WA. State liquor retail stores may be forced to keep records of liquor theft

CLARKSTON, WA - According to Police Chief Joel Hastings, Clarkston is no different than the rest of the state as liquor theft is up in Washington with a dramatic rise since the passage of Initiative 1183.

KLEW news learns why state groups are pressuring the Washington State Liquor Control Board to take a hard look at the problem.

At the Clarkston Heights Family Foods Liquor store, stealing isn't an issue.

"There's no point that we can't see, and there's always somebody manning the store," said Clarkston Heights Family Foods Manager Julie Thomas. "If not, the store's always locked."

They run this place like a state-run liquor store, there's only one entrance and minor's aren't allowed without a parent so their shrink rate is practically nothing.

It's a case that's pretty rare in the state of Washington following the passage of Initiative 1183, which shut down state run liquor stores and paved the way for liquor sales in grocery stores. According to Clarkston Police Chief Joel Hastings, it's mostly minors who are stealing more liquor than ever. However, Hastings suggests that the statistics haven't been properly assessed yet.

"Either because of shrinkage or because they're missing alcohol or they have no suspects," said Hastings. "So it's not reported to us and we have no idea just exactly the extent of the problem at the retail stores because it's unreported."

The issue remains a topic of concern that the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs are pressuring the State Liquor Control Board to take care of, through mandatory record-keeping of theft.

"So once we have that data and we know what the problem is we can start talking about solutions to the theft problem," said Hastings.

Hastings said that alcohol is easily accessible to minors now, but regulations could change that if the state decides to takes action.

Minors in possession of alcohol risk losing their license, among other monetary penalties.
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