RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — Shoplifting is a crime that stores and police can’t always catch.
An organized retail crime unit spearheaded by Kroger has been active in different parts of Kentucky during the last year. This past week, they were in Richmond, which ended up being their most successful stop yet.
So for three days last week, police and loss prevention officers went on a blitz at seven stores in Richmond. Inside each store, special staff communicated with officers via a chatting app called we-chat, sending pictures of suspects so arrests could be made.
Organizers say it was a success.
"We assumed we wouldn’t get that big of a bang for our buck here, and it surpassed what we got in Louisville," said Kroger organized retail crime officer Terry Young.
Last year, during Black Friday in Louisville, 66 charges were filed. Compare that with the 86 last week in Richmond. In those three days, Richmond police charged 41 people with shoplifting and seized more than $2,000 worth of stolen property.
"Shoplifting doesn’t just end with harming the retail that you steal from. It also goes to fuel secondary markets like black markets for selling of products. It also goes to fuel drug user, drug dealer issues," said Richmond Police Officer James Ebert.
Twenty-one people were charged with drug offenses. In total, the police collected $30,000 worth of narcotics.
"There’s a lot of citizens out here work very hard and when you shoplift, you basically cause the citizens that are out here paying for the product to have to soak up more of the loss through the higher prices for the product," said Young.
"When you’re thinking about stealing from any type of retailer, whether it be big box chains or local mom and pop stores, know that somebody’s watching whether it’s from the video or people in the store and is today the day that you’ve stumbled upon one of these operations and you may go to jail," said Ebert.