Booze heists are on the rise at Ontario’s liquor stores — and a sagging economy may be partly to blame.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario says “product shortages” for the last year were up by close to $1 million, to $6.5 million.

Some of the so-called shrinkage at the agency’s 607 stores is being pegged to fumbled inventory counts, broken bottles or short shipments from warehouses.

But the LCBO has also seen a rise in thefts that may be linked to the manufacturing province's sour economy.

“Tougher economic conditions, as we started to experience in 2008-09, can lead to increased incidents of shop theft and break and enters,” said spokesman Chris Layton.

The Canadian Press obtained internal reports about the missing inventory through Ontario’s freedom-of-information legislation.

The documents show stock shrinkage increased in the 2008-2009 fiscal year to .18 per cent of net sales, from .16 per cent the year before. Layton said that marks the highest level over the last decade.

The shortages are much lower than for the general retail industry, which recorded inventory losses of about one per cent for 2008, according to the Retail Council of Canada.