Oahu's shopping bag ban could be having an unintended consequence

Oahu's shopping bag ban could be having an unintended consequence
Updated: Jul. 11, 2018 at 10:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's suddenly become quite common for people to walk out of stores carrying individual items or see people filling their own bags while shopping after a bag ban went into effect on July 1.

Under the ban, retailers must charge at least 15 cents a bag. Shoppers also have the option of not purchasing a bag at check out.

But businesses say the new law makes it makes it much tougher to spot thieves.

"They're not asking for bags and they just have items in their hands and they're walking out of the store," said Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

Yamaki said others who bring their own bags use them as cover to sneak items out.

"Some of the reusable bags...we see them coming in now and loading them up and running out the door when people," Yamaki said.

Yamaki said they are partnering with law enforcement to come up with a plan to combat this spike in thefts.

City Mill is among the stores that have become stricter with security since July 1st.

The chain has asked associates to be more visible on the floor and has become more vigilant with bag checks.

"Basically we ask customers who are carrying large backpacks or bags, to check them in as they enter the store. We give them a claim ticket, it's held securely behind the registers," Shannan Okinishi, City Mill Marketing Manager said.

It's an adjustment under the new ban which was enacted in an attempt to save the environment.

It's also an adjustment to the new opportunities for crooks.

Shopper Helen Deberard supports the ban and carries a reusable bag with her nearly everywhere, but she hopes there can be a compromise so retailers won't suffer.

"They work hard. Retailers, they work hard all day and they shouldn't shouldn't be losing," Deberard said.

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