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The Union called for a freeze on expanded alcohol sales in the province

The head of the union representing LCBO workers called it a crisis and he called on Ford's government to delay plans to expand alcohol sales to corner stores.

The warning came after a Toronto Star report claiming the LCBO had been targeted by thieves more than 9,000 times between January 2014 and June 2018, resulting in thousands of dollars in losses.

Earlier this month Toronto police arrested two people and searched for 10 other people in connection with an organized ring behind a series of thefts from liquor stores believed to amount to more than $ 200,000.

OPSE President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said recent media coverage of shoplifting should make the government think twice about selling alcohol at grocery stores and corners.

"Alcohol will always attract the attention of thieves and the underground economy. "This commodity is easily sold on the black market," said Thomas.

A former employee who wants to remain anonymous says dealing with shoplifters is a reality that is accepted for LCBO employees.

"You can't stop them. You can't try and stop them," he told CityNews.

"They will find a way to hide anywhere from alcohol worth $ 500 to $ 1,000 and not like they only hit one shop. We only knew it would happen because another shop called us and said they had just been beaten and the thief was heading towards us. "

Thomas said the situation had reached the level of crisis and added they had expressed concern about the mental and physical well-being of employees for this theft for some time.

"Nobody has to work while wondering if they can endanger the Vodka bottle for 15 dollars," said Thomas, who added he wanted to talk to Premier Doug Ford about the action plan.

"We want the LCBO to make its own security forces. And the training will be specific to LCBO retail experience so they can preserve that experience, improve it and hopefully prevent theft and keep people safe."

In a statement to CityNews, the LCBO said it had "taken appropriate steps to prevent shop theft through security investments and theft protection tactics. We have increased our expenses for guarding and investigating, as well as CCTV technology, in-store deterrents, and always cooperating with local police in active investigations. "

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