Friday, November 2, 2012

Liquor shoplifting "epidemic" & increasingly violent

Updated 11/13/12

Here is another story about shoplifting of hard alcohol that some say is becoming "epidemic" and more violent.

The switch to private liquor sales has made it easier for shoppers to get their hands on booze, but it's also made it easier for crooks.

In the past several months, police have noticed a growing trend of brazen liquor thefts. The shoplifting has become so rampant that some say it's practically an epidemic.

"The shoplifters are more bold, they tend not to care and they're getting more violent with security officers," said assistant Seattle City Attorney Jana Jorgensen.

Law enforcement officials say the thefts are happening every day in every city at nearly every grocery store. A source claims one Queen Anne grocer has lost $1,000 a day since June. That's $150,000 in lost profits and stolen tax revenue for the state, and that's just one store.

"There is a number of rings out there working, stealing alcohol," said King County sheriff's office spokesperson Cindi West. "It's a quick way to make a buck and easy to get rid of."

And then there is this from the Seattle Police Department:

Major Crimes Task Force detectives have arrested six people as part of an investigation into widespread liquor theft in the Seattle area, including several people who were buying booze stolen from Seattle stores to resell to high schoolers and wedding parties.

. . . An 18-year-old . . . ordered up 120 supposedly stolen bottles of liquor from police. Detectives made their delivery, and immediately arrested the teen.

After his arrest, the 18-year-old man told detectives he was reselling the liquor to Seattle high school students.

As a result of Operation Cheapshots, detectives arrested six people, and booked four of them into the King County Jail for investigation of trafficking stolen property.

MCTF also recovered 451 bottles of liquor and 11 firearms as a result of the operation.

This provides a stark example of an unintended consequence of making a drug more available and easily accessible.

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