RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Liquor thieves are targeting Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) stores in large numbers. 

Data obtained by 8News shows there were 2,881 shoplifting incidents at ABC stores from January 1 through June 30.

Over 9700 bottles of alcohol were stolen with a total value of $551,662.

“Retail shrink is a growing national issue and Virginia ABC sadly is not immune to that problem.” Virginia ABC Public Relations Specialist Pat Kane said. 

Less than a month ago, Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards told reporters that shoplifting at ABC stores was contributing to a rise in crime in Virginia’s capital city. 

“ABC stores, for whatever reason, are being targeted and thieves are walking in and just walking out,” Edwards said. 

One store in Portsmouth was robbed 116 times, losing over $21,000 in liquor. Meanwhile, in Williamsburg, a thief made out a bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac worth $4,699.99. Kane says, as a result, security changes are being made. 

“Another item that we are doing is really looking on a store-by-store basis, what are those top stolen, top pilfered items and can we move them within the store to make them less visible to thieves, to reduce the inventory of those specific items,” Kane said. 

Despite the high number of thefts, ABC has no plans to lock up valuable products. 

“This is a balancing act that all retailers are looking at, which is how do you make the store open, friendly, a positive shopping experience versus how you reduce those theft opportunities,” Kane said. “Locking up products is part of that discussion, but we are not moving in that direction at this specific time.” 

It’s important to note that these statistics only include thefts by the public. ABC says it doesn’t keep track of employee thefts.