Rantz: Downtown Seattle Target barely survives as shoplifting ravages store

The Target department store in downtown Seattle is being ravaged by shoplifters, with a staff member telling me the theft happens “about every 10 minutes.” He wasn’t kidding.

On a recent trip to the store at 2nd Avenue and Pike Street, I saw the staff confront two separate shoplifters within 12 minutes of each other. It’s so bad that it’s not just the Biden administration’s supply chain crisis that’s creating the empty shelves. And it’s so dangerous that customers can now only buy certain products online because they risk being mugged when leaving the store.

“The shelves are empty because we are not receiving deliveries. We need the shipments because they keep stealing,” an employee told me.

Shoplifting is out of control

Security personnel now stand guard at both entrances to the building. They started this practice after experiencing a wave of shoplifting. Some guards are off-duty or retired police officers.

Homeless men and women flood the target and steal what they can. In Seattle, they will not be arrested, arrested or charged for most thefts.

Even on a Saturday morning, when the store didn’t have many customers, a staff member told me that shoplifting happened “every 10 minutes or so” on either side of the store. The guards stop what they can without making the situation worse.

At 11:44 a.m. Saturday, a man came out of the elevator with what appeared to be household cleaners in his hands. He obviously hadn’t paid since the cash register on the top floor is at the other end of the store. As he walked towards an off-duty Seattle security guard, the suspect was arrested.

“No, no, no, give me that. Give me the spray,” the officer said to the man who dropped an item.

The officer was able to recover several of the stolen items, but the suspect appeared to walk away with at least one item.

At 11:56 a.m., on the second floor, I saw a staff member in the middle of a confrontation with a woman. The suspect was forced to pull stolen clothes from her bag as security looked on. Then security escorted the woman out. She was yelling insults all the time.

Sterile shelves throughout the store

No matter the section, customers are greeted with empty shelves.

There are few medicines in stock near the pharmacy. Household items – from cleaners to spatulas, towels to soap dishes – are nowhere to be found. Clothes are missing from the full aisles, and the electronics department displays virtually no product.

A staff member hinted that the supply chain crisis is impacting this target because, he said, they are still waiting for the shipment of products.

But he said the situation is dire because shoplifters “keep stealing”. He said it with a sigh, annoyed by what was going on inside his store.

Seattle Target takes more precautions

Therefore, some electronics are kept in the back instead of on the shelves.

But some items can no longer be sold in person. In the electronics section, a sign informs customers: “For the safety of our customers and our team, we do not currently activate prepaid cell phones.”

Another sign says customers can’t pick up game consoles in store.

“For the safety of our customers, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles are only available for purchase on Target.com and Target App via Order Pickup and Drive Up,” the sign reads.

There is security near the order pickup station.

It’s not organized crime

There is no doubt that Seattle stores are victims of organized crime. But Target and other stores in downtown Seattle are dying to death by a thousand homeless-induced cuts.

Wander the area, avoid the tents, used needles, and zombie-like homeless men and women wasting their lives in a “progressive” town unwilling to pass judgment (judging drug addicts is wrong , we’re told), and you’ll find that most retail stores need security at their entrances and exits to prevent homeless thieves from taking their products.

Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison presented a platform for prosecuting these crimes. But between the sheer number of them and the lack of police to even make arrests, there isn’t much she can do.

There’s probably little political will to prosecute the homeless in Seattle, anyway. Target is big business and therefore considered unworthy of support by elitist progressives in Seattle who don’t seem to care about the danger and burden their indifference places on low-income workers.

Downtown Seattle isn’t vibrant – it’s a hellish landscape of utter Third World misery; a forgotten part of town, despite a new mayor who says he’ll take matters into his own hands. What is Mayor Bruce Harrell’s plan? Maybe more press releases and press releases.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. To follow @JasonRantz to Twitter, instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.