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More booze thieves targeting Systembolaget

TT/The Local · 29 Jul 2009, 09:33

Published: 29 Jul 2009 09:33 GMT+02:00

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Billig whiskey, Vodka Explorer and Marinella are among the (cut-price) brands that are popular among thieves in the region of West Sweden, according to a report in local newspaper Göteborgs-Posten (GP).

Since the introduction of self-service stores around 10 years ago reports of theft have exploded.

A decade ago, when products on sale were kept in glass cabinets and behind the counter, 93 cases of shoplifting were reported in West Sweden. In 2008 this number had escalated to 536 in the region.

The most common profile of a Systembolaget shoplifter is a homeless person or alcoholic who has been refused service in a store.

"It’s a real failure on the part of Systembolaget. It’s a huge problem when alcohol falls into the wrong hands and they are fundamentally failing to fulfill their responsibilities," Vidar Aronsson, head of the Swedish Youth Temperance Society (UNF), told the newspaper.

Public health officials are also critical of the alcohol monopoly for not doing enough to ensure its products only end up in the hands of responsible consumers of legal age.

"It’s obvious the company is having problems living up to the task of not selling to drunks if there is a lot of theft. It’s an unwanted effect of increased accessibility," said Sven Andréasson of the National Institute of Public Health (Statens folkhälsoinstitutet – FHI), to GP.

"It awakens cravings in all of us. If you have money you buy more, if you don’t have money, you steal."

Story continues below…

Despite criticism, however, the state-owned monopoly does not intend to rebuild its stores and return to counter-service.

"Self-service stores have other advantages. You have to take the good with the bad," Systembolaget's press spokesperson Lennart Agén told the newspaper.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:05 July 29, 2009 by byke
Doest this chain have security guards?
11:13 July 29, 2009 by bocale1
"It's an unwanted effect of increased accessibility"... increased accessibility??? are those guys aware that in most of the countries alcohol can be bought 24/7 in normal supermarkets and, nevertheless, people drink less that in Sweden? Is that difficult to start thinking that over consumption of alcohol has very much to do with culture and education and quite little with its availability?
11:31 July 29, 2009 by byke
I wonder if we see an increased amount of drinking in nordic countries based on mental happiness?
13:42 July 29, 2009 by StuartD
Silly headline. I mean, where else in Sweden are "booze thieves" going to target...?
14:10 July 29, 2009 by Mucker
bocale1, by "increased accessibility", they are probably referring to the fact that the booze is now out in the open in the shops. A few years ago, you had to go up to the counter and tell the cashier what you wanted. They would go to the stock-room and get it for you. It was much harder to steal under the old system.
14:19 July 29, 2009 by diegoveggie
a quick stroll around the city on a friday night will reveal that swedes love getting wasted. binge drinking is so wide spread, that the idea that system bolaget helps curb consumption is funny (or sad, rather).

i agree with bocale that the only way to curb binge drinking is thru education.

as far as the thieves, well.. the state robs everybody with the ridiculous high prices and high salaries for the SB executives.
14:34 July 29, 2009 by bocale1
Mucker, I was aware of that... I was just trying to make some irony about the Swedish system in dealing with alcohol sales that is not that much open and definitely ineffective
15:56 July 29, 2009 by farnoxo
What I don't get is that the thieves are targeting the cheap brands like Billig whiskey, Vodka Explorer and Marinella! If you are going to nick something, make the risk worthwhile and take something classy like a 25 year old Laphroaig instead - the punishment will still be the same :-)
20:41 July 29, 2009 by Tennin
I think bocale is right. It's the culture of it's okay to get as plastered as possible on weekends/holidays/vacations/and sometimes on Wednesdays. If someone gets obnoxious drunk like they do here, most of the people just laugh at it, and excuse any bad things and behavior the drunk person does.

Maybe the government needs to spend some of that hard earned Systembolaget money on educating people about the dangers of binge drinking, and even if you get drunker than a skunk you're still responsible for your actions.
20:58 July 29, 2009 by bigmikey
Just a suggestion, but maybe better security? That usually helps with theft problems, especially with drunks.

Drunks do not steal Laphroaig because they go with what their 5 working brain cells tell them works fastest, the cheap rot they usually drink.
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