Stolen shopping carts have proven a challenge for Kamloops RCMP but headway is being made, Cpl. Jodie Shelkie said today.
Police have received numerous complaints from businesses that their shopping carts were being stolen and being used on local streets by unknown persons, she said.
“Reports from other business owners indicated that people, utilizing stolen shopping carts, were blocking customers from accessing their stores and forcing people to leave the sidewalk.”
This past spring, RCMP surveyed businesses and learned that most suffered customer inconvenience due to a lack of available carts and a financial loss from stolen carts that are never recovered. All businesses advised that permission is never given to remove carts from their property, said Shelkie.
“In conjunction with community partners; the RCMP attempted to resolve the issue through voluntary returns to businesses. Arrangements were also made with Bylaws to facilitate a person’s effects being securely stored by the City for two weeks, allowing time for alternative solutions.”
Acting Mayor Arjun Singh noted in Tuesday’s council meeting that media reports about confiscation of shopping carts had caused concern by a well-known street person. He said he’d talked to the man and assured him he wasn’t being targeted.
A fundraising campaign has raised more than enough money to buy the man a cart, and Singh said hopefull it won’t be stolen from him.
Thirty-three stolen shopping carts have been returned to businesses between June and September. Shelkie said seven carts were seized from one man alone despite repeated warnings and requests to cooperate. Police have not recommended criminal charges throughout the process.
“We want to be as fair as possible to the people using these carts. That is why we have given as much notice as we could through our partner agencies and verbal warnings to persons possessing stolen property, said Shelkie.
“However, at the end of the day, these shopping carts are stolen property that the stores want back. As well, there is a public safety issue when pedestrians have to walk on the roadway to avoid carts on the sidewalk.”