SPOKANE -- Washington law enforcement authorities are concerned about a rise in liquor thefts since voters passed Initiative 1183 which privatized liquor sales.
The Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs wants to enact new regulations that would require all retail stores that sell liquor to document all theft.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said his main concern is booze getting into the hands of underage kids.
“You can literally walk away with alcohol now. It is that free access that means more kids have the potential of getting it now,” Knezovich said.
Russ Bydges, Regional Manager at Good Spirits in North Spokane, said his store does not have a theft problem. The business hired many of the employees laid off by the State after the passage of 1183, and managers said their employees do a great job of preventing shoplifters.
Bydges does not feel businesses should be required to take part in a mandatory theft reporting system.
“We're not kids. We're not just new to the business. We know how people act and react when they are in a local store,” he said.
Knezovich said the regulation would benefit businesses and help curb the theft problem, and that it would be up to the Liquor Control Board as to how often the businesses would have to report thefts.