WHITEHALL, Ohio — Officers with the Whitehall Division of Police made more than two dozen arrests during a shoplifting blitz on Wednesday.
It's the time of the year when stores are packed with people doing holiday shopping. It's also the time when thieves are keeping an eye when you aren't paying attention.
That's why several police departments, including Whitehall, have extra patrols out right now.
“We have officers working plain cars that are literally sitting out there watching vehicles, making sure when you are inside shopping that your gifts are safe in your cars so you can feel secure going on leaving things in the car, whether it be your purse or gifts or things like that,” said Whitehall Police Sergeant Jon Earl.
Marked and plain clothes officers saturated busy shopping parking lots.
“They don't see our undercover officers who are out there doing it until it is time to arrest someone, and then they see 10 officers in the area making arrests,” Earl said.
While the focus was on theft, police made arrests for several other crimes.
“We're going to end up finding guns, we find drugs. A lot of these crimes involving drugs come back to shoplifting. People are out there stealing to trade for drugs,” Earl said.
A total of 25 people were arrested, including 12 for theft, one for robbery where a gun was recovered, one for OVI and several drug charges. One man decided to run from police, but was caught and charged with obstruction.
“We want people coming into the city feeling safe. We want them to see the police being proactive to stop these kinds of crimes. We also want the criminal element don't come into Whitehall to do this because we are out here doing this,” Earl said.