The owners of the two small clothing stores targeted Wednesday say shoplifting is a serious crime that hits small businesses especially hard.
One of the store owners told me that continued thefts could put small businesses out of business.
The owner of the Southern Peach says Wednesday's shoplifting incident was the first she knows of, but she suspects other thefts have occurred.
Linda Schenk said ""It makes me feel violated. It makes me mad."
The owner of Honeysuckle Hill, Amanda Bennett, did not want to go on camera, but she said Wednesday's thefts were also her first shoplifting incident she can prove. She estimates about $100 worth of clothes were taken.
The loss was about $500 at the Southern Peach. Schenk said small businesses, struggling against big box stores already, can't afford to lose money to crime as well.
Schenk said "Absolutely. Causes small businesses to go out of business."
Schenk said other store owners in Albany tell her that shoplifting is rampant, and she thinks stiffer jail penalties need to be given to people convicted of shoplifting to protect businesses.
Schenk said "I just feel like it would stop. And I realize the jails are full of people that perform crimes a lot bigger than shoplifting. But shoplifting is also a crime. Stealing is a crime."
Schenk says she and her employees will work to be more visible to shoppers, and observant of the customers, to try to make this the last shoplifting incident at her store.
Both store owners say shoplifters might target them because they are small businesses with few employees.