Grocery store installs monitors to deter baby formula thefts

Shoppers at the Kroger Grocery Store in Hermitage will notice a video monitor showing video of them as they walk down the baby aisle.

Baby formula has been a target of shop lifters in recent years. Some thieves steal the items for themselves while others steal the items to resell them.

“Items that shop lifters tend to go for are diapers, baby formula, over-the-counter medications and detergents,” Kroger Spokeswoman Melissa Eads said. “High dollar items such as that tend to be what shop lifters go after.”

A search of the Internet found sites where people posted ads offering to sell baby food at discounted prices.

In a Craigslist ad posted from Hermitage the seller offers 50 jars of baby food for $20.

In another ad posted from Lebanon the seller offers 65 jars of baby food for $30.

On a separate Web site a seller offered 39 jars of unopened baby food for $4.

Nationally, the items are often targets of organized retail crime rings, according to the National Retail Federation.

Kroger has added public viewing monitors to the baby aisle in its new stores and remodeled locations.

“I think it is helped,” Eads said. “When you raise awareness and people know that you are paying attention I think it has helped deter some potential theft occasions.”

Loran Hill is a mother of a 1-year-old and 2-year-old. She pays a lot of money in the baby aisle.

“I pay $400 a month,” she said. “That is between diapers, formula and food.”

Hill has noticed the video monitor over the aisle, but did not know why it was in the baby aisle.

“I wouldn't think people would steal these items,” she said.

Hill said other people who want to save money should do what she does. She clips coupons before heading to the store.

Other items targeted are laundry detergent, over-the-counter medication and beauty products.

According to the Congressional Research Service organized retail crime rings cost the retail industry between $15 and $37 billion annually.

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