New crime trend hits Capitol Hill grocery stores: milk shoplifting

0124_Medosweet_1_comboIn recent weeks, CHS has heard some peculiar dispatches on East Precinct police radio regarding an unusual crime target: milk.

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.

8 thoughts on “New crime trend hits Capitol Hill grocery stores: milk shoplifting

  1. I found out, last fall, that it was common for the twinbrook cream to be stolen. (I had gone in and they were out of the cream I wanted). Yesterday, I went into the QFC (at the north end of broadway) to buy the twinbrook half and half . . . and they didn’t have it! I didn’t talk to anyone, but from the way the stock was set up, it looked as if they aren’t going to carry it anymore . . . . I’m guessing that since the easier, smaller bottles are no longer on the shelf, the thieves are making due with the next size up. It sucks, because I much prefer the glass jars (i.e. no polyethelene coating, and smaller energy footprint).

  2. Alright people, is this just an ad for Twin Brook Dairy??? This article is making me thirsty for some whole milk.

  3. no way, I hope QFC doesn’t stop carrying this bottle of milk. I just recently got a job that pays well enough for me to eat healthily, and I started buying this milk a month ago!

  4. There seems to be no end to the various schemes and scams that drug/alcohol people come up with to satisfy their habit.

  5. Some local chains have stored their empties outside of the store overnight. As a result, I’ve seen tweakers returning upwards of fifteen bottles at once. I think everyone caught on, cuz it hasn’t happened in a while.

  6. Liquor thefts are rampant at the Uptown QFC where I work nearby. It’s open 24 Hours and the thieves hit at night leaving the bottle security caps laying in the shrubbery in front of my office. I see sometimes dozens a week.