Liquor thefts happen but not often - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Liquor thefts happen but not often

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- in June, liquor became available at private stores in the state of Washington. With that, came the fear of more robberies and shoplifting. It was a big selling point of the opposition of Initiative 1183, before the vote took place, giving teens more stores to steal from and easier access.

But a month into the change, stores seem to be managing just fine."There's been a little bit of an increase where before we never really did, because in Pasco we had just two stores," says Pasco Police Captain Jim Raymond.

But even though there's only been a few problems, they are completely new. "We didn't see it before because it was a little more difficult to do that in the state liquor control stores because there was one way in, one way out., and you had to walk past the cash register," says the Kennewick Crime Prevention Specialist Mike Blatman.

Captain Mike Cobb with Richland Police says the city hasn't had any problems so far. The new liquor store off George Washington Way says they work hard to keep it that way. "We do have a pretty tight security system, with cameras all over the store and the warehouse in the back. But we haven't had that problem at all," says Sabrina Greever who manages the store that's been open since June.

Her supervisor, Tonya Koski says the key is inventory control and keeping the staff on their toes. "When people leave the store without making a purchase, we automatically say our hellos and goodbye's when we come in when they leave and we check, just to see if they have anything else. People who come in with back packs, we ask them to leave those in the front," says Koski.

Many of the larger retailers have also put in sensor caps on top of liquor bottles, so they set off alarms if people try to steal them.