HAMPTON BAYS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Who knew?
A typical grocery store loses about $10,000 a year in stolen shopping carts. But one suburban supermarket is already exceeding those losses, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.
Police said brazen thieves with no holiday cheer in their hearts have made off with more than 100 grocery shopping carts from a Hampton Bays King Kullen supermarket in the past two weeks.
Carts typically cost anywhere from $75 to $150 each. Some take them for convenience and abandon them, creating environmental concerns.
“It is a significant loss. At $150 per cart, we’re talking a $15,000 loss,” Southampton Town Police Chief Steve Skrynecki said.
Police said with homeless populations growing, others use them for their worldly possessions.
But detectives on Long Island are investigating criminal rings, stolen grocery shopping cart enterprises, known for breaking carts apart, selling for scrap metal and even repurposing. They can have high resale value.
“At this point with this volume and some other intelligence that we have, we believe that this is probably a ring of people or an organized group of individuals who are taking these carts for the purpose of either scrapping them or reselling them. We’ve seen this in other place on Long Island recently,” Skrynecki said.
“They’re just takin’ ’em, breakin’ ’em up and puttin’ ’em into metal bins,” a customer speculated.
So who pays for those stolen carts? The store’s other shoppers in the form of higher prices.
Some of them told McLogan they haven’t seen anyone lurking about, furthering the mystery. The supermarket is now forced to lock and chain its carts at night.
“It’s crazy. I mean, why would somebody do something like that?” one customer wondered.
“I think it’s a prank. What would someone do with 100 carts?” another said
“They do their shopping and push the cart all the way back to their house,” another person said.
Town police county police and King Kullen are offering cash rewards in an attempt to find the thieves. They hope tipsters will lead them to the suspects.