An Australian singer-songwriter and TikTok Star says he was robbed at gunpoint of about $30,000 (£21,866) worth of equipment while visiting San Francisco.
Clinton Kane, 22, who grew up in Australia and the UK and has gathered a huge YouTube and TikTok following for his songs, joked that he would never return to the city after the ordeal, which left him shaken and confused.
It comes as San Francisco and its neighbouring Bay Area struggles with a spate of thefts, shoplifting, break-ins, robberies and fatal shootings that some describe as a pandemic crime wave.
Mr Kane told ABC 7 that he and two friends were shooting a documentary in San Francisco's marina district at around 3pm on Friday afternoon when they heard glass shattering and noticed men breaking into their car.
Despite having arrived in town only hours before, he his two friends gave chase, only for the three robbers to pull out guns.
Mr Kane said: “I had a gun to my face for the first time in my life. I was peeing my pants very aggressively –not actually, but in my head I was – and it was very weird, very confusing.
“I don’t really know what was going through my head at the time. I had so much adrenaline and so much confusion and just so much shock and fear.”
Holding his hand directly in front of his face, he said: “It was literally right here, and I was on the floor with my hands raised with my other mate.
“After that happened I didn’t really know what to do, so we quickly ran back into the restaurant, inside the kitchen, and just crawled. I don’t really remember anything that happened because it’s all very quick.”
He joked that he would never again visit to San Francisco, then said that though he is returning for a tour in December, he plans to not bring anything expensive.
The San Francisco Police Department did not respond to a request to confirm the incident.
San Francisco has suffered a string of theft since the pandemic began, with viral videos showing brazen raids on cars, supermarkets and department stores. The pharmacy chain Walgreens said it is closing five shops in the city due to organised shoplifting rings.
Many have blamed Left-wing district attorney Chesa Boudin for not properly pursuing criminals, as well as California’s 2014 referendum that classified shoplifting goods worth less than $950 as a misdemeanour, against heavy retail industry lobbying.
However, city officials have disputed that narrative, saying that while assaults and murders have increased, property crime has fallen by 5 per cent, and suggesting Walgreens might have other reasons t close shops.
Data from the San Francisco Chronicle shows that the closed Walgreens reported less than two shoplifting incidents a month on average since 2018, and the chain had already said in 2019 that it would shut 200 stores before 2022.