Business owners need to be wary of distraction tactics
Every month, tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise is being shoplifted from business in Greater Sudbury, said Greater Sudbury Police Service Staff Sgt. Al Asunmaa.
Shoplifting rings are “well organized,” he said. They utilize distraction tactics to gain an employee's attention while other members of the group steal merchandise. Business owners usually only become aware of it after they've done an inventory check or notice something is missing, long after the thieves have left, he said.
That was the case with a group of shoplifters recently busted by Greater Sudbury Police Service. On Feb. 20, police arrested six individuals, suspected to be part of a shoplifting ring operating in New Sudbury.
The suspects were taking orders and targeting retail stores, Asunmaa said. They would go from store to store to steal specific merchandise and then sell it to fill the orders.
In this particular incident, police found stolen items totalling a little more than $1,000, but officers are still investigating additional evidence that might indicate these particular shoplifters had been at other stores, Asunmaa said.
These six individuals weren't acting as part of a larger shoplifting ring, Asunmaa said, but that's not the case with every group that is busted.
Shoplifters come to Sudbury from all over the province. Luckily, other police services across Ontario are able to provide photos of suspects and vehicle descriptions associated to those suspects, Asunmaa said. Still, it's difficult at best to bust an out-of-town shoplifting ring that decides to hit Sudbury.
“It's difficult, because they come in and they are gone within a day or two,” Asunmaa said. “They do as much damage as they can, and then they're onto the next city. They basically travel around committing crimes.”
Asunmaa said business owners and their employees need to be aware of larger groups coming into their store. Staff needs to remain vigilant of those coming in and out of their store, and to have an employee keep an eye on the exit, Asunmaa said.