Sacramento Sheriff prevented from stopping theft by Walgreens, Target management

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(The Center Square) Sacramento’s sheriff claims local Walgreens and Target locations requested police assistance due to high volume of retail theft but his staff are being prevented from acting by the stores’ corporate headquarters.

Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper, a former Democratic assemblymember, said that employees of a local Walgreens asked for his department’s help to stop “repeat offenders, who continually shoplifted from their stores with no fear,” most of whom “were homeless individuals that set up camp nightly by the store.”

But “as a team of about a dozen deputies began setting up the operation, Walgreens’ corporate office refused to cooperate with our deputies making it impossible for us to carry out our operation at this Walgreens store.”

Cooper says he has faced similar difficulties with Target, which contacted his department “numerous times” to “help them with shoplifters, mostly who were known transients.” However, Target told his department they could not contact, handcuff, or arrest individuals within the store, and would have to do their work “behind the store” and “in the rain” because corporate management did not “want to create a scene” for people to put on social media and cause “negative press.”

Cooper then recounted a video at the store of a woman stealing a number of items, then immediately going to the customer service desk to “return” them.

“Target chose to do nothing and simply let it happen. Yet somehow, locking up deodorant and raising prices on everyday items we need to survive is their best answer,” Cooper said.

Cooper’s statements are consistent with other actions taken by Sacramento County leaders to address the region’s homelessness and crime. In September, Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho filed a lawsuit against the City of Sacramento for failing to enforce existing ordinances relating to homelessness.

“It’s not compassionate to allow unsafe conditions to fester so badly that a 14-year old boy cannot ride his bike to school or a group of little girls can’t play soccer on a field littered with needles. It’s not compassionate when someone in a wheelchair cannot use a sidewalk blocked by tents or a small business is forced to close forever due to repeated broken windows and vandalism,” Ho said in the lawsuit. “With this Action, the People of the State of California and the Victims seek to address the unhoused crisis in a compassionate but balanced approach that requires the City of Sacramento to consistently enforce the law, keep our streets clean and safe.”

Neither Walgreens nor Target responded to inquiries by the time of publication.

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