Scores of shopping carts disappear from Waimalu shopping center

Scores of shopping carts disappear from Waimalu shopping center

AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At City Mill in Waimalu Plaza, monitoring the parking lot for shopping carts is everybody's job.

"I come out maybe a dozen times a day," said City Mill manager Caleb Hanisee. "If we happen to notice there's a wagon out there, somebody will go out there and put it in it's place."

There's a reason Hanisee is so protective of the store's shopping carts.

In September, when Hanisee took over as manager at the location, the store was supposed to have 50 carts.

"I wanted to make sure we had enough for Black Friday, the holiday season," she said. "But we had 14. Exactly 14."

City Mill wasn't the only business in the shopping center thieves targeted. The Office Depot and Safeway were also hit.

"A few times I've been in there and there are no carts," said shopper Dory Frantz.

A few months ago, the center's Safeway store had 100 wagons. Now they're down to just 40.

And it could take a quite while to replace the carts stolen. The store only buys new ones every six months.

"It's really irritating when you can't just use the basket," said Frantz.

Each cart costs about $250.

To protect the investment, City Mill and Office Depot now lock all carts inside their stores overnight.

Who's responsible for the thefts?

"I don't know if they are being stolen for any profit purposes," Hanisee said. "Customers take it. A lot of homeless obviously take it and put their belongings in it."

The Honolulu City Council recently shot down a bill that would have required retailers to install electronic wheel locks on every shopping cart, in a bid to discourage shopping cart theft.

Retailers said while they're frustrated with shopping cart theft, the bill would have cost them big money. Anti-theft locks and operating systems would cost about $200 per wagon, they estimated.

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