No, the city of San Francisco didn’t post signs saying stolen goods must remain under $950 (2024)

Signs posted in San Francisco that appear to take aim at a state law known as Prop 47 were real. But the city didn’t approve or install them, as viral posts suggest.

California lawmakers are facing mounting pressure to crack down on retail theft, a problem that some say has led to major store closures in the state and some products being locked behind plexiglass.

In late June, photos of signs that appear to reference a controversial law known as Proposition 47, which downgraded the penalties for petty theft offenses, went viral across social media.

The photos show signs that say “stolen goods must remain under $950” outside of Louis Vuitton and Dior stores. People who shared the photos said they were taken in San Francisco and suggested that city officials posted them.

One person wrote in a viral post on X, “Is this sign for real? Is San Francisco really this far gone?”

THE QUESTION

Did the city of San Francisco post signs saying stolen goods must remain under $950?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

No, the city of San Francisco didn’t post signs saying stolen goods must remain under $950 (1)

No, the city of San Francisco did not post signs saying stolen goods must remain under $950. The signs were real, but city officials did not post them and they have since been removed.

WHAT WE FOUND

Signs posted in San Francisco that said “stolen goods must remain under $950” were real, multiple sources told VERIFY. But city officials did not post the signs and they have since been removed.

Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said he’s aware of two “illegal signs” that were posted, adding that the city did not put up the signs and removed them within 24 hours. The San Francisco mayor’s office and a spokesperson for the city’s public works department also said the city did not approve these signs or install them.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department confirmed to VERIFY that an “unauthorized sign was posted and was immediately removed upon discovery.”

An employee at a Dior store in San Francisco’s Union Square, which is shown in the photos, also corroborated these statements about signs in the area being removed.

It’s unclear who may have posted the signs in San Francisco. But their message appears to take aim at Proposition 47, a California law enacted in 2014 that reduced penalties for some non-violent drug and petty theft offenses.

Proposition 47 has been the subject of various false claims over the years. We previously VERIFIED that the law doesn’t allow people to steal up to $950 in merchandise without consequence.

The law created a new misdemeanor offense called “shoplifting,” which is punishable by up to six months in county jail and or/a fine of up to $1,000.

Shoplifting is defined under California’s penal code as “entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed $950.”

Charis Kubrin, Ph.D, a professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine, previously told VERIFY that Proposition 47 does allow for the prosecution of shoplifting and other petty theft crimes — just as misdemeanors instead of felonies.

"If the police do not make arrests for these misdemeanor crimes and prosecutors do not prosecute them even when the police do make an arrest, that is not the fault of Proposition 47 itself," Kubrin said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • No, you can’t steal up to $950 worth of merchandise in California without consequence under Prop 47
  • Yes, the Hyundai and Kia class action settlement over theft losses is real
  • You can’t write off stolen property on your federal tax return – with very limited exceptions

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No, the city of San Francisco didn’t post signs saying stolen goods must remain under $950 (2024)

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