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Shoplifting more prevalent during Christmas season

By Staff
A NEW SET OF EYES Krystal Lewis, manager of the Underground, a clothing and novelty shop at Bonita Lakes Mall, holds the newest gadget at her store one of three tiny cameras designed to catch thieves. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star.
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 15, 2001
Shoplifters were stealing Jerry Manor blind until he bought himself three new sets of eyes.
Tiny cameras were installed in his Underground shop at Bonita Lakes Mall three weeks ago to combat a crime that costs retailers and consumers billions of dollars each year.
Manor once prosecuted a woman who stole a zebra purse from a vendor's cart he has in the mall and then brought it to the Underground store to find a matching hat.
The woman didn't have a bag for the purse, which Manor thought was "kind of weird." He said the Underground and his vendor's cart were the only two places in the mall that had a zebra purse.
Crime happens year-round
Shoplifting is a year-round crime that Detective Deano Harper, spokesman for the Meridian Police Department, said picks up during the holiday shopping season.
Harper said shoplifters fit no profile.
In fact, he said, he wasn't surprised when Hollywood actress Winona Ryder was arrested Thursday for shoplifting clothes in a Beverly Hill's Saks Fifth Avenue boutique.
Customers steal clothes
Regina Lofton, manager of Motherhood Maternity, said her company keeps strict inventory records so she knows within minutes if her stock is missing.
Lofton said good customer service is the best deterrent to shoplifters and Sears' general manager John Saunders agreed.
Clerk makes move
Manor's store manager, Krystal Lewis, said shoplifters are bold.
Christina Reichenbach of Claire's Boutique at the mall said she catches at least two shoplifters a month.
Shoplifting is high in her store because of the smaller items they sell and because usually only one person is manning the store at a time.
Mirrors installed around the perimeter of the ceiling help, she said.
Harper said he estimates roughly 40 percent of shoplifters are caught, which gives thieves a better than 50 percent chance that they won't get caught.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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