Pat Sposaro of Glenwood Avenue said she walks around town quite often, but doesn't have to go far from home to see a discarded shopping cart sitting close by.
She and other residents have complained to borough council about stolen and abandoned carts, which they say promotes blight and is essentially theft.
“If I walk in your store and take a half a gallon of ice cream and walk out, you’re going to arrest me because I stole ice cream. But if I push a buggy out of your store, nobody is stopping me from doing it,” said Sposaro, business owner and a resident for 57 years.
Ambridge Police Chief James Mann said there is an borough ordinance related to shopping carts. However, cracking down on cart thieves isn't always the highest priority, particularly for businesses.
Though shopping carts can cost roughly $185 each, Mann said businesses are hesitant to prosecute because it's a burden. Employees not only have to leave the store to confront customers, prosecution also involves spending time and money in court.
“They have to testify against these people," said Mann, who has talked to local businesses. "They said ‘we’re going to have to call our legal department,’…it’s like a win-lose situation.”
Bottom Dollar recently made a move to prevent their carts from leaving the premises. Where shoppers once had to deposit 25 cents to use a cart--a price the store thought would deter thefts--new carts equipped with security devices have replaced them.
David Strano of Ambridge Do It Best said occasionally they see one of their shopping carts floating around town, but those instances are pretty rare and not as big an issue for the hardware and home goods store.
"When we do see one missing we usually send one of our employees to go retrieve them," Strano said. "They are very expensive so we can not afford to lose any."
Dollar General, which frequently has carts discarded around town, referred all questions to corporate officials, who did not return phone messages.
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