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Target Alarms Hand Baskets in Response to Increased Theft Following Plastic Bag Ban

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SACRAMENTO -- It's not unusual for something not on your list to make it into your Target hand basket, but these days you'll find something unexpected on it, instead of in it.

The retailer has recently put black alarms on its plastic carry-alls for small items and customers can no longer take them outside of the store.

On my regular post-gym Target run, I was told the move was made because the hand baskets have been disappearing since California's plastic bag ban went into effect.

The alarms are designed to sound off at the store's doorway, just like those sensors often attached to clothes to stop shoplifting.

Others in the biz of helping you pick up what you need also say entirely too many people who don't want to buy bags, and aren't bringing along their own, are picking up their hand baskets and keeping them.

"They are. They use that as their own cart and have to bring it back in, but we don't know if they bring it back in sometimes. And we're a busy store so, when they take it out we just have to take that on trust that they'll bring it back in," said Darryl Yates, the manager on duty Wednesday night at Save Mart.

As of yet Save Mart hasn't stopped customers from walking to their cars with their hand baskets, but Yates thinks Target is right on target.

"Getting our bags... or baskets alarmed would be a really good idea I think," he said.

Raley's hasn't implemented an alarm system, but cashiers have stopped customers from taking hand baskets outside of their store, saying they've been disappearing since giveaway plastics bags have gone by the wayside.

Corporate spokesmen on the other hand tell FOX40 that new policy isn't tied to the bag ban.

Instead they say it's tied to the fact that people are using the hand baskets to steal other items.

Shoppers have noticed that Food Source has 86'd hand baskets since the passage of Prop 67.

Food Source is part of the Raley's family of stores and again spokesmen say the "only hand baskets" shopping scenario is just about stopping theft of other merchandise through the use of those baskets.

FOX40 reached out to Target to find out how many alarms its purchased and at what cost, but haven't heard back yet.

When part of England implemented a plastic bag tax in 2011, grocers added security tags to stem the tide of disappearing baskets there.

That cost them 1 to 4 pounds per tag.