DC Harris Teeter bans certain bags, now checking receipts to fight theft

Harris Teeter is the latest big box company forced to change their polices, responding to rampant theft in the District

The changes begin Wednesday, April 24th. Reddish signs at the entrances of the stores are warning customers.

A spokesperson for Harris Teeter told FOX 5 in a statement: 

"Effective April 24, we will implement improved safety measures at stores in District of Columbia, including the checking of receipts as customers exit the store and a new policy prohibiting suitcases, duffel bags, oversized backpacks and roller bags. 

READ MORE: DC retail crime concerns prompt Safeway to install security gates

These measures will help us maintain a safe shopping experience and continue providing the best service and goods at competitive prices to our customers. We thank our valued associates and customers for their cooperation and patience."

The spokesperson tells FOX 5 ‘s Stephanie Ramirez, Harris Teeter has experienced an increase in theft.

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DC Harris Teeter bans certain bags, now checking receipts to fight theft

Last year, the president of Giant Foods raised possibly having to close a needed Southeast D.C. Giant supermarket in response to rampant theft. They ended up not closing the store. However, other measures like hiring more security and closing off multiple entrances and exits were implemented to address the issue. 

READ MORE: Giant Food president shares crime concerns and added safety measures

Just this past winter, FOX 5 reported on Safeway adding safety gates to at least two of their D.C. locations. 

Various CVS Pharmacies across the greater DC-area have locked-up their products in response to several grab and dash incidents. 

A spokesperson for Harris Teeter says a third-party company will be doing the checks. That same spokesperson explained when theft happens, it forces the store to absorb the losses. That could mean increased prices for customers. 

READ MORE: Columbia Heights CVS plagued by crime closing in February

The move got mixed reactions at the Navy Yard location Wednesday morning. Some left upset and felt it took too much time. Others were happy with the move. Some tell FOX 5 while checking receipts at the bigger stores like Costo is regularly done, they’re not sure if the action will have the same impact on customers and business at the M Street SE location. Others blame large juvenile gatherings, and the parents allowing them to do so. 

A video went viral at the Navy Yard CVS last week, claiming teens had ransacked the pharmacy. D.C. Police did announce one arrest since. A 16-year-old is charged with burglary, theft, and assault on a police officer. 

While violent crime is currently down in the District, theft is still up about 3% from the same time last year. 

D.C. Police reported a little over 3,600 theft incidents so far this year.