Nike is facing an onslaught of theft crimes along its supply chain, including thieves stealing from warehouses and trains.
Retail thefts have ballooned to a $95 billion problem in the U.S., according to figures from the National Retail Foundation. For apparel behemoth Nike, theft crimes are seemingly escalating from criminals stealing off shelves, to perps targeting trucks and trains that transport the goods.
Nike’s shipment hub in Memphis, Tennessee, has seen repeated crimes in the last few weeks alone, Insider reported.
A pair of thieves was charged this year after they allegedly stole $60,000 worth of Nike merchandise from five train cars in Memphis. Other thieves in the area earlier this month also stole 10 to 20 boxes from a warehouse in the city.
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“In those boxes, it’s probably about six pairs of shoes. Sometimes 12, depending. They’re called cases,” Dominique Worthen, owner of Memphis sneaker repair store SnkrrBar, told Fox 13 Memphis. “And I only know that because I have friends who work at Nike.”
Worthen said he believes thieves quickly sell stolen merchandise, noting the high-demand products – especially the company’s shoes – are sometimes even deemed worthy to kill over.
“How much do they want? How much are they asking? It’s going to get sold,” he said. “I’ve seen people trade a pair of sneakers for a car. It’s crazy valuable. People miss work to go get new sneakers.”
“It’s crazy man,” Worthen added to Fox 13. “People are fighting each other, killing each other over sneakers every day.”
In September, thieves stole $800,000 from 20 trucks at Nike’s distribution center in Memphis, Fox 13 reported at the time.
Nike stores have also been the site of repeated theft crimes, including at a company outlet in Portland, Oregon. Witnesses said they’ve seen suspects run out of the store with their arms full of stolen goods. The store abruptly closed last year, but company leaders are hoping to reopen the location.
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Nike sent a letter to Portland leaders this month requesting that off-duty officers provide security to the store to cut back on retail thefts. Nike is headquartered out of Beaverton, which is located less than 10 miles outside of Portland.
“We are at a critical juncture,” Nike wrote to city leaders, according to Insider. It is unclear if additional security will be provided to the store.
Theft at stores has also extended to cities such as Baton Rouge, where criminals made off with thousands in merchandise last month. A suspected thief in California was arrested this month after attempting to allegedly steal from a Nike store in Napa.
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Nike did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the various theft crimes it has faced in recent months.
WALMART CEO DOUG MCMILLON SAYS THEFT IS ‘HIGHER THAN WHAT IT HAS HISTORICALLY BEEN’
Theft crimes have exploded across the country in recent years, with industry leaders such as Walmart CEO Doug McMillon warning the crimes could financially affect customers.
“Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” McMillon told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in December. He added that if the crime wave is not halted soon and if prosecutors don’t bring charges against shoplifters, “prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.”
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