The Shoplifting Blues


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Once upon a time, up here in the United States, we used to call shoplifting stealing. But recently, shoplifting has been the latest episode of “No justice, no peace.” In other words, there are many blue city district attorneys who don’t think that shoplifting is worth arresting the culprit. Let them steal, and let the corporate cats eat their losses.

Well, it turns out that the corporate cats have limits and can’t just sit back and let their stores get sacked. This story was published in the Daily Mail the United Kingdom, where, not surprisingly, shoplifting is still considered a crime:

“Major retailers in the United States have been forced to shut down stores due to millions of dollars in losses as rampant theft plagues big-box stores across the country,” the article, written be Kamal Sultan, read.

“Last week, Walmart announced it will shut down four of its stores in Chicago just weeks after America’s biggest employer shuttered its only stores in Portland.”

The Daily Mail article went on to say that these closures have come just as “shoplifting reaches alarming levels and other large retailers, including Target, Macy’s and Best Buy, are now making good on threats to shutter outlets if petty crime was not lowered.”

The article offered solid financial background as to why these major retailers are shuttering their stores.

“In 2021 (U.S.) retailers lost a combined $94.5 billion to shrinkage, a term used to describe theft and other types of inventory loss. And organized retail crime incidents soared by 26.5 per cent in the same year, according to the 2022 National Retail Security Survey,” Sultan wrote, who noted that along with brazen daylight thefts, self-checkouts have also made it easier for people to walk out without paying for items.

“Progressive district attorneys in cities like Chicago, New York, Portland and California have also been blamed for effectively legalizing shoplifting with either not prosecuting thefts under $950, or letting criminals off with a slap on the wrist.”

The Daily Mail then proceeded to list all the U.S. big-box stores that had been forced to close their doors after being savaged by rising theft, including two large corporations that have actually gone bankrupt as a result of such pilfering, Best Buy and Bath, Bed and Beyond.

Who knew that uncontrolled shoplifting and allowing criminals to run out of stores with jewelry and whiskey bottles would eventually translate into stores closing their doors for good? Where did we hear that before?

Of course, it’s more than closing stores to shoppers. A retail store hires people and pays taxes. In many locations, the chain pharmacy that closes may have been the only drugstore around.

There are broad consequences to shoplifting. As stores close in major cities, local governments will lose the tax base that pays for a lot of social services. The bottom line is that the community will lose.

Just another shining example of “go woke, go broke.”

SILVIO CANTO, JR. is a Cuban-born U.S. citizen who teaches English at a north Texas college. He is the author of the book “Cubanos in Wisconsin” and has a daily online radio program and blog dealing with U.S. and Latin American politics, as well as sports and historic events, and is a regular contributor to American Thinker.

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