These Are Stores' Most-Stolen Items

Retail Shoplifting. Woman Stealing In Supermarket. Theft


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Retail Shoplifting. Woman Stealing In Supermarket. Theft
Baby Milk Formula and Baby Bottles

Infant Formula

According to 13% of retailers, infant formula is a prime target for thieves. The reason, experts tell CNN: It's a necessity that can nearly always be resold online for a quick buck. That was even more the case earlier this year when desperate parents scoured the internet for specific brands of formula they couldn't find in stores thanks to a widespread shortage. It makes them an especially easy mark for extreme price gouging, reports Curbed

Related: Formula, Fries, and Other Pandemic Shortages

Antihistamine medication or allergy drug concept photo. On doctor table is pack with word

Allergy Medicine and Pain Relievers

If allergy medicine or pain relievers are locked up at your local drugstore, you can blame thieves who are also targeting pricey pills for resale online, in some cases even in plain sight on Amazon, according to the Wall Street Journal. The same amount of retailers, 13%, say this is a major problem in their stores.

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liquor store
Bill Oxford/istockphoto

Expensive Liquor

It's no surprise that the "good stuff" is frequently pilfered from store shelves, with another 13% of retailers saying high-end alcohol is a favorite of thieves. 

Small Electronics

Laptops and Tablets

Pricey electronics are also cited as a major theft target by 13% of retailers. The CEO of Best Buy, Corie Barry, made headlines by saying workers are "traumatized" by increasingly brazen theft in her stores, and she has pledged to lock up more products and hire more security to combat the problem. 

Deodorant stick


Believe it or not, a slightly larger percentage of retailers — 15% — cite deodorant as a frequently stolen item. Like formula and over-the-counter meds, it's easy to resell since it's always in demand, and it's just the right size for slipping into a bag or purse.

Luxury handbags
Grosescu Alberto Mihai/istockphoto

Designer Handbags

More often than not, designer purses come with another stylish accessory these days: some sort of security tag. Theft of pricey purses is a problem for 16% of retailers. Just last summer, a gang of crooks smashed display cases and made off with designer handbags in broad daylight at a Neiman Marcus in San Francisco.   



Now we're in the big leagues: 20% of retailers say razors are often stolen from the shelves. The key here? An enticing size-to-price ratio that gives thieves more bang for their buck when they resell them, authorities say.

Tide Laundry Detergent
Tide Laundry Detergent by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

Laundry Detergent

Maybe somewhat surprisingly, 21% of retailers say laundry detergent is a frequently stolen item. The Atlantic has even detailed the brazen theft of this "liquid gold" — in particular, Tide — saying that it can be resold or even fraudulently returned for an easy buck. 

Related: Are You Making These Laundry Mistakes?

Woman's Hands Selecting Cloths in Fashion Store

Designer Clothing

No surprise here: Flashy designer duds are the No. 1 most-stolen item, with 34% of retailers reporting a problem keeping them on the racks. 

Related: 13 Dead Fashion Brands We Miss

Smartphone's on the counter of a electronics store

Other Frequently Stolen Items

Retailers also report issues keeping these items in stock, according to the NRF:

  • Jeans (11%)
  • Cigarettes (10%)
  • Teeth-whitening strips (10%)
  • Contraceptives (10%)
  • Cell phones (8%)
  • Energy drinks (7%)
  • High-end vacuums and appliances (5%)

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