Shoplifting increases in holiday season - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Shoplifting increases in holiday season

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November 27, 2007

Albany -- With the Christmas shopping season, the crime of shoplifting skyrockets, and it is costing you money.

Retailers have to increase prices on the goods you buy, to pay for the items stolen from their store.

When you go shopping, you will see more security that South Georgia stores are having to use to keep people from stealing their merchandise. When you do your Christmas shopping, notice how many items are locked or chained down, with locked cages holding merchandise. That's because shoplifting season goes with the shopping frenzy. Albany Sears Store Manager Brian Flinn said "you have a lot more people in the building, so it definitely increases. The risk is there for merchandise, unfortunately, to leave the store."

Retailers estimate more than 13 billion dollars worth of goods will be stolen this year, and that about 27 million people will shoplift.  That is one in every 11 people in the country. So you might notice more items on a hook that sales people have to unlock to remove, or anti theft devices on most boxes. Flinn said "this is called a spider wrap. It's an electronic device that will sound an audible signal if it was disconnected improperly. "

Sears in Albany lets shoppers know they are being watched at all times on security cameras that cover the entire store. They have increased security for the holidays, but don't want it to disrupt their customer service. Flinn said "it's a challenge because you are wanting to take care of your business, and this is the busiest time of the year. But at the same time you also have to protect your business and protect your merchandise."

 And it's the honest customer who has to pay for all those security devices, loss prevention officers, and stolen goods.

It's not just big retailers like Sears, South Georgia Police records show shoplifters targeting grocery stores and convenience stores more, as the Christmas Shopping season brings more thefts.

 Retailers say theft by store employees often increases during the Holiday Shopping Season as well.

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