A shopping cart graveyard is growing underneath the Highway 99 bridge in Lodi. Retailers in the area have seen an increase of shopping cart theft.
The problem has become so bad that Lodi city officials held a meeting in an effort to find possible solutions.
“The meeting is the beginning of a discussion with retailers to see what they are doing and to see what losses they have,” said Craig Hoffman, a Lodi city planner.
Right now there isn't a clear number of how many shopping carts are missing. The city hopes to learn more from retailers’ comments.
The missing carts can be found in Lodi's back allies and street corners but the motherlode of missing carts can be found in the underbelly of the HWY 99 bridge.
The secluded area is home to dozens of people living in tents.
"Help the city? Yeah, we are willing to give back the shopping carts if they are willing to look at the bigger picture behind the shopping carts!" said Kalisha Callahan.
Callahan, 30, says she was in an abusive relationship so she put all her belonging in a shopping cart and moved under the bridge. Callahan says the bridge was never meant to be a permanent home.
Every month, Caltrans moves everyone out from under the bridge to clean up.
"We have to use the carts to move our stuff out,” Callahan said. “It’s all we can do with what we have."
A lot of red tape keeps the city and other groups from retrieving the missing carts.
“The city can't just pick them up,” Hoffman said. “We have to be able to identify who they belong to. We can't just return it that easy.”
The homeless problem has brought many challenges to the city. Over the next few weeks city officials plan to work with retailers and the local homeless advocacy group to find a solution that will benefit everyone.
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