An analysis by the city attorney's office indicates a huge increase of reported thefts of more than $500 in Columbus in 2012.
There were 3,590 theft charges last year -- 200 more than in 2011. More than $400,000 in merchandise was reported stolen.
The average value of each theft also increased, from $99.91 in 2011 to $117.81 last year.
The number of cases where the total value of goods stolen exceeded $500 rose over 400 percent, from 32 in 2011 to 134 in 2012.
One of the few statistics that decreased in 2012 was the number of cases filed against first-time offenders, according to the news release.
In 2009, 42 percent of theft charges involved first-time offenders but that number dropped to 26 percent in 2012.
That means nearly three-quarters of all theft cases involved individuals with prior criminal charges.
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