PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There has been a significant increase in criminal activity in liquor stores, with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission reporting that shoplifting claims in Oregon have gone up over 450% since 2018.

So far in 2022, there have been at least four robberies — the first in the state since 2019. There were two total liquor store robberies from 2017 to 2021.

At OLCC’s monthly meeting on Sept. 22, liquor store owners expressed concerns about recent thefts occurring in their stores.

According to liquor store owners, shoplifters and robbers have stolen goods, damaged businesses and threatened employees. Perpetrators have been armed with weapons such as knives, hammers and pistols.

The OLCC has also reported ‘serial shoplifters’ who have stolen cases as products on multiple instances, and shoplifters who then resell products in the parking lot.

Dan Miner of Hollywood Beverages is one owner who made a presentation to commissioners last week. He told KOIN 6 News his stores have been the target of three robberies this year, and several cases of shoplifting. 

Miner said he has filed dozens of online police reports for shoplifting, if not upwards of 100 this year. “I’ve never seen any response on an online report being submitted,” he said.

In addition to online reports, Miner has taken steps to hopefully prevent further cases of shoplifting. 

“We train cashiers to be observant. I try to increase the amount of staffing I have. I’ve done some analysis on the history of shoplifting incidents this calendar year and identified when the most frequent days and times of day, and then we try to adjust staffing to have our best foot forward during those times,” Miner said.

To offset the rise in liquor store thefts, the OLCC announced it has joined the Oregon Retailer Crime Association to offset the rise in criminal activity. OR-ORCA includes national and regional retailers, as well as local law enforcement and district attorneys who share additional information on organized crime operations.