Organized theft is the nation's
fastest-growing crime, according to the FBI.
With healthy holiday sales comes a companion rise in organized shoplifting,
Portland-area retailers say
A clerk at the Victoria's Secret in Washington Square noticed that a group of
women returning lingerie matched descriptions of a fraud ring known at other
branches of the store and called security. Tigard police arrested
two of the women on outstanding theft warrants, arriving at the scene near
closing time. While the bust surprised customers rushing to finish
purchases before the mall shut down for the night, it's actually a relatively
common scenario: Organized theft is the nation's fastest-growing crime,
according to the FBI. "It's a business," said Gayla Shillitto, the
Tigard police crime analyst investigating the Victoria's Secret case. "It's a
way of life. It goes on every day." And the Northwest is harder hit.
"The bad guys don't have jurisdictional boundaries," said Tacoma Police Officer
Scott Stanley, who created the nation's first multi-state alliance against
organized retail theft. The alliance has a list of more than 600 retail members
-- car shops, mall stores and supermarkets -- in states ranging from Washington
and Oregon to California and Alaska.