Minors Stealing More Hard Liquor, But Beer and Wine Thefts Are Down

It’s been well documented that the retail theft of booze has skyrocketed since liquor sales in Washington went private. Some stores have reportedly seen $1000 a day in booze disappearing out the door, destined for back-alley car trunk transactions or the stockroom of a local bar looking to cut costs.

It’s safe to assume that some of these liquor thefts are the work of minors, drunk on the new possibilities for scoring booze in our post-privatization world. So does that mean the cost of prosecuting these increased minor booze thefts has also skyrocketed?

Here at The Daily Weekly we received a tip to that effect recently, indicating the cost of prosecuting minors for booze thefts had the potential to negate some of the savings for taxpayers expected to be realized once the state got out of the booze business.

At least in King County, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Speaking with the King County Prosecutor’s Office Press Secretary Dan Donohoe this morning, he says that while underage booze thefts are up - how much is uncertain - that the spike has been balanced out by a drop in beer and wine thefts. Furthermore, says Donohoe, most of these cases end up in diversion anyway, so “at least from our perspective,” there hasn’t been a noticeable increase in the cost associated with prosecuting them.

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