Organized Retail Crime A Threat
DETROIT (WWJ) – They shop with a list and get in and out of a
store quickly. But we’re not talking about your Grandma at the grocery store.
We’re talking about crooks.
Shoplifting has always been a problem. But now there's something new: organized
retail crime. Gangs and individuals target retailers, scooping up thousands of
dollars of merchandise in just a few minutes.
They travel in a group – there's a driver, look out person and two or three
people who hit up the stores, dumping merchandise into strollers or specially
made bags. Then, they just walk out of the store, shove their bounty in a
waiting van and drive off to another shopping area.
Most startling is the National Retail Federation reports 95 percent of retailers
have had this happen to them.
The final scene in this crime drama? The bad guys turn around and sell or trade
the stolen goods. It often ends up on a small retailer's shelf, who buys the
items not knowing their history. Consumers can also end up buying the illegally
obtained goods on websites.
South Los Angeles Gangs hit 8
retailers Along Broadway since June
Smash and Grab Video released
Police on Thursday released surveillance video of downtown's latest
In the video, three men are seen running into the 21st Century Jewelry store,
located at 749 S. Broadway. One of the robbers pepper sprayed the store's
employee, while the other two men smash glass jewelry display cases. As the
clerk huddles behind the counter, the men grab whatever they can carry and flee
"We think that the word has gotten around that this is somehow easy money, but
I'm here to tell everyone, we've put 13 people in jail over the last couple
weeks and we'll keep doing that until they realize the pickings aren't so easy,"
said Lt. Paul Vernon of the LAPD. We've been seeing these smash-and-grabs
occurring for several weeks," said Vernon. "As you can see in the video, the use
of pepper spray has become a common tactic."
Anyone with information about the case can contact detectives at 213-972-1251.
During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.
Tipsters can remain anonymous via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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