Socks, speakers, chocolate.
Belts, mascara, sandals.
Those are some of the items people attempt to steal from the Walmart Supercenter on Seaboard Street in Myrtle Beach — a spot that police responded to on average 4.5 times per day in 2017.
The City of Myrtle Beach had 1,363 shoplifting calls in 2017, and 279 of those calls were to the Walmart on Seaboard Street, according to police data.
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That Walmart accounts for more than 20 percent of all shoplifting calls in the city.
Walking into the store on a Saturday evening in the summer, you see checkout lines backed up. Carts nearly full to the top fill each aisle. And it’s like a maze trying to navigate through the people.
Capt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach Police Department said he doesn’t have a definitive answer as to why the Seaboard Walmart’s calls for service and shoplifting are higher than others, but noted that the security guards at that store are very active.
Crosby credits the store’s loss prevention department, which helps companies with things like theft, fraud and vandalism, for the high number of calls.
“They work very hard at identifying individuals that may be taking property from the store,” Crosby said. “So we work closely with them as we do with many of the retail establishments within the city to assist them with their investigations.”
|Locations||Jurisdiction||Total calls for service in 2017||Total shoplifting calls in 2017|
|Seaboard Street||Myrtle Beach||1,635||279|
|Garden City Connector||Horry County||224||60|
|S.C. 544 and U.S. 17 Bypass||Horry County||347||99|
|Myrtle Ridge Drive||Horry County||388||172|
|Kings Road||Horry County||196||62|
|Highway 17 North||North Myrtle Beach||653||164|
“I think any time you have a retail establishment you’re going to have shoplifting and other crimes such as burglary autos and things such as that,” Crosby said. “So we are responding to calls for service at these particular areas because we do have a high volume of people in that area.”
In addition, stores in high-traffic areas see more calls, and Crosby said the Seaboard location off U.S. Highway 501 is a major thoroughfare for tourists.
One of the latest shoplifting incidents reported at the Seaboard Walmart was Tuesday when two people were allegedly skipping $76 worth of items at a self-checkout lane, according to a Myrtle Beach police report. The suspects, who were attempting to steal items like potatoes, yogurt, ice coffee and ketchup, were both taken to jail.
The day before, a man attempted to flee the store with clothes, household items, food and hunting and camping equipment, a report shows. The suspect was found not far from the store with the merchandise, officials said.
There are six other Walmart Supercenters in Horry County. Four of those are in unincorporated Horry County.
The Seaboard Street Walmart had the most police responses in the county last year at 1,635. The Conway Supercenter was second with 949 police visits in 2017.
The Walmart Supercenter on Kings Road in the North Myrtle Beach area had the lowest number of police responses last year at 196.
Capt. John Harrelson with Horry County Police Department said officers with HCPD respond to the four Walmarts within the county’s jurisdiction more often than other businesses.
“What I can tell you that Walmart being the business it is, based on the numbers that we have as far as the county police department, we do respond there quite a bit, more so than we would other typical businesses,” Harrelson said. “There’s a variety of calls, shoplifting being one of the larger types of crimes or more frequent that we respond to.”
Harrelson said there are shoplifting calls at other large retail locations like department or home improvement stores. But those calls are less frequent than those at other supercenters.
The supercenter in the Carolina Forest area, at 151 Myrtle Ridge Dr., had the second-highest amount of shoplifting calls of all county Walmarts last year at 172.
Walmart spokesperson Casey Staheli would not comment on anti-theft policies or why one store is more prone to crime than others. Staheli said no retailer is immune from the challenges of crime.
“We have over 4,500 stores across the county so we’re very much in every community,” he said. “That certainly makes us a target for that having such a large footprint.”
Hannah Strong, 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian