In the past, we have written about retail security and how a loss prevention program can reduce shoplifting. Retail theft has been on the rise. But now, hopefully, that may come to an endSouthern California.
CBSNews.com reported that earlier this month, Federal authorities shut down an organized crime ring that had been shoplifting from popular retail clothing stores. The operation was based in San Diego, which made it easy for the thieves to cross the border into Tijuana and sell the loot in Mexican shops.
On September 6, Federal officials charged 22 individuals from the San Diego area, while U.S. and Mexican law enforcement searched for others.
Active for a Decade
The ring began operating in 2005. It became so involved that Mexican members of the group were actually smuggled into the country to help with the shoplifting efforts. Some of those had been previously deported from the U.S.
Authorities believe this group is responsible for stealing over $20 million in merchandise in the last twelve years!
The Shoplifting Operation
The ring operated in teams assigned to certain retail stores. Each member of the team had a job. Some might distract employees or block the view of clerks while others stuffed clothing in bags.
The group was not afraid to use violence, either. At least one member tried to strangle a mall security guard during a theft, while another threw a guard to the ground. There is also a report of a stroller with an infant inside being knocked over as thieves tried to escape.
The Stores Involved
When authorities arrested ring members, they seized $30,000 in cash and several garbage bags full of stolen clothing. Some of the articles still had the security tags attached.
The stores that were targeted include Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Hollister Co., Guess, and Express.
The Wider Problem
The Federal government has been cracking down on large shoplifting rings in recent years. Similar organized crime groups have been broken up in Texas and New Mexico, as well as other states in the country. Each year, shoplifting and organized crime costs U.S. retail stores nearly $30 billion!
If you are concerned about shoplifting and want to learn more about our loss prevention program, call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585.