JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Last year retailers nationwide lost $11.7 billion to shoplifting according to the National Retail Federation. This season local police departments and retailers are on guard. The holiday season is the busiest time for retailers and also for shoplifters.
"The amount of shoplifting activity in our city is very eye opening," said Jackson's Target store manager Alan Wise. He said the store ranks 5th for shoplifter apprehensions in Target's southeast region which includes major cities like Miami, Dallas and Atlanta.
"We've seen everything from 7 year old kids, to 70 year old grown men as well as your average soccer mom, we've apprehended for serious shoplifting," said Wise.
So far this year, more than 100 shoplifters have been arrested and prosecuted from the Target store. Wise said that did not count the thefts they deter on a weekly basis.
"People will use their children to hide merchandise underneath the baby seat, in the stroller and those type of things. Even more organized, shoplifters come in during Christmas time and try to blend in with traffic, distract team members," said Wise.
Jackson, Ridgeland and Flowood Police departments had units specifically assigned to patrol shopping areas during the holiday season. Between the three agencies, twenty misdemeanor shoplifting arrests were made last weekend.
"We did have one lady who stole some perfume out of a gift set that retailed for $75 and once we got her in jail she had $700 in her wallet," said Ridgeland Police Lt. John Neal. "We put those extra patrols out there to give those businesses some extra support and officers on hand in case they need to react."
Retailers have their own security and are keeping a watching out.
"Whether you are running a fencing case or you're just your average run of the mill shoplifter you can only get away from it for so long," said Wise.
Misdemeanor shoplifting comes with a maximum $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Felony shoplifting can cost you $5,000 and five years behind bars.
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