Police Chief Shumate says that while the ordinance is not in place, there is still a shopping cart theft law that his officers can and will enforce.
We have more on this from Police Chief Shumate.
Last month, I had the opportunity to meet with several business owners and managers who utilize shopping carts for their establishments. The ongoing concern was the challenge of keeping their shopping carts within the boundaries of their respective properties. Often times, employees from the businesses are required to search the city to recover their shopping carts so customers can use them.
Businesses report the loss of thousands of dollars each month due to stolen or damaged shopping carts. Of those that are found, the shopping carts have to be repaired and sanitized before being placed back into use by customers. The City expends a great deal of police and public works staff time recovering abandoned shopping carts as well as disposing damaged or unidentifiable carts.
While the City looks at certain ordinances to help address this problem, the Aberdeen Police Department and the City Code Enforcement Officer will start enforcing the existing State Law regarding Shopping Cart Theft (RCW 9A.56.270). It is our intent to issue warnings up until January 1, 2019; after that date, violations of the Shopping Cart Theft statute will be pursued and the impounded shopping cart will be returned to the appropriate business.
Select businesses who allow customers to utilize shopping carts for transport of goods to their nearby homes, and return the shopping cart at a later date, should have written authorization from the store owner or manager.
While our patrol focus will continue to be handling normal calls for service and combating illegal drug activity, the enforcement of this statute will be expected by the City’s Code Enforcement officer, our patrol division, and the department’s Animal Control/Limited Code Enforcement Officer. We are in the final stages of filling that latter position.