Report: Shoplifting increases at West Ashley Ulta Beauty

A West Ashley beauty supply store is reporting thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise in recent years.
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:09 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:57 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A West Ashley beauty supply store is reporting thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise in recent years.

Thieves have cost Ulta Beauty in West Ashley’s Westwood Plaza more than $54,000 in the last three years -- and that’s just the merchandise that’s been reported stolen.

One of the store managers says the most recent incident happened Sunday night.

According to shoplifting records from Charleston Police Department across all of the stores in Westwood Plaza, more than half of the total incidents have come from Ulta Beauty. The stolen items range from cosmetics to hair care products, but the vast majority are fragrances. The total lost value is over $54,000.

The managers at the West Ashley Ulta say out of the four stores located across the Charleston area, this store gets hit with the most crime.

“The vast majority of our shopliftings are being committed by a very, very small number of individuals and they are repeat offenders,” Justin Kursh, Administrative Sergeant of the West Ashley Patrol Division for Charleston Police Department, said.

Kursh says if someone obtains three property-related offenses in their lifetime, it becomes a property crime enhancement. This is a 10-year felony.

According to South Carolina law, shoplifting incidents less than $2,000 in value are a misdemeanor and anything greater than $2,000 is a felony. Kursh says any kind of property-related offense contributes to this advanced charge.

A store manager explained that in their company policy, they cannot stop someone from physically walking out with stolen product. She says they must take inventory of what was stolen, report it to corporate and then they have to report it to police.

She also mentions that her store’s general manager has started an open discussion with the other four Ulta Beauty locations in the area about how to combat this issue. She says they tend to notify the other immediately after their store gets hit.

Ulta Beauty’s vice president of public relations, Eileen Ziesemer, provided this statement about the reports:

We can confirm there has been an increase in incidents at our Charleston store location. We are actively working with local law enforcement as the safety of our guests and associates is always our highest priority. Beyond those active partnerships, we provide safety protocols. trainings, technology and tools for our store teams’ daily use.

The store says all Ulta locations should see protective glass over their fragrance sections by the end of this year to prevent any more thefts.