(LibertySociety.com) – Surveillance footage released by the Irvine Police Department in Irvine, California provides a clear shot of a man who has allegedly stolen over $39,000 in merchandise from several Target locations in Southern California. The thief reportedly has a preference for Apple iPads and was captured on surveillance footage snatching one from a Target employee before fleeing the Irvine store. The police said that he had stolen iPads and fled on foot during most of his recent Target hits, but other high-ticket items were also stolen. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the department reiterated its calls to help identify the “serial burglar,” noting the amount of money he had cost the retail giant.
Retail theft has increased since the onset of the pandemic, but retailers have only recently begun taking action after suffering billions in losses each year. Target and other companies have placed the most stolen items in locked plexiglass enclosures. While some customers have complained about the inconvenience of asking an employee to retrieve items, others have said that they appreciate the change. Most were thankful because the items they were shopping for were in stock.
Putting items under lock and key is undoubtedly better than closing stores altogether. Back in September 2023, Target closed nine stores, including three in California due to increased theft ‘threatening the safety” of employees and customers. Walmart and several other companies have permanently shuttered in certain locations after multiple years of losses due to theft. Walmart has also decreased self-checkouts and eliminated them completely in some locations. Retail theft in 2022 resulted in $112.1 billion in losses, up $20 billion from 2021. Official figures from 2023 have not been released yet.
In the past, Target has faced scrutiny from law enforcement for its policies related to confronting shoplifters. In November 2023, Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper blasted the company for forcing officers to make arrests outside of the store during coordinated operations to catch shoplifters. He argued that the retailer continuously sought help to curb theft but seemed more concerned about negative media reports.
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