Over the past year in Edmonton, there have been thousands of liquor store robberies happening. That’s more than triple the amount it was the previous year, and the robberies seem to be calculated instead of spontaneous. Some of the stores in Edmonton have said that they’ve been robbed a half dozen times on a daily basis with large groups of people stuffing liquor bottles into their bags.

“This isn’t shoplifters,” said James Burns, the CEO of the company that runs the Liquor Depot. “Someone putting a mickey into their coat and hiding it. This is organized crime.” Ivonne Martinez of the Alberta Liquor Store Association added that “It’s not stopping; it’s going full steam ahead.”

Burns also said that the suspects “come in with shopping lists of what they’re going to rob. They have nightclubs and some shady liquor stores that buy them and it’s used as a currency in criminal activities.” Some liquor store employees have also engaged with the robbers, which has led to many recent fights.

“It’s obviously very expensive just losing the product,” Burns said. “It’s not really insured. But much more importantly than that, it’s terrible for our staff morale. They see these people come in just wantonly disregarding the rules of society.”

Martinez expressed concern for the employees. “The police have actually told us that it’s just a matter of time that we have somebody die on the job,” she said.