Convenience Store Uses Age Restriction Policy to Reduce Theft - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/1/05

Convenience Store Uses Age Restriction Policy to Reduce Theft

Theft, shoplifting, stealing. Whatever you want to call it, one Lubbock convenience store is tired of it. Owners have brought back a policy targeting their primary suspects - teenagers.

The E-Z Mart convenience located at 50th and Chicago is just one block south of Hardwick Elementary. Police say once school starts, thefts increase at convenience stores close to those schools. Kids head back in a matter of days, but already, E-Z Mart management posted a sign which states, "Only two unsupervised kids under 16 are allowed in the store at one time."

14-years-old Ken Andrews said, "I don't think it's right." Andrews, who makes frequent trips to the store, finds the rule frustrating when he babysits his cousins.

"I can't take two of them in there at a time," said Andrews, "So I have to let them two go in first, and then I have to let them drop their stuff off and then I have to go in there. We just have to keep it in a circular motion."

Half a dozen apartment complex's surround E-Z Mart. Management said the sign is also to deter groups of kids from those places who like to hang out at the store.

Nearby resident, Shamona Carter said, "I understand the sign, but I don't agree with it." Carter is above the age limit, but still doesn't like the rule. "I think it's kind of both sides," said Carter. "It's a good idea because it's going to stop theft, but it's kind of restricting."

Lubbock Police tell NewsChannel 11 they commend the policy because it helps reduce theft activity. They also said the store is not breaking any rules. They have the right to serve whoever they choose.

Although the store isn't doing anything wrong, Andrews' mother strongly disagrees with the concept.

Andrews says, "She doesn't think it's fair either because she's like, well you all need to stay together because you don't want another person to get lost, but yet you still have to wait outside for the other person to go."

No word on how long the sign will stay. E-Z Mart said many of their stores in five states have a similar policy.

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