Shoplifting by organized retail crime rings is on the rise
That really good deal you found online may in fact be hot merchandise stolen by organized retail crime rings. Shrinking profits at Kroger are in part due to rising levels of theft.
That really good deal you found online may in fact be hot merchandise stolen by organized retail crime rings. They work year-round, not just during the holidays, to make money. Some of the more popular items they steal and sell include P&G’s Tide and Mach 3 razors, according to UC adjunct professor Karl Langhorst, who used to oversee Kroger’s retail asset protection and others. He also was asked by Procter & Gamble to talk to European stores about such theft to sell its products.
“This isn’t a shoplifting issue. This is an organized crime issue that has multiple tentacles and impact potentially the life of citizens in Cincinnati,” says Langhorst.
In the most recent Kroger earnings call, CEO Rodney McMullen talked about rising levels of theft.
It and a host of other stores were victims in an organized crime ring run by a father and daughter in Georgia. They and their employees stole billions of dollars of stuff over a decade and resold it on the internet.
In another brazen crime, a Kentucky man walked out with an entire jewelry display at Kohl’s in Georgetown, Ky.
Part of the problem is a patchwork of state laws that let some shoplifters off easy. Langhorst is pushing for federal laws and testified before a U.S. House subcommittee.
He says many cities are in denial there is an organized retail crime problem. “It may not have reached the level of Los Angeles yet, or Chicago, but it is happening here (Cincinnati) and it absolutely impacts you.”
A 2020 survey by the National Retail Federation reports organized retail crime issues continue to pose a problem with major retailers reporting over $60 million in losses.