ROTHENBURGER – Solution to disappearing shopping carts remains elusive

Abandoned shopping cart at homeless camp under the Red Bridge. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

GOING ON FOUR YEARS after shopping carts became a high-profile issue, there’s still no solution.

In 2017, RCMP embarked on a crackdown on shopping-cart theft, seizing carts from the homeless and returning them to their rightful owners.

It seemed like a proper approach. Police were getting a clear message from businesses. A shopping cart costs about $250. Taking one off the store property is a crime. Such theft costs merchants a great deal of money.

So, between  June and September of that year, 33 carts were returned to local businesses. It was intended as a good-news story but public reaction was very different than what was expected. People were outraged by such treatment of homeless people.

Social media went ballistic. It even came up at City council. Police backed off. Everything returned to the way it was before. Today, shopping carts keep disappearing from parking lots and turning up in the darndest places, just like they always have.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8956 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Solution to disappearing shopping carts remains elusive

  1. It couldn’t be that much public money to address this issue or at least “pilot” some possible solution…nothing fancy, just a nice cart with color and balloon tires to get over the snow banks…multi-season type thing. The option of doing nothing…that certainly has to change.

  2. Bill Hadgkiss // February 13, 2021 at 7:54 PM // Reply

    Maybe those kingpin steering garden shop wagons, only $80 a few years ago, could be modified to serve new uses.

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