DC: Organized retail crime keeps increasing despite end of pandemic

Attacks on CVS stores in D.C. and Maryland are the latest example of what retailers call an “infuriating crime trend.”

Gangs of grab-and-go thieves continue to strike the region’s CVS stores as the retail industry battles a skyrocketing epidemic of what experts call “Organized Retail Crime” (ORC).

The crime trend, which gained momentum during the pandemic, according to corporate loss experts, has not slowed down. According to the most recent National Retail Federation Retail Security Survey the incidents were up 26.5% in the previous year according to merchants who answered the survey questions.

But a CVS executive recently told AXIOS that his chain has suffered a 300% increase in the aggressive form of shoplifting since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Beyond the loss of goods, these incidents are increasingly alarming,” the survey reported. “Eight in 10 retailers surveyed report that the violence and aggression associated with ORC incidents increased in the past year.”

A recent case at a CVS store on Sangamore Road in Bethesda Wednesday was caught on video posted to social media.The thieves targeted high end LaRoche/Posay sunscreen cosmetics.

On Ebay, some LaRoche Posay products sell for nearly $50 each. Retail loss experts say much of the stolen product is resold online.

According to Metropolitan police reports the Bethesda store is just a 9-minute drive from a CVS on MacArthur Boulevard in the District that was also struck Wednesday.

A Massachusetts Avenue Store in the District was hit three times in four days during late April, according to police reports. In those cases thieves targeted Tide detergent and Febreeze products and got away with more than 300 items in one incident, according to a DC Police report.

“Bystanders should immediately call 911 to report the incident,” Montgomery County Police said in a statement after Wednesday’s incident. “We encourage everyone to be aware of their surroundings at all times and if they see something, say something.”

The statement aligns with social media reports from people claiming to be CVS employees posting company policies.

“Members of store management are no longer allowed to attempt to recover product from customers who are shoplifting,” read a screen grab of an email a person claiming to be an employee says was distributed by company managers. “Nor are they allowed to attempt to detain and/or apprehend customers that are shoplifting.”

CVS says it will not comment on the post or the recent incidents in the D.C. area.

But a person claiming to be a retail employee chimed in on Reddit.

“The reason we don’t have security is that it increases the amount of ‘aggressive’ shoplifting — i.e. they’re more likely to use their weapons,” the poster wrote.

Others claim stores are simply “waving the white flag of surrender.”

A Walmart executive told MSNBC that theft is leading to rising prices and some store closures. He called on prosecutors to get aggressive on organized shoplifting cases.

The losses are nearing $100 billion per year in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation.

Police have issued no suspect lookouts or advisories in the recent local cases.

Article Link



National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators Federal Tax ID: 52-1660752 / DUNS Number: 073539913

Copyright © 2024 - NADDI. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy / Trademark Policy / Copyright Policy / Refund Policy

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account