Jerry Swanson, SPD Public Information Assistant, 509.610.9451
Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 3:17 p.m.
The Spokane Police Department conducted a series of anti-shoplifting enforcement specials Oct-Dec of 2021, designed to curb rising thefts at malls and stores. SPD works closely with retail loss prevention as the volume of and brazen acts of stealing from stores can be overwhelming.
The details included adding increased patrols and NRO (neighborhood resource officer) teams, utilizing detectives in an undercover capacity, and follow-up investigations. The increased presence serves as a deterrent for would-be thieves, while the undercover aspect seeks to hold those committing these acts accountable.
During the emphasis on 12/02/21, SPD arrested a number of people for crimes including 3rd theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, and outstanding felony warrants. In one case, SPD was contacted by store loss prevention who informed them a man was filling up a shopping cart and backpack with items. When the man left the store, he had a backpack full of more than $250.00 worth of stolen goods. The suspect immediately opened a knife blade from his waistband and held it in his hand in what police say was a clear attempt at arming himself in case he was confronted by loss prevention about the theft. Fortunately, Spokane Police detectives were able to get him to drop the knife and take him into custody.
A second shoplifting emphasis was held at the same location on 12/16/21. While the extremely icy slick roads kept many shoppers away, the thieves were still out and were met by SPD officers who arrested two people on new felony charges, three for misdemeanor theft, and one person on a DV warrant, not to mention the number of thefts averted by would-be thieves who changed course when they spotted police.
For shoppers… Be diligent, don’t leave packages in your car. The same thieves stealing from stores are looking at cars in parking lots and breaking windows to grab goods. Sometimes, they are taking the actual car with the goods.
We want to emphasis to citizens not to take matters into their own hands if they witness a theft. But do, if it’s safe to do so, be a good witness; get a license plate, take a picture of a car or suspect with your cell phone and ALWAYS report the crime even if you don’t think it will help in the immediate case, it may help police identify prolific thieves and get a read on theft patterns.