ADAMH partners with Grove City police to get shoplifters help for drug addiction


Shoplifting doesn't seem like a major crime, but it costs people billions every year as stores try to recover what they've lost.

Grove City police went undercover in a retail theft sting and say those shoplifters are usually involved in other crimes.

“Retail theft is a billion-dollar-a-year loss that is something that all of us have to pay for. We're here to try and stop some of that in Grove City,” said Lt. Doug Olmstead with Grove City Police.

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Crimetracker10 went undercover with Grove City police as they worked with businesses on locking up local shoplifters. One woman, who was already on an ankle monitor is accused of stealing make-up.

“What we found is by working in partnership with our businesses, trying to stop retail theft, that leads us into so many other types of crimes, whether it is drug-related crimes, fencing operations. It all comes back to retail theft,” Olmstead said.

One man who was arrested is accused of stealing from a couple of stores in the last two days. K-9 Max found meth in his car. Olmstead says shoplifting almost always goes with drug abuse.

“What we've seen is there is a high correlation between drug abuse and retail theft. Retail theft is normally the job and the income that feeds drug addiction,” Olmstead said.

Police aren't just looking to make arrests, they are also looking to get them the help they need for their addictions.

“We're hoping that the help that we provide them today will help them out in the long run, get their life back on track,” said Angela Ohene, a nurse with Southeast Healthcare and a member of the Rapid Response Emergency Addiction and Crisis Team, or RREACT.​

RREACT team members from the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board, or ADAMH, were on hand to help people like Tyler. He was arrested and admitted he was on meth.

“For five years now,” he said.

He said he's ready to get the help breaking free from drugs.

“It's definitely changed it for the worse. I've kind of separated from my family. I've put myself in situations that I could have easily avoided if I wasn't on it,” Tyler said.

The goal is to help people like Tyler so Grove City police don't see him on the next sting.

“By having these people in here, partnering with us, hopefully, we can break some of that cycle,” Olmstead said.

In total, 12 people were arrested for theft.