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WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 05, 2012, 05:59 PM

Shoplifting crimes cost customers money

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Stores will lose 9-billion dollars over the holiday season because of theft. Ultimately - customers end up footing the bill.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Stores will lose 9-billion dollars over the holiday season because of theft. Ultimately - customers end up footing the bill.

As shoppers pack West Acres looking for the perfect Christmas presents, more thieves are out to take advantage of the busy shopping season.

But the average family shopping tonight will be paying almost $100 more because of them.

Brian Kinsey, JCPenney Store Leader: "People go to extremes, both to shoplift and both to hide their shoplifting."

Most department stores have seen everything from shoplifters hiding items in bags or purses, to even changing tags on merchandise trying to get a lower price.

Kinsey: "Everybody thinks they're being crafty, but my team has probably seen all of it. So people think they're the first at trying to do something, and rest assured they're probably not."

This holiday season stores nationwide will lose billions of dollars right from their racks. That's why retailers like JCPenney have special security in place to stop thieves from getting far. Some tactics- heightened customer service, scanning systems, and surveillance cameras.

Joshua Ebert, Dilworth Police Chief: “Security cameras and devices that they can screen their products with, it's risky."

Kinsey: "No retailer catches everybody, but when we do catch people we do prosecute."

For crimes they don't catch, including both employee and general shoplifting theft, the customers ultimately pay the price. Stores jack up costs by close to five percent to cover revenue loss, leaving the average shopper spending 98 dollars more.

Kinsey: "If that item is a high theft item, then it has to be sold for more to make up for the difference or it's just not worth selling it. So yes if somebody steals if affects all of us."

Depending on the amount of merchandise someone tries to steal, they may face misdemeanor or felony charges, usually costing thieves more than they ever anticipated.

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