In multiple shoplifting incidents, police have been called to the QFC stores along Broadway to reports that thieves had left the store without paying for multiple bottles of milk — in one incident last week, a brazen thief stole eight glass half-gallon bottles.
Liquor theft at area supermarkets is a daily, sometimes hourly occurrence — for example, a man was busted last Wednesday night with a $12.99 bottle of Caluge Chateau concealed in his jacket. Stealing milk, on the other hand, seems to be a relatively new phenomenon.
And it’s apparently not related to the rising price of organic dairy. Here’s one hypothesis offered by a follower on Twitter: “They are stealing the twinbrook glass milk –the ones with the $1.95 cash deposit per bottle no receipt needed.” There goes our theory about bandit baristas.
A spokesperson for QFC parent company Kroger confirmed the thefts and that “shoplifters do it for the $.05 refund” but said milk isn’t “a high theft item” for the chain.
UPDATE: Larry Stap of Twin Brook Creamery said his family’s dairy business is aware of the theft and says it often comes in waves as stores figure it out and find ways to solve it.
“I’m disappointed that people are so desperate for a dollar that they’ll steal like that,” the head of the five (going on six) generation dairy family said.
He said that some stores have stopped stocking the smaller pint bottles in response to theft. He also said it appears theft in general is a greater issue for the grocery chains in Washington as they’ve added liquor to their shelves.
For now, however, Stap says the bottled business is doing just fine and he’s pleased with the family’s 2007 decision to diversify and begin bottling their own milk instead of selling it off.