Retail crime rings selling stolen booze to restaurants, bars



SEATTLE - Since liquor sales went private, thieves have stolen tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of liquor from local stores, but authorities said the thefts aren’t always random.


According to the Northwest Grocery Association and the Seattle City Attorney, the bulk of the thefts are being committed by organized retail crime rings.


The liquor is then being sold to restaurants, bars and clubs which are hoping to avoid paying the high prices and taxes.


Since liquor is now sold at grocery stores, it’s more accessible and easier for someone to walk in, grab a bottle off a shelf, and walk out.


Many stores tell their employees not to chase after thieves for safety concerns.


The city attorney said some grocery stores are losing as much as $1,000 a day in stolen liquor.


Grocery stores are trying to figure out how to thwart the thefts.  Some stores have the high-end bottles in locked cabinets. Others put security caps on all bottles.


Some consumers said they’re concerned the thefts will drive up prices.