Empty CVS store shelves

Store shelves at a Washington, D.C.-area CVS are bare – but not because thieves have gotten to the products.

In fact, employees of the store in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood are being proactive, clearing shelves of merchandise before they can be stolen by thieves who reportedly re-sell the goods.

“According to staff who work there, 45 or more kids are regularly going in to steal chips and drinks before school, after school, and late at night,” Fox 5 DC reported. “CVS employees have been alerted that thieves are aware of when new shipments come in and that’s when they target the store. They also say that street venders (sic) are allegedly paying people to steal so they can re-sell it and make a profit.”

CVS store shelves bare as thieves in DC plan robberies around delivery times, workers say https://t.co/O4YMnhroYZ pic.twitter.com/ZnryH8IpeV — Allison Papson (@AllisonPapson) October 4, 2023

Reporter Sierra Fox noted that, after a walk down the street from the CVS store, vendors were seen hawking items for sale such as “toothbrushes, men and women body wash, car fresheners, as well as laundry and cleaning supplies – which are some of the same items no longer available inside the CVS,” though there was no direct evidence linking the merchandise to the stolen goods from the  However, there is no direct evidence that those goods came from the local retail store.

The situation has made shopping challenging for local customers, to say the least.

“It makes me not want to shop there, to be honest. I just go in there and get my prescription and then when I need other things, I go elsewhere because there’s nothing there to get,” Ilana Miller, CVS customer, told Fox 5 DC.

The CVS store reportedly has one security guard who works regular business hours but customers feel it’s not enough and are calling for thieves to be prosecuted. Surprisingly, while area residents are concerned by the thefts some also expressed sympathy for the shoplifters as well.

“I’m stuck. I mean, it’s bad to do, but they’re probably doing it for a reason, they need those things, but they shouldn’t just be going in and clearing the shelves because it’s not sustainable for the store,” Miller told the outlet.

“A lot of people can’t actually afford things in CVS, I’m not saying stealing has to be the solution to that,” another resident, Gerald Darling, said. “However, I don’t know, maybe, if the city could provide more accessible resources to unhoused or under-income folks who can provide them hair care, bodily care, hygiene care – that could be an option.”

With the alarming increase in store thefts and other crimes in Democrat-run cities across the nation, many retailers are locking up merchandise to stem the bleeding. There is also a mass exodus, it would seem, as many just close up shop and depart the neighborhoods, leaving residents to find their groceries and supplies at fewer available locations.

But the choice by CVS to get ahead of robberies by securing goods may be another option in the battle.

Social media users were appalled by the situation, with many offering their own solutions. Even Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 presidential candidate, had some advice for CVS.


I’ve signed strong anti-crime laws in Florida, and as a result, crime is at a 50-year low. Washington, DC, should try Florida’s approach and hold criminals accountable. https://t.co/gsd3Lode0Q — Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 4, 2023




So robbers know the planned times and CVS doesn’t let the police know the planned times they are being robbed? Makes perfect sense. — MFran (@MaryAva97836604) October 4, 2023




Don’t make any sense. What’s the use in restocking the store. Close it down. — Terry King (@RiverdaleKingz) October 4, 2023




Hide GPS trackers in some high-value items and let them get stolen. Police then raid wherever they end up. Done. — Snow Bumble (@CJGarrett9) October 4, 2023




Any DC resident who voted Democrat voted for this. — John C. Randolph (@NSResponder) October 4, 2023