Chicago, IL

Chicago Walgreens Becomes First U.S. “Anti-Theft” Chain Store

Joel Eisenberg

The new store is widely believed to be due to an untenable rise in shoplifting, though official company word denies the matter and instead proclaims the intent of technological improvement for customers.
WalgreensPhoto byAdobe Stock

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: and CWB Chicago.


Scant hours following the publication of a recent NewsBreak piece, I was informed reports had surfaced of five California Walgreens locations closing due to shoplifting. See here. In this instance, prescriptions were impacted.

Illinois, particularly the Chicago area, has been another state where Walgreens has reportedly been hit heavily by shoplifting. Now comes word that the company has opened its first “anti-theft” location in the afflicted city.

Let us explore.

Walgreens, 2023

According to a June 4th report from, entitled “Walgreens Debuts New 'Anti-Theft' Store With Just Two Aisles Where Customers Can Shop For Themselves - The Rest is Locked Up and Needs to be Ordered From a Kiosk,” the company is denying the opening was due to crime.

As excerpted from the report: A Chicago branch of Walgreens has been redesigned with just two aisles where customers may shop for themselves, the rest must be done via a kiosk. The new 'anti-theft' store at 2 East Roosevelt in downtown Chicago will trust shoppers to pick up 'essentials' for themselves in the two free aisles, but everything else must be ordered and picked up via a counter. The store, which took weeks to construct, opened to mixed reviews on Tuesday.

While the company has denied crime is a factor and has stated the matter has been overblown, customers have insisted otherwise.

The report goes on to state: A spokesperson for Walgreens told CWB Chicago the company is 'testing a new experience at this store with new concepts, technologies, and practices to enhance the experiences of our customers and team members. It will continue to offer retail products and pharmacy services, just with a new look and feel that focuses on shopping digitally for convenience.‘

The model is being called a “test,” and other store locations may follow. As well, other chains such as Walmart and Target have been named by industry analysts as potentially considering such models if the Walgreens entity proves successful.


This is a developing story. In the event of pertinent updates to this matter, inclusive of official announcements of further Walgreens store openings of this nature, I will share them here on NewsBreak.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA

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