Police across New Jersey say that they are on the lookout for shoplifters as one of the biggest shopping seasons is about to begin. Residents all across New Jersey are watching their incomes go down, but retail prices have continued to rise and stores are reporting an increase in missing merchandise.
Cherry Hill police said that they have seen an increase in arrests this year from last. In fact, they reported that 49 arrests were made this October for suspected shoplifting. Last year, during the same month, there were 38 arrests made.
A spokesman for the National Retail Federation said that the dollar amount of missing merchandise has significantly increased. In 2009, the value of missing goods was around $33.5 billion. That number went up to $35.2 billion in 2010.
The spokesman said that it is not just juveniles who are being accused of shoplifting. He said that they suspect that some people are working together in what they have called organized retail theft. They said that items are being taken not in singles, but in groups of 10 or more.
A New Jersey Retail Merchants Association representative suspects that the numbers will increase as the crowds increase closer to the holidays. Authorities believe that people are using the crowds to blend in.
Shoplifting may be considered a small infraction, but when the cost of the merchandise taken increases, so do the penalties. Someone caught shoplifting, especially with a group will want to hire a defense attorney to keep things under control.
Source: Courier Post Online, “Shoplifters getting busy,” Nov. 12, 2011