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CBS46 News

Big box retail and grocery store chains are struggling to combat increasing shoplifting offenses in their stores.

One Atlanta grocery store has come up with a controversial solution for a decades long shoplifting problem: caged grocery store aisles.

Customers who enter the College Park Kroger in South Fulton, southwest of Atlanta, are confronted with a second set of doors and glass facade inside the store.

Customers argue that the glass enclosure is racist and makes them feel like caged animals. They worry that they will be trapped inside the enclosure with the criminals.

"I think it's kind of racist you definitely see that here on Old National," a mother of three told CBS46 News.

"You won't see that in Fayetteville or maybe Cobb County anywhere, doubt it," said the mother.

Others expressed their anger in social media posts featuring photos of the enclosure.

But some Atlantans agreed the security measure is necessary to prevent major grocery store chains from moving their stores out of high crime neighborhoods.

They see the cages as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. South Fulton residents who don't own cars would be forced to take public transportation to other neighborhoods to buy groceries.

The College Park Kroger store is the only one in the area with the controversial security installation.

CBS46 reporter Jamie Kennedy asked customers if they knew that shoplifting and theft were issues at the store. "Yes I have, I have, yeah, quite a bit," said a longtime Kroger shopper.

Other shoppers tell CBS46 that many people take things from shelves and use them in the bathroom without paying.

A South Fulton police officer who moonlights at the store said the College Park Kroger doesn't have more shoplifting incidents than other stores in the area.

In a statement to CBS46, a Kroger spokesperson was unapologetic:

"Thank you for reaching out to us. These changes are being implemented to help improve operational efficiencies, provide better inventory management and increase profitability. We take pride in keeping our shelves fully stocked with the items our customers want and need and we believe these changes, which are part of a pilot project, will help us do so."

Essie Grundy

Walmart has a huge shoplifting problem. Shoppers are walking off with black hair care products without paying for them. One Los Angeles store is combating the theft problem by locking up black hair care products in a glass cabinet.

But one shopper is crying foul. Essie Grundy says she is being discriminated against based on the color of her skin. She retained celebrity attorney Gloria Allred to represent her in a discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant.

Read more »

Shoplifter runs over her son

A Macon woman is in police custody after she ran over her 4-year-old son in the parking lot while fleeing the Houston County Galleria in Centerville.

The tragic incident happened on Thursday night, when a Belk loss prevention officer observed Arkebia Albury, 25, shoplifting inside the store.

The security officer followed Albury and her children, ages 2 and 4, into the parking lot, according to a report on Macon.com.

When he ordered her to stop, Albury jumped into her 2001 Toyota Camry and hit the gas, but only her 2-year-old had made it into the passenger side of the car.

As the officer pleaded with Albury to leave the 4-year-old until an ambulance arrived, Albury got out out of the car and picked up the injured child.

“She picks the little boy up and throws him in the car and drives off,” Centerville Police Chief Sidney Andrews said.

Police caught up with Albury's Toyota on Wilson Drive, near the mall. Emergency rescue personnel arrived and transported the child to a local hospital, where he is listed in critical condition with severe head and internal injuries.

“The child is in bad shape,” Andrews said. “It wasn’t looking too good.”

In addition to the 2 toddlers, Albury's sister and niece were also in the car. The women were not charged since they stayed in the car when the shoplifting occurred.

Andrews said he wasn't sure what was taken in the theft.

“I believe it was a couple of T-shirts. I do know it was clothing. It was a misdemeanor amount,” he said. “This certainly was not worth it.”

Albury is charged with with two counts of cruelty to children, reckless conduct and theft by shoplifting.

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