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As retail theft soars in Washington, D.C., one CVS store is taking drastic measures to prevent its stock of toilet paper and other products from being stolen.
Instead of seeing packages of toilet paper on the shelf, at a CVS on H Street NE in the nation’s capital, you will only find framed photos of the product. The move comes in response to a spike in theft at the store, particularly among the homeless population, according to a report from WTOP News.
“It seems to be a case that people don’t care about laws or respect that anymore,” a tourist told the outlet. “In the United Kingdom, we are seeing shops closing down because they’re losing so much money from people shoplifting, which is obviously having an impact on the economy in general.”
Sources told WTOP that homeless people had been entering the store and stealing toilet paper and other products, prompting it to remove items from display. To get the products for purchase, shoppers need to press a button for assistance – something that’s becoming more common across the country, especially in Democrat-run cities.
Washington DC CVS replaces shelves of toilet paper with framed photos of products amid rising thefts
A CVS location in Washington DC was forced to wipe its shelves clean of toilet paper and replace them instead with framed photos of the products amid rising thefts in the… pic.twitter.com/mUfhQ6vfUj
— Owen Gregorian (@OwenGregorian) November 12, 2023
In 2023, there were roughly 4,922 homeless people in D.C., an 11.6% increase from 2022, according to the annual Point-in-Time count released in May.
According to a recent report from WUSA9, thieves ransack a separate CVS location in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C. nearly every day. Sources told the outlet that people leave the store with boxes of stolen goods daily, with staff saying that thieves will specifically target the store when it gets new shipments, stealing the product before it’s put out for sale. The result: near-empty shelves.
“I think it’s enforcement and the infractions are not tough,” a woman who recently bought a home near the store told the outlet. “A lot of times, it’s just a slap on the hand.” She also said she was reconsidering moving to the area, saying, “It’s getting worse. People get killed in front of the Metro, stores are robbed every single day. You can’t even find food.”
According to Fox Business, retail theft in the nation’s capital is up 68% over 2022, with more than 3,000 robberies taking place so far this year. At this point last year, 1,791 robberies had occurred, the outlet noted.
A CVS spokesman told WTOP that the company has no plans to shutter any of its Washington, D.C., locations.
In July, it was revealed that some stores in San Francisco began locking up their frozen foods section due to retail theft. One CBS News Bay Area reporter said that a Walgreens location was being robbed 20 times a day, prompting it to start locking up goods.
“Workers said normally shoplifters clean out all the pizza and ice cream every night. They’re usually hit 20x a day. The whole store is virtually locked up,” CBS News Bay Area reporter Betty Yu said in a post on X.
A video accompanying the tweet shows ice cream, microwave dinners, frozen fish sticks, and frozen pizzas in freezers locked with a chain. Additionally, rows of makeup, hair products, cleaning supplies, candles, laundry detergent, and other items are in locked cases.