Shoplift­ing crack­down

Un­der­cover cops aim to catch thieves

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­

As stores around Ne­wark get busier for the hol­i­day sea­son, the Ne­wark Po­lice Depart­ment is once again crack­ing down on shoplifters.

Plain­clothes of­fi­cers from the depart­ment’s Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit will be po­si­tioned in stores around the city in an at­tempt to iden­tify and ar­rest peo­ple who are steal­ing.

“Shoplift­ing af­fects all of us and of­ten­times leads to more se­ri­ous crimes be­ing com­mit­ted by the per­pe­tra­tors,” Chief Paul Tier­nan said in a pre­pared state­ment. “The Ne­wark Po­lice Depart­ment takes re­tail theft ex­tremely se­ri­ously and we will con­tinue to hold those re­spon­si­ble to the fullest ex­tent of the law.”

The ini­tia­tive – which be­gan the week be­fore Thanks­giv­ing and will con­tinue at least through the end of the year – in­cludes un­der­cover of­fi­cers as well as “high vis­i­bil­ity” sur­veil­lance in shop­ping cen­ters.

Lt. Fred Nel­son said that while the fo­cus is on shoplift­ing, of­fi­cers will also be watch­ing for other crimes like thefts from ve­hi­cles.

So far this year, NPD has re­sponded to 171 shoplift­ing re­ports and filed more than 60 charges. Those sta­tis­tics are roughly on par with this time last year.

Most shoplift­ing oc­curs at su­per­mar­kets or big box stores be­cause it’s eas­ier for thieves to blend in and go un­no­ticed, Nel­son said.

While some stores have loss pre­ven­tion of­fi­cers, many are not al­lowed to ap­pre­hend sus­pects and in­stead call po­lice, who ar­rive after the thieves leave, he said. Hav­ing of­fi­cers in the stores means they can ar­rest the sus­pects im­me­di­ately and re­cover the stolen mer­chan­dise.

Of­ten when sus­pects are ar­rested, they are also in pos­ses­sion of drugs or items stolen pre­vi­ously, Nel­son added.

NPD first con­ducted the un­der­cover anti-shoplift­ing ini­tia­tive last De­cem­ber in re­sponse to a 70 per­cent in­crease in shoplift­ing re­ports from the pre­vi­ous year. Last year’s ini­tia­tive re­sulted in the ar­rests of at least 18 peo­ple on more than 50 charges, in­clud­ing theft and drug pos­ses­sion, of­fi­cials re­ported at the time.

In one case last year, a plain­clothes of­fi­cer was stand­ing near the exit of Home De­pot with the store’s loss pre­ven­tion of­fi­cer when he saw a woman leave push­ing a shop­ping cart filled with var­i­ous tools and Christ­mas or­na­ments. The of­fi­cer chased her into the park­ing lot, where he ar­rested her.

The un­der­cover sting also snared a three-mem­ber shoplift­ing ring wanted for thefts from sev­eral stores in the area.

Last week, Nel­son re­leased pho­tos of sev­eral peo­ple sus­pected of shoplift­ing in re­cent weeks and asked for the pub­lic’s help iden­ti­fy­ing them.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the sus­pects should con­tact Master Cpl. Jay Conover at 302-366-7100 ext. 3443 or JConover@ne­ You can send an anony­mous tips by tex­ting 302NPD and your mes­sage to TIP411, through Crime Stop­pers at 1-800-TIP-3333, or through the in­ter­net at www.tip­sub­


Ne­wark Po­lice re­leased sev­eral sur­veil­lance pho­tos of peo­ple sus­pected of shoplift­ing.

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