Abandoned Shopping Cart Problem

Rida Cabanilla
Rida Cabanilla
Carol Pregill
Carol Pregill

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Stealing shopping carts is illegal, but that fact doesn't stop hundreds of carts from showing up all around Oahu.

Thursday, the House Committee on Economic Development heard arguments about what to do with all those lost carts.

In an effort to rid Oahu from the eyesore of abandoned shopping carts, one state representative wants to penalize retailers for their lost property.

"I think it's a deterrent. It's not a 100% solution," Democratic Representative Cabanilla said. She represents Waipahu and Ewa.

Rida Cabanilla proposed the bill that would allow the refuse department of Honolulu County to confiscate abandoned shopping carts and then impose a $50 pick-up fee on the carts owner.

President of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, Carol Pregill, said "Our members would gladly go and pick up a useable shopping cart, even a somewhat disabled shopping cart, because a lot of effort goes in to repairing them."

Pregill represents over 2,000 businesses. She says the bill would fine the victims of a crime and not the people who are stealing the shopping carts.

"Corporation council with the police department, retailers, grocery stores, to come up with a solution that's workable for everybody and essentially not penalize the victims of the crime," Pregill said.

"There are solutions, it's just making them do what's right for the community," Cabanilla said.

Companies have already come up with ways to keep their property.

Some retailers, like Walgreens, prevent theft by using $200 carts, the carts come with locking wheels that once you cross the line, they lock up and won't let you go any further.

The bill was deferred to the county and the debate will continue.