Deputies respond to SoCal Costco after shoppers become upset over bottled water shortage

Coronavirus

At least two law enforcement vehicles could be seen parked outside the Costco in Chino Hills on March 5, 2020. (KTLA)

CHINO HILLS, Calif. (KTLA) — As shoppers stock up on critical supplies amid concerns of a coronavirus outbreak, law enforcement responded to a Costco in Chino Hills Thursday morning after a run on bottled water left some customers irritated, authorities said.

Deputies were dispatched to the Costco located at 13111 Peyton Dr., according to Cindy Bachman of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. She said people there were upset after the store again ran out of water.

Patrol vehicles from the Sheriff’s Department and Chino Hills Police Department could be seen outside the store just after 11 a.m., Sky5 aerial video showed.

It was unclear what exactly prompted law enforcement to respond. There was no immediate report of any fights, Bachman said, noting deputies were still going through the store and gathering information.

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The store did see a long line of shoppers outside prior to deputies being called out to the location, video sent to KTLA showed.

Many retailers in the U.S. have been seeing larger than usual crowds recently, as consumers prepare for the spread of COVID-19 throughout the U.S. by purchasing supplies.

Shoppers have been stocking up on bottled water, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, toilet paper, face masks and other items, emptying shelves at Costco and other big-box retailers across the country in a spate of apparent “panic buying.”

“It’s busier than Christmas,” a manager at the Costco in Lakewood told the Orange County Register on Monday. “Yesterday the lines were all the way to the alcohol section.”

While the store is traditionally busier on weekends, large crowds continued to flock to Costcos during the week.

A long line of shoppers was also visible outside the one in Marina del Rey before the store opened Thursday morning, according to video posted by Facebook user Magdeline Aguayo.

“823 people waiting to enter Costco this morning!!!” she wrote in the post. “Limit on water, paper towels & TP.. 3 limit TOTAL. so one of each most people are grabbing.”

Another video from the Costco in Van Nuys also captured a chaotic scene inside the store as shoppers lined up to grab cases of water.

The footage, posted on Thursday by Jino Cabrera, showed an extremely long line that extended all the way outside the entrance and snaked around the building.

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