The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has directed staff from the sheriff’s Office and Code Enforcement to consider a county ordinance to discourage or prevent removing shopping carts from the premises of businesses that provide them to customers.

Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone offered the idea to his colleagues after several cities in his district approached him requesting that the county consider action similar to their existing ordinances. Riverside County cities with ordinances restricting shopping cart theft include Banning, Cathedral City, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Hemet, Indio, Moreno Valley, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Perris, Riverside and San Jacinto.

“We can work with [businesses] to prevent the carts being taken off the premise,” Stone said. “In the long run it will save small business money and cut their costs to pay for retrieval, which can be $200 to $300 per cart.”

Isolated and adrift carts have become a blight and a public safety hazard in parts of the county, according to Stone.

“I don’t want this to be a burden but it’s already a burden with loss of the carts and liability of carts,” he noted.

Board  Chair John Benoit, Fourth District, recommended the concept be referred to enforcement agencies before county counsel reviewed and drafted an ordinance.

“... do I want [to be] in the business of creating fines for businesses?” he posed before his suggestion.

The board unanimously approved this motion and asked for a report within 60 days.

The ordinance would apply to businesses that provide 10 or more shopping carts for customers’ use on the premises of retail establishments.

“The cities in my district would be very appreciative,” Stone concluded.