Manitoba

2 men charged after 132 thefts from Winnipeg liquor stores

Police have charged two people in connection with numerous thefts from Winnipeg liquor stores but say that will only make a minor dent in a growing problem.

Police believe the majority of the booze is being sold online and to friends and family

Since the start of September, there have already been 95 thefts from liquor stores, and 1,277 since the start of the year, police say. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Police have charged two people in connection with numerous thefts from Winnipeg liquor stores but say that will only make a minor dent in a growing problem.

The thefts by the two men, both 18, were not connected, police said.

One of the men has been charged with 52 thefts that occurred between Feb. 14 and Aug. 20. Police said he would select several liquor bottles and exit the store without making any attempt to pay.

He was tracked to a house in the 400 block of Alexander Avenue and arrested on Sept. 10, police said.

The other man has been charged with 80 thefts between March 19 and Sept. 7; he also gathered bottles and simply walked out, police said.

He was arrested on Tuesday at a house in the 500 block of Mountain Avenue.

Police spokesman Const. Jay Murray said there have been 1,277 reported thefts from liquor stores in 2018. The police don't have numbers from 2017 for comparison, but Murray called it "a significant increase" based on conversations with investigators.

Just since the start of September, there have already been 95 theft reports, he said.

Police believe the majority of the booze is being sold online and to friends and family.

Although the crime is soaring, Murray said it is inevitable the thieves will get caught. There are top-notch video surveillance systems in those stores "that rival the best of what we have in Winnipeg," he said.

"It's not a crime you're going to get away with for long."

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