Saturday 7 October 2023

DC resident: If city can provide 'hair care' products, other toiletries for 'unhoused or under-income folks,' then rampant CVS shoplifting may end

 Shoplifting has become so commonplace at a CVS in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., that residents are used to seeing bare store shelves, WTTG-TV reported.

"It makes me not want to shop there to be honest," customer Ilana Miller told the station. "I just go in there and get my prescription, and then when I need other things, I go elsewhere because there’s nothing there to get." 

CVS staff members told WTTG that dozens of kids regularly enter the store to steal chips and drinks before school, after school, and late at night. In addition, employees have been told that shoplifters actually know when new merchandise shipments arrive at the store — and those are the times when thieves target the store, the station said.

What's more, CVS staffers also told WTTG that street vendors allegedly are paying people to steal merchandise so that the items can be resold for a profit. 

WTTG said a news crew strolled down 14th Street passing by street vendors selling items such as toothbrushes, men's and women's body washes, car fresheners, and laundry and cleaning supplies — all of which are among items no longer available at the CVS store. But there's no evidence the street vendor items are from the store, the station added. 

Miller told WTTG that shoplifting is "bad to do, but they’re probably doing it for a reason; they need those things." However, she added to the station that "they shouldn’t just be going in and clearing the shelves because it’s not sustainable for the store."

D.C. resident Gerald Darling floated an idea to the station: "A lot of people can’t actually afford things in CVS. I’m not saying stealing has to be the solution to that, however, I don’t know, maybe if the city could provide more accessible resources to unhoused or under-income folks who can provide them hair care, bodily care, hygiene care — that could be an option."

WTTG noted that the CVS in Columbia Heights has one security guard during business hours, but customers and employees don't believe that's enough and want to see the shoplifters prosecuted.

The station added that it reached out to CVS for this report but hasn't yet heard back.

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