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Washington State Wants Liquor Retailers To Track, Report Thefts

Tom Banse
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The privatization of liquor sales in Washington this year is having an unintended side effect: increasing theft of booze. In Olympia Friday, lawmakers quizzed top managers of the state Liquor Control Board. The agency's deputy director, Rick Garza, says there are now five times as many liquor outlets in the state than before privatization. "We've been hearing it -- like all of you -- in news reports and anecdotally that there are organized crime rings that are going into large grocery stores and coming out with carts of hard liquor." Garza says the association of sheriffs and police chiefs has asked the state to require liquor retailers to track and report all of their thefts and losses. Garza says the state liquor control board supports that idea as an initial step to get a handle on the problem. First though, he says retailers and the public will have a chance to comment on this proposed data reporting rule. On the Web: Washington State Liquor Laws and Rules (Washington State Liquor Control Board)

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.