Manitoba Crown agency dealing with rising thefts of booze from liquor stores

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba Crown agency is suffering a financial hangover over the rising amount of booze being stolen from provincial liquor stores.

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries says over the past 12 months the losses amount to $525,000.

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That's up more than $200,000 from the previous 12-month period.

Andrea Kowal, a spokeswoman for the agency, says thieves are walking into Manitoba Liquor Marts, taking multiple bottles, and walking out with them.

Winnipeg police say there have been more than 1,277 liquor thefts in the city so far this year.

Kowal says employees and security guards have been told not to physically confront thieves out of concern for their safety.

"We're not tackling them or catching them at the time they're in the store and what we want to convey is that is dangerous," Kowal said Wednesday.

"We're working with police to arrest them afterwards."

Kowal says staff are trained to verbally engage suspected thieves.

The agency is also trying to thwart thefts by pulling some premium products off the shelves and requiring customers to ask an employee for help in making such a purchase.

The Crown corporation said it has also tried using bottle locks but found them to be ineffective. (CTV Winnipeg)

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