While millions in Los Angeles try to adapt to "safer at home" restrictions, the city is seeing an uptick in thefts -- specifically homeless people trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Several grocery store employees around L.A. tell us they're having a bigger problem than usual with homeless people stealing food. The general belief is with L.A. residents hunkered down at home, the homeless can no longer panhandle for money -- so, they're shoplifting out of desperation to eat.
We're told some Hollywood-area grocery chains have added extra security in an effort to thwart more thefts, and some LAPD officers have given store managers their direct lines to report major issues.
Our sources say the perps are mostly taking fresh produce because that section tends to be closer to the entry and exit ways.
While grocery stores are remaining open as an "essential business" ... we're told most are allowing 50 households in when the store first opens, and then an additional 25 households every 10 mins afterward.
Our sources say the food markets have been able to keep items mostly stocked, but as long lines continue to form, the challenges -- including loss prevention -- aren't going away anytime soon.
We broke the story ... cops in L.A. and NYC have also been instructed to pay extra attention to non-essential stores that are now empty to combat burglaries.