Some local grocery stores have a 'hands off' policy for shoplifters

WILMINGTON,NC (WECT)- People across the country must agree shoplifting from grocery stores is easy, after all, the grocery industry is losing billions due to theft and the high shoplifting rates are affecting the bottom line.

"The grocery business is one of the lowest profitable businesses anywhere-we operate on a 1% net margin on the bottom line and when they start tapping into that 1%- shop lifting, bad checks- it has to come back from somewhere, you have to be profitable enough to stay in business," said Piggly Wiggly store manager Daniel Teachey.

Stores are forced to cut jobs in order to get money back. According to the Wilmington Police Department, many stores in the Wilmington area have the "hands-off" policy. This policy means video cameras and extra employees on the floor can be a set of eyes, however, if a lifter is spotted no action is taken because of potential lawsuits that might ensue. As a result, many lifters leave scott-free and it is up for the police to watch the video footage and catch the thief later on.

This policy is not enforced at the independently owned Piggly Wiggly in Leland.

"Even lock the doors in some cases so they can't get out until the police gets here," said Piggly Wiggly store manager Keith Bullock.

This particular grocery store has seen a dramatic drop in theft over the years with their "no shoplifter left behind" policy.

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