Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Authentic San Francisco Sign Reading 'Stolen Goods Must Remain Under $950' -- It Was 'Prank'

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Authentic San Francisco Sign Reading 'Stolen Goods Must Remain Under $950' -- It Was 'Prank' Not Official

Is a San Francisco street sign that reads "NOTICE: STOLEN GOODS MUST REMAIN UNDER $950" real? No, that's not true: The office of the mayor of San Francisco said the sign was not approved by the city. Nearby Louis Vuitton associates labeled it a "prank." The original poster of this claim wrote on X that the signage was not legitimate.

The claim appeared in a post on X, formerly Twitter, (archived here) on June 30, 2024 with the caption reading, "San Francisco, where theft is fully legalized 👇." The post included a photo of what appeard to be a street sign bolted to a light pole outside a Louis Vuitton store. That sign read:


This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-07-01 at 8.00.08 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Mon Jul 1 13:41:14 2024 UTC)

The post does not mention which San Francisco Louis Vuitton location this sign was supposedly near. Lead Stories searched online for Louis Vuitton locations in San Francisco and found there are two stores, one in a mall and the other -- in Union Square -- with an outside storefront.

The phone number on the website for the Union Square location does not lead to the store, but to a "client services" line at an unspecified location, according to an individual we spoke to when we called the number on the website.

Lead Stories emailed the mayor of San Francisco's office and received a reply on July 2, 2024. It read (underlining by mayor's office):

Upon learning about these signs communicated by our community and merchant partners this past Saturday, we worked with our departments to check around the neighborhood. The crews did not locate any physical sign nor the sign(s), if physically put up as a hoax, was/ were sanctioned by the City and County of San Francisco.
If found, they would have been removed immediately but the departments didn't see any.

We called Loro Piana, the store next door to this specific Louis Vuitton, and spoke with an employee there. The Loro Piana employee, who did not want to be identified by name, told us in a July 1, 2024, phone call that the sign was a "prank." She said:

I don't see anything out there now. I went to Louis Vuitton and asked them. They said apparently it was a prank over the weekend. There were signs posted around Union Square.

Below is a screenshot of Loro Piana and Louis Vuitton on Google Maps. In the upper lefthand corner, highlighted in red by Lead Stories, is the Union Square locale:

Screenshot 2024-07-01 at 2.08.23 PM.png

(Source: Google Maps screenshot taken on Mon Jul 1 18:10:25 2024 UTC)

An advanced search (archived here) on X led to the first post that included the photo with the purported sign. On June 29, 2024, @Jewtastic posted the claim on X with this caption, "California - Signs are posted to alert criminals they can happily steal with zero consequence as long as the goods are worth less than $950 dollars." They followed up this post with a disclaimer (archived here):

It's not real - but it could be. That's the law in California now.🫶

Both posts are pictured below:

Screenshot 2024-07-01 at 3.31.11 PM 1.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Mon Jul 1 19:36:26 2024 UTC)

Screenshot 2024-07-01 at 3.33.20 PM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Mon Jul 1 19:37:18 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories also contacted the San Francisco Police Department and will update this article when a relevant response is received.

Other Lead Stories fact checks on claims concerning California can be found here.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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