After complaints by local business about stolen goods being shopped on Market Street, the San Francisco Police Department has been running stings hoping to catch unwary bargain hunters.
It's all part of the Stolen Property Abatement Operation, and it's proving controversial.
While it would seem to make more sense to go offer the alleged perps by sending undercover cops to make purchases from shady street hawkers, instead it's the shoppers who are being arrested.
Tempting passerby with steep discounts on everything from jeans to drugstore staples, anyone who hands over money gets taken to jail charged with a felony.
For undocumented immigrants who may not even be fluent in English, just being suspected of a felony is enough to get a referral to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a possible deportation.
And really, is a pair of designer jeans really worth going to jail over -- especially when you can just wait a couple of months and buy them at Ross?
Photo by Wouter Kiel.
Jackson West hates to pay retail, but has never believed a "fell off the back of a truck" story in his life.