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Published December 19, 2013, 09:35 PM

Despite recent issues, police say that shoplifiting is not higher than normal

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - This holiday season has seen a handful of high-profile shoplifting cases in the Red River Valley from a would-be thief making a break for it at West Acres, to a shoplifter hitting a Menards store employee with a car in Grand Forks.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - This holiday season has seen a handful of high-profile shoplifting cases in the Red River Valley from a would-be thief making a break for it at West Acres, to a shoplifter hitting a Menards store employee with a car in Grand Forks.

But is there actually more shoplifting activity during the holiday season?

The answer, according to Fargo Police, is no.

There has not been a substantial increase in the number of overall shoplifting calls they have responded to since Thanksgiving.

But it is unusual for people to try to run away, and that has happened twice in just two days.

Dylan Nelson says he sees how shoplifting could happen more during the holidays.

Dylan Nelson/Holiday Memories: "Just because there's more people out and about. It's so busy you can't keep track of everything that's going on."

Nelson sells Christmas ornaments at a kiosk at West Acres Mall with foot-traffic on all sides amid the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers.

Nelson: "Just walk around a lot and make sure you're always keeping an eye on everything."

Shoplifting has certainly been in the news lately.

A few unusual cases in the Red River Valley started Black Friday, when a woman with a cartful of items ran out the door of Menards in Grand Forks.

A store employee who chased after her was hit by the shoplifter's car as she drove off.

Then, earlier this week, a man was arrested several blocks from West Acres Mall after breaking away from mall security with clothing from Macy's.

Most recently - and most disturbing - a security officer at Hornbacher's threatened with a knife after a shoplifter tried to get away.

Deputy Chief Pat Claus/Fargo Police Department: "When you have a few high-profile cases, when they're unusual or different, people anecdotally sort of get that, 'hey, holidays there is more this kind of crime, or that kind of crime.'"

But hard numbers don't support that idea.

The Fargo Police Department has had about 84 shoplifting calls since mid-November, compared with 79 in the 33 days before that.

They say it's unusual for shoplifters to make a break for it and even more rare that a weapon is used.

Claus: "We certainly understand businesses wanting to reduce losses, but property can be replaced. We don't want to see anybody hurt."

One thing is for sure - running and especially presenting a weapon definitely make things much worse for the shoplifter.

Theft of less than $1,000 worth of property is considered a misdemeanor.

Presenting a weapon can lead to felony terrorizing charges and using it would be aggravated assault, which carries mandatory jail time.

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