D'IBERVILLE, MS Feb 21 2017
Retail crimes are growing in D'Iberville, where more and more businesses continue to pop up. Since 2015, police say there have been more than 600 arrests made for these types of crimes, which include shoplifting and credit card fraud.
In 2017 alone - from Jan. 1 to Feb. 5 - D'Iberville Police Department's retail crimes unit say they worked 33 cases of shoplifting cases, 14 of credit card fraud, three embezzlement incidents and seven counterfeit investigations.
Cpl. Leo DeGeorge and Investigator Terry Joiner are officers in that retail crime unit and say they battle shoplifting every day. They are also currently on the lookout for several suspects they say got a five finger discount.
"We've actually had merchants press shoplifting charges on people for shoplifting a corn dog," said DeGeorge.
But it's the electronics like T.V.'s and gaming devices that tend to be the biggest draw for shoplifters. According to the National Retail Federation, organized retail crime is on the rise and costs retailers approximately $30 billion a year.
"The most creative or in depth shoplifter was one we encountered last year," said DeGeorge. "She actually was switching bar codes and she had lists that she had to shoplift to sell to other people."
DeGeorge works heavily with retailers to catch the criminals, using surveillance footage and tips to find the culprits. Out of all the retail crimes, DeGeorge said shoplifting and credit card fraud are the most popular for thieves.
"These people are stealing the items and they're reselling them on social media or they are going to flea markets," he said. "Or they already have people that want the item and they are just trying to obtain them to be able to sell them."
But DeGeorge says arrests just don't happen, adding that help from retailers is absolutely vital to their investigations.
"We have to have their cooperation in identifying suspects," DeGeorge emphasized. "Getting as much information as they can about them safely and, if possible, a vehicle description and tag number."
Anyone with information about retail crimes in D'Iberville is asked to call the police department's retail crimes unit at 228-396-4252.