News Updates

‘Why Everything in Walgreens Is Suddenly Behind Plastic,’ by James D. Walsh

— Christopher Cox, features editor, New York

If you’re wondering who is responsible for more and more of the items in your local pharmacy winding up in little plastic security boxes (known as “keepers”) or behind locked Plexiglas screens (a.k.a. “showcases”), New York’s James D. Walsh has identified the culprit: you. In a masterful bit of reporting, James traces how an item stolen by a shoplifter to pay for a drug habit makes its way to a fence who will “clean” it and then sell it online. Join him as he unpicks the multiple strands of an e-fencing kingpin’s empire in New York, including an army of boosters who raided stores throughout the city. If you’ve purchased a deeply discounted skin cream or designer shirt on Amazon or eBay, you’re an indispensable part of this process, though it’s the fences who are getting rich — one recent bust involved more than $10 million in stolen goods. They’re also the only ones doing real jail time, at least for now.
Fort Walgreens The recent spike in shoplifting is both overblown and real. And almost everyone is profiting from it (including you).
Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow; Photos: Marcus McDonald, Getty Images
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