Getting Tough on Shopping Cart Crime
By George Anderson
City officials in Rialto, Cal. want shopping cart thieves to know that crime doesn’t pay, but it sure can cost you if you’re caught with a store’s property off the lot.
People walking off with shopping carts had become a real problem for retailers having to pay for replacements. The community didn’t think they did much for Rialto’s appearance and removing the carts cost Rialto time and money. There were also concerns about safety issues with carts winding up in the street.
Sgt. Craig Crispin, Rialto’s code enforcement supervisor, told the San Bernadino Sun, “We were getting a whole lot of citizens calling, upset about shopping carts at bus stops and high-density multiunit housing areas. People have had it.”
As a result, Rialto passed an ordinance aimed at hitting shopping cart thieves right in the wallet. Getting caught with a shopping cart off a store’s lot will cost you $150.
The town charges merchants $26 for every shopping cart recovered plus a $5 a day storage fee.
Merchants, say officials in the program are happy to pay the fees to recover carts and less carts are being taken because of the high cost of borrowing one.
Officer Dave Hernandez is charged with enforcing the shopping cart code. Since he began issuing summons in January, Officer Hernandez said he’s gone from handing out 10 or more a week to just one or two.
Moderator’s Comment: How big an issue is shopping cart theft for the retailing industry? Do you agree with Rialto’s approach to solving the problem?
Aren’t retailers being required to pay for recovered stolen goods? –
George Anderson – Moderator