Drug stores, small shops and big-box stores have all been hit so hard by shoplifting in recent years that it’s understandable they’re doing everything they can to prevent the crime.

It’s no longer uncommon for drug store patrons to see a security officer stationed at the front door or to find items like razor blades and high-priced shampoos secured in locked cases.

But one new shoplifting prevention method being employed at the Walgreens at 300 E. Cornwallis Dr. is causing some double takes for late-night shoppers who enter the store.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 31, shoppers at night are greeted with a sign that states, “Attention. We will NOT be able to allow ANY large purses or bags in the store at this time.”  The sign also apologizes for the inconvenience.

However, it is once inside the store that shoppers notice the drastic change: Every night now, the store removes the shopping carts and hand-held baskets in an effort to prevent thieves from using those to shoplift.

A store employee said the step was just one more prevention method implemented at that store and noted that that particular measure may not be practiced at other Greensboro Walgreens locations since the other locations in the city are not open all night.

It’s a sad state of affairs because this latest not only prevents shoplifting but also reduces the amount of shopping that can be done by paying customers.

The Walgreens, like many stores across Greensboro, has been hit repeatedly by shoplifters.

In one notable case, in September of 2021, a man – now known as the “Body Wash Bandit” – entered the Walgreens with a large tote bag walked straight to the personal hygiene section in the back and stuffed the bag full of body wash and related products.

According to some internet sites devoted to combating shoplifting, personal hygiene items have a relatively high resale value at flea markets and other places where ill-gotten gains may be sold.