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Manitoba Liquor Mart thefts continue despite more than 2 dozen arrests

Winnipeg police have arrested those responsible for the majority of Manitoba Liquor Mart thefts, but police say the problem is far from over.

Police and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries drew attention to a dramatic rise in Liquor Mart thefts in at a press conference in August of 2018, particularly over the summer.

However, since then, MLL and the police have continued to work together to tackle the problem, said Susan Harrison, spokesperson for MLL.

“As a result of these efforts, more than 25 top offenders who are responsible for committing the majority of thefts at our Liquor Marts have been arrested as of December 31,” she said in an emailed statement to Global News.

“Talking about security and anti-theft policies in a public forum compromises the safety of our staff and customers and undermines the effectiveness of solutions to the problem … we will not be providing any additional comments on our current security policies or any changes we have implemented or are considering.”

From January of last year through August, police responded to just under 1,200 Liquor Mart thefts and robberies, said Cst. Jay Murray at the time.

“It’s a figure that’s been rising over the last year. It’s one that’s substantially risen,” he said.

“Thieves are getting pretty brazen, often they’ll resort to using weapons to commit their act, to commit the theft and escape.”

Murray said the booze thefts were proving to be a drain on police resources, and several thefts continued after the August press conference, some of them violent.

In one case, police said teens threw bottles of booze at a security guard in a bid to escape, hitting the man in the head.

Murray said he couldn’t confirm if theft numbers were down, even anecdotally.

“We continue to investigate Liquor Mart thefts and as a result, we continue to make arrests.”

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