Shoplifting is so common at a CVS in Washington, DC’s Columbia Heights neighborhood that residents are used to seeing empty store shelves. WTTG-TV reported.
“To be honest, I don’t feel like shopping there,” customer Ilana Miller told the station. “I just go in there and get my prescription, and then when I need other things, I go somewhere else because there’s nothing to get there.”
CVS employees told WTTG that dozens of children regularly enter the store to steal chips and drinks before school, after school and late at night. Additionally, employees were told that shoplifters actually know when new shipments of merchandise arrive at the store — and that these are the times when thieves target the store, according to the station.
Additionally, CVS employees told WTTG that street vendors allegedly pay people to steal merchandise so the items can be resold for a profit.
According to WTTG, a news crew strolled down 14th Street and passed street vendors selling items such as toothbrushes, men’s and women’s body wash, car freshener, and laundry and cleaning supplies – all items no longer available at the CVS store. However, there was no evidence that the items came from street vendors in the store, the broadcaster added.
Miller told WTTG that shoplifting “is bad, but they probably do it for a reason; They need these things.” However, she added to the broadcaster that “they shouldn’t just go in and clear the shelves because that’s not sustainable for the store.”
D.C. resident Gerald Darling pitched an idea to the station: “A lot of people can’t actually afford things at CVS. I’m not saying theft has to be the solution to this, but I don’t know, maybe if it is.” The city could provide unhoused or low-income people with more accessible resources to provide them with hair care, personal care and hygiene can offer – that could be an option.”
WTTG found that the Columbia Heights CVS has a security guard during business hours, but customers and employees don’t believe that’s enough and want the shoplifters prosecuted.
The station added that it reached out to CVS for this report but has not yet received a response.
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