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Wichita, Kansas: Retail Theft Crisis Sweeping the Midwest July 06, 2023 (0 comments)


Wichita, KS--Retail theft, a mounting problem in urban cities, is plaguing the unlikely locale of Wichita, Kansas. Victoria's Secret in Wichita is reportedly losing $30,000 monthly to shoplifting. Cabela’s in the city is facing significant losses, too, surpassing other stores nationwide.

[Image via Pixabay Commons]

According to a CNN report, retailers nationwide are threatened by organized, audacious thefts, forcing some to close their doors. It's a nationwide issue infiltrating the Midwest, specifically Wichita, a city known for being the birthplace of Pizza Hut and The Coleman Co.

“I’ve lived in this city my entire life and to see this much retail crime, it’s shocking,” admits Captain Casey Slaughter of the Wichita Police Department's property crimes bureau, as per the report.

The report noted that Kansas Attorney General, Republican Kris Kobach, labels retail theft as a spiraling issue within Kansas. His claims are backed by 2021 data revealing a loss of about $642 million through stolen merchandise in the state. According to Kobach, one significant driving force behind this crime wave is drug addiction, specifically fentanyl.

The report noted that retail crime has spiked by 34% in Wichita compared to the previous year, reveals Captain Slaughter. Items frequently stolen include high-end clothing, Lego sets, jewelry, footwear, cosmetics, sporting goods, power tools, and Tide detergent. The merchandise often reappears on online marketplaces or smaller stores, sold for quick profits.

According to the National Retail Federation, the nationwide merchandise "shrink," or losses due to theft, fraud, and damage, reached an estimated $94.5 billion in 2021, attributing half of the losses to large-scale theft.

The situation in Wichita is further compounded by a growing drug crisis, with off-duty police officers being hired for added security, yet theft continues.

As per the report, one specific concern is the growing fentanyl addiction in Kansas, ranked second in the nation for drug overdose deaths in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report noted that, addressing a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Kansas Attorney General Kobach pinpointed the shortage of prosecutors and lenient theft prosecution laws as exacerbating factors. However, a new law on July 1 will equip the state AG with more power to prosecute organized retail theft, marking a new attempt at countering this spiraling issue.

Learn more in the entire CNN report.

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