Why some Columbus Kroger stores are now requiring receipt checks

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Kroger has is now requiring receipt checks and prohibiting shoppers from carrying large bags at six Columbus-area stores, a move the grocery giant says is a response to increased incidents of theft. 

At the entrance of these stores, shoppers are greeted with a sign that tells them receipts are required when exiting the store; suitcases, duffel bags and roller bags are not permitted; and that Kroger reserves the right to search bags shoppers may bring in. The rules were effective May 13. 

Columbus Kroger locations requiring receipts: 

  • Short North at 1350 N High St. 
  • 3600 Soldano Blvd. 
  • Great Southern is at 3637 S High St. 
  • Northland Village at 1745 Morse Road 
  • Brewers Yard at 150 W Sycamore St. 
  • Bexley at 2000 E Main St. 

In a statement emailed to The Dispatch, Mark Bruce, a corporate affairs manager for Kroger, said safety is one of Kroger’s core values and that associates and customers have given positive feedback to the added security early in its implementation. 

Bruce did not say if there was additional security aside from the receipt checks and prohibiting large bags.

Checking receipts is common at certain retailers, including at Costco locations and some Walmart stores.

Possible rise in organized retail theft 

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce released a survey in September 2022 that found 62% of businesses surveyed said they felt like organized crime is stopping them from expanding. 

The chamber formed a task force in June to study how organized crime affects public safety and has since sent recommendations to Ohio legislators

Steve Stivers, CEO of The Ohio Chamber, said these theft rings’ goal is to steal high-value items and pawn them off later. He said they will also steal from multiple locations in a day to reduce any sentence if caught. 

The task force also found that stores in suburban areas of Ohio have seen a large increase in organized theft, especially if they are on the outer belt of a city and easily accessible. 

The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants has estimated that organized retail crime results in a loss of $2–3 billion in profits for Ohio retailers. The seriousness of the problem has been called into question since the National Retail Federation retracted a report last year that organized retail theft resulted in nearly half of $94.5 billion in losses in 2021. 

The federation said its analysis was flawed and based on false data, but still insists that organized theft is a serious problem and puts employees and customers in danger.

The Kroger grocery store in the Brewery District of Columbus is one of six locations that have recently increased security, including checking customers' receipts.

Kroger security guard shootings  

The increased security measures come as some Kroger locations have had violent incidents.

Last year, two security guards shot and killed two people at Columbus Kroger stores in separate incidents. The first, on Jan. 26, 2023, was when Richard Rush, then employed by Reliable Protection Services, shot Paris Royal during an altercation with Rush at the Kroger at 3600 Soldano Blvd. 

The second was a result of a line-cutting incident that led to a further argument in the parking lot at the Kroger at 1745 Morse Rd. One attempted to rob the other at gunpoint and multiple rounds were exchanged, resulting in no injuries. 

A private security guard, who was not named by Columbus police, then walked outside and shot Juan M. J. Cuarenta, who police identified as one of the robbery suspects. 

Certain Kroger locations, including all those that recently added receipt checks, have armed security guards.