LPD, businesses teaming up to catch shoplifters

Posted at 8:02 AM, Nov 25, 2015

Twenty-one shoplifters arrested in a 15-hour operation. All have been charged with retail fraud in the 2nd or 3rd degree. They range in age from 12 to 58-years-old.

"Not in our city. We will not tolerate the shoplifting in the City of Lansing," said Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski.

He said he sees more of the crime during the Holiday season, which is why his officers are out in full force.

"We are teaming up once again with our community to hold them accountable," he said. "And, we are taking regional assets and collaborating, so we can use a force multiplier to make sure that the Holiday season here in 2015 is a safe environment."

During the Shoplifting Blitz Operation last Wednesday and Thursday, LPD worked with six different retailers, including Target.

"We have people in red and khaki, we have people in plain clothes," explained Adam Whitt of Target's Loss Prevention Team. "And, we basically look out for people that are taking merchandise, concealing merchandise and pushing out merchandise."

Anything from clothing to toys to electronics.

"Some will conceal in a Target bag, some will conceal in a purse or they'll just put it in the bottom of their cart and try to buy other things and just push out without paying for it," Whitt said.

And, that crime affects a store's profit, especially smaller businesses.

The owner of Old Town's Katalyst, Sarah Christiansen, said she takes it personally.

"I happen to buy everything that's in here or it's made by someone that I know. So, when somebody takes it, it's, you know, it feels like something that was taken from your home," Christiansen said.

So, even in her small shop, she's installed cameras and placed jewelry in cases.

"It's unfortunate, but that's what we have to do to help protect ourselves and the people that we represent in here," Christiansen said.

It's a tip she learned from LPD as they continue to try to keep the city safe.

Lansing Police plan to have a strong presence throughout the Holiday season. You'll see more officers this Thanksgiving and Black Friday, not only to control crowds, but also to protect stores from retail fraud.