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Shoplifters beware: Stores are watching

Law enforcement cautions shoppers to be careful with goods, purses
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Despite video surveillance and undercover security, shoplifting still plagues local storeowners – especially during the holiday season. The time of giving is also the time of taking as cases of theft increase at the end of the year. This could be due to the economy or the fact that people are buying more items. But shoplifting isn’t only prevalent during the holiday season. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen it all year,” said Placer County Sheriff’s detective Jim Hudson. “Because of the economy it will only go up. It’s not going to go down.” Recently some alleged thieves have taken to a different form of shoplifting. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office arrested six Loomis residents earlier this month on suspicion of using counterfeit money to purchase goods from Placer County Target stores. Hudson said the Sheriff’s Office unfortunately expects to see more of those crimes. Hudson said there is an increase in shoplifting cases during holiday shopping time but there are also car thefts and purses snatchers that shoppers need to be aware of. Shoppers should be careful not to leave items in plain view in the car and be careful what they keep in their trunks, as most criminals know about trunk release levers in vehicles. “Be careful and be aware of your surroundings,” Hudson advised. Hudson added that law enforcement officers “will be doing aggressive shopping center and store extra patrols.” Ed Cudmore, executive team leader of asset protection at Target, said there is an increase in theft this time of year and the crime hurts everybody. “Retailers have to make up that cost,” Cudmore said. “It affects everybody because it means higher prices on items.” Cudmore said typically DVDs and CDs are the most stolen items. “We’re seeing is a high trend in the electronics department,” Cudmore said of thefts. Cudmore said he could not reveal details about how store security catches shoplifters but said the store has “multiple sources.” “Target is very aggressive in trying to reduce the amount of theft in stores,” Cudmore said. “If somebody is apprehended, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.” Cudmore suggested that other shoppers report any suspicious activity. “We will follow up because it’s money out of everybody’s pocket,” Cudmore said. Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- What happens if you’re caught shoplifting? If a person is caught taking an item without paying from a store, they are initially apprehended by store security. Then, local law enforcement is called and the alleged shoplifter is taken to jail. Placer County Sheriff’s Detective Jim Hudson said bail is usually about $5,000 or more for shoplifting charges. If a person is convicted of shoplifting, they usually take a class, pay a fine and/or do time in jail, Hudson said. “It far exceeds the amount of the item nine times out of 10,” Hudson said. ----------