Authorities crack down on shoplifting before holiday shopping season

(WBNS)
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GROVE CITY, Ohio — 'Tis the season for deals, holiday gift shopping and shoplifters.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the increase people that are in the stores that serve as a distraction to loss prevention personnel. The thieves come in and think they can hide a little better,” said a Grove City Police Department sergeant.

Grove City police say many times shoplifters are stealing to pay for drugs.

“A lot of the people may not have the drugs on them, but that's the reason they are committing the theft, is to buy something for that day,” said the undercover sergeant.

Police say a woman ran out of Walmart with stolen clothes. She and a friend tried to drive away.

“They had pulled under a carport and tried to hide from the officers as they were coming into the area. Both females were arrested and one had meth on her,” he said.

Ahead of Black Friday shopping, Grove City Police had a sting operation looking for those types of shoplifters. They arrested four people, and all four admitted they were addicted to drugs. Police found meth, heroin and syringes when they made the arrests.

“Even if we don't find the drugs, people that are still drug dependent are upwards of 70%,” the sergeant said.

Police had the REACT team on hand offering addiction help. Officers say they will continue to be out in the holiday shopping season.

“We are not only looking for retail theft, but for people breaking into cars,” he said.