Police beautify Federal Way, one shopping cart at a time

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - People stealing shopping carts and leaving them to clutter streets is a big problem in most cities. But, Federal Way Police found a way to save stores money, and make the community look nicer.

Frank Gabreluk and his partner John McLauren are chasing shopping carts - something people often like to steal and discard.

"It's amazing how many of these eyesore carts you see around," McLauren says.

These hawk eyes make up one of two volunteer crews that scour the streets twice a week.

Federal Way Police commanders call it their "Shopping Cart Recovery Team," retirees who know how to get things done.

"In the three years we've been working at this we had over $700 thousand in carts returned to the customers," McLauren says. "I think that's a pretty good chunk of change, don't you?"

That's one benefit for big retail and grocery stores.

Another reason police launched the program is simply to make their city look more attractive.

"It beautifies the area. Nobody wants to drive down the street seeing shopping carts filled with litter," Gabreluk says.

Gabreluk and McLauren are proud, hunting down as many has 500 carts a month.

"There's a lot of people out there that think we're kind of crazy for picking up carts," Gabreluk says. "And yes, some of them will come back tomorrow, but somebody has to do it."