Last week one of our members told me about several incidents of his employees being pepper sprayed while making basic shoplifting apprehensions. It only took a few minutes of research to find incidents just like these across the country. This serves as a good reminder for all of us to stress the importance of safety in our stores and malls this summer.
Several months ago, police arrested three Northern California individuals in connection with a string of robberies where the thieves routinely used pepper spray on employees in more than a dozen thefts of power tools from Home Depot and Lowe’s in various communities in the San Jose and San Francisco Bay Area. A fourth suspect, who was also arrested, is believed to have sold the tools at flea markets in San Jose and Stockton.
Last month, shoplifters made off with eight bottles of cologne from the Abercrombie & Fitch store in Menlo Park Mall (Edison, NJ) after one used pepper spray on a store worker who tried to stop them.
On July 6, a San Francisco woman was arrested after allegedly pepper-spraying a Nordstrom LP agent while trying to steal a $2,345 wallet.
If you’re interested in providing employees with information about what to do if they are sprayed, the U.C. Berkeley Police Department has a helpful set of facts on the topic. Among the tips: do not rub your face, flush the affected area with cool water, and make sure people assisting the victim are wearing rubber gloves.
There have been other LP-related headlines in the past week as well. Last week in Morris County, NJ, authorities arrested a man accused of using his video store as the center of the largest fencing operation in the history of the County. Police seized about 1,000 boxes from the fence, called Dover Video, containing items ranging from DVDs to high-end electronics and jewelry. They also seized items from the suspect’s home and from a rental property used as a storage location. Authorities recovered up to one thousand boxes of merchandise after the multi-month investigation from possible victims such as Walmart, Target, Rite-Aid, Home Depot, Kmart, Pathmark, Macy’s, Best Buy, Five Below, TJ Maxx, A&P and ShopRite.
Despite recent apprehensions and slightly lower shrinkage results, organized retail crime is still a top priority for retailers – and businesses continue to work with law enforcement to put these criminals behind bars.
As Lindsay Lohan heads to jail this week, she will be in good company.