Guilderland business owner calls for accountability, action to fight retail theft
Laviano Wine and Liquor on Western Avenue in Guilderland is a popular destination business.
Like most places, it’s not immune to thieves. Security video clips include a man swiping a bottle and stuffing it into his clothes.
“Every bottle that’s stolen, I have to sell three or four of those bottles just to make back that one bottle that was stolen,” said owner Chris Laviano. “When talking small business, it drastically impacts the business, for sure.”
Across the country, we’ve seen these shocking viral videos; brazen thieves stealing right off the shelves.
“These attacks are nothing more than a breakdown of the social order,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during her State of the State address on Tuesday.
Hochul outlined new measures, including a state police unit to crack down on organized retail theft and a tax credit to help business owners with more security.
“And I’ll work with the legislature to strengthen penalties for assaulting a retail worker or fostering the sale of stolen goods online,” said the governor.
“A lot of people forget sometimes that small businesses are what keep a community together and Guilderland is a proud community, and we like to support small businesses here, and I think the laws need to catch up and help us keep these businesses alive and open,” said Laviano.
At Laviano Wine and Liquor, they’ve got a wall of shame for some of the offenders, and they’ve had to move four targeted brands behind the register, so far.
Laviano says there has to be accountability.
“If you steal three, four, five times, and you’re just walking out of the courtroom with an appearance ticket and a slap on the wrist, I think New York state and our lawmakers who are elected officials need to really look at this and say small businesses in New York have done so much for us, let’s try to help them,” he said. “Because we feel as if we’re not being helped when it comes to that, at this point.”
Laviano has already expanded once. He’s planning to expand again soon to 3,000 square feet of retail space with enhanced security, better cameras, and maybe even bottle neck security tags.
“It’s going to cost some money, it’s not going to be an easy thing to do, but I need to secure our product,” said Laviano. “I need to make sure that I’m here when the customers need me and so is the product, and it’s not just getting swiped off the shelf.”