Authorities target, arrest retail thieves

Retail stores have teamed up with law enforcement to thwart anyone planning to play the Grinch this holiday season.

Toledo Police Captain Brad Weis says, "The Toledo police department, along with surrounding law enforcement, took part in an area-wide enforcement operation targeting retail theft at stores across Northwest Ohio."

Police say they are communicating better between agencies, and that makes it easier to catch thieves.

"If we get the information out that this person is stealing from us and we don't know who he is, but all the sudden we run across him, now we've identified him and we're helping everybody solve everybody's crimes," explains Perrysburg Twp. Detective Jim Gross.

Officers on the street patrol areas where thieves are most likely to strike, and police have given store security officers a direct line to law enforcement.

Gross says, "They have immediate access. They weren't waiting for someone to respond, and to get there to handle the theft, or whatever had occurred at the store."

In the one-day operation, police made 20 arrests for shoplifting, seven arrests on other charges, and seized two vehicles. Warrants were also served and traffic tickets given.

Officials say the effort sends a clear message.

"Both law enforcement and the retail community, will not put up with shoplifting, and areas being pilfered by thieves," says Weis.

Clothing and electronics are thieves' favorite targets, and some make stealing their full-time job.

Gross says, "They're going out, they're finding particular items that they're looking for, and then they've got a market that they are actually selling to."

Thieves can expect authorities to be out in force through the holiday shopping season.

"Law enforcement is going to be out there. We are watching you. And our retail partners are going to prosecute for these thefts," says Weis.

The operation has been so successful, that police say it could become standard procedure.