An app that allows users to “skip” the checkout line has been used in a number of thefts in Pinedale.
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office released a statement earlier this week notifying residents that several businesses have recently reported items stolen, primarily by teenagers. The items ranged from snacks at convenience stores to higher-cost items, including hunting gear and shop equipment.
During the investigation, law enforcement officials found that many of the thefts were occurring through the use of the “SKIP” app at the local Ridley’s grocery store.
“The Skip app, it’s kind of all over the place, but for us it’s in Ridley’s Family Market,” said Sgt. Travis Bingham with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office.
“It allows customers to go in, and if they only have a handful of items or whatever, if there’s a long line at the checkout line, you can use your phone to scan your items and pay,” he said. “And so the students are finding ways to manipulate that, or appear like they paid, or misrepresenting what they actually paid for.”
With the assistance of local businesses, Bingham said a number of students have been identified as being involved. But because the offenders are juveniles, limited information about the case is available to the public.
However, Bingham said the sheriff’s office released the information to encourage discussion between parents and students on the consequences of taking part in these thefts.
“There’s some talk that, you know how kids are – once one kid does it, there could be more,” Bingham said. “So it’s more to encourage a discussion at home about the dangers of thefts and shoplifting, and what that leads to. Because it wasn’t just one or two kids, we’re getting more and more.”
Bingham said most of the stolen items have been returned.
“And businesses are watching closer, and changing their procedures, and how they use the app,” he said. “Even Obo’s (convenience store in Pinedale) has changed their policy during student lunch hours, how people enter the store, things like that.”