Local News

Police looking for shoplifting numbers to crack down on liquor theft

SPOKANE, Wash. - 23461716

Washington's top cops want to know how much liquor is being shoplifted from grocery stores so they know where to focus their efforts. The problem is, stores aren't required to release that information.

Local Safeway stores are finding themselves the target for shoplifters more frequently thanks to a combination of store policies and the way liquor is displayed, but they're not the only ones.

On the first day the Spokane Rosauers on 29th began carrying liquor, a young man ran out the door with a bottle in each hand. Now a year and a half later liquor theft is still a problem, and often responsible for shopliftings that turn violent.

"We're concerned not only for the employees and loss prevention officers who are contacting these suspects, but also the public that might be around when the incident is occurring," said Spokane Police Sergeant Lydia Taylor.

So now stores like Safeway and Rosauers are asking Spokane Police for help stemming the flow of shoplifted booze.

"We have gone through stores and given them tips about location, placing alcohol in certain areas and making it harder for suspects to shoplift," explained Taylor.

Police say ideally, all grocery stores would have a separate area for liquor sales like a Yoke's Fresh Market.

"It works so well for us, we have very little theft and loss. If the gate is open there is someone here manning it and watching people," said Yoke's employee Moose Lindsey.

Yoke's does admit that the separate department probably hurts their sales, but says they want to do what's best for the community and that they receive a lot of positive feedback from customers.

"I get compliments on the way we fun our facility all the time," said Lindsey. "People are very appreciative of the fact that we do as much as we can to keep it from walking out the door or getting in the hands of younger people."

The Safeway Corporation has not responded to KXLY's inquiry about their shoplifting numbers, but that could also be changing. Washington's legislature may soon be asked to pass a law that would make reporting liquor losses mandatory.