Complicating matters was that the San Francisco Police Department has lost over 330 officers since 2017. The department’s staffing level of approximately 1,500 officers is short of its goal of 2,100 officers.

At the time of the store's closure, company officials told The Standard, “We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being. If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location.” A source at City Hall told the outlet that drug use and crime near the chain's 64,737 square feet “flagship location” were the reasons for the closure.

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