Tulsa Grocery Stores See Increased Theft As Pandemic Has Increased Need For Food

Tuesday, December 22nd 2020, 6:14 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

The increase of hunger across the United States is being felt at some Tulsa grocery stores as this year, there have been more reports of people stealing food due to the pandemic.

"More than previous time, more than last year,” Manzurul Tapan said.

Tapan, who manages City Food on East 11th Street in Tulsa, said this year, he has noticed a dramatic increase in theft.

“They will grab something and run away,” Tapan said.

Tapan said he usually doesn't contact police when someone steals but said he will if he feels the situation is dangerous. He blames the increase in hunger for the increased theft at his store.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 54 million Americans will struggle with hunger this year, which is a 45 percent increase from the previous year.

Tapan said if he can, he will try to help if he sees someone who obviously cannot afford to buy food. 

"I try to help them out like if people are hungry or don't have food for two or three days,” Tapan said.

Data from Feeding America shows that one in three children in Oklahoma are struggling with hunger, which is also up from last year.

Tapan said although people are struggling, he always encourages folks not to steal.

"When I see people that are hungry or don't have money, I try to help,” he said.

If you would like to know more about food insecurity in Oklahoma and other states across the country, click here.