NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — We see it happen time and time again — thieves working as a group to steal from retail shops.
“We’ve been seeing this pattern for several years now, where people are making it somewhat of a full-time job,” explained Cmdr. Scott Ryan with the Hendersonville Police Department.
It’s a “job” that comes at a pretty high cost and risk. A new study from the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that organized retail crime has increased by 26%, in a year. It’s a crime that impacts areas across the United States.
“A lot of times, we’re seeing groups of three to five that will come in and usually use sort of distraction,” said Ryan. “There seems to be a large marketplace on social media and these sell sites where people are able to move these types of items around. So, here in the Midstate, we’re also monitoring that.”
Shoplifting and retail crime are usually done at big box stores, whether it be a smash-and-grab or teams who work to distract workers as someone else steals.
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Now, more often the crime is getting caught on camera. However, what happens after the theft? Experts say often times thieves turn online.
“We’re actually not surprised this is happening because scammers know to go where we are, and all of us are on our social media accounts more than we’ve ever been. We’re on our smart devices more than we’ve ever been, and so all they have to do is get one is us,” said Robyn Householder, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for Middle TN.
The BBB warns of “too good to be true” deals that can be found online. The NRF found 25% of online sales, are products that have been stolen. Some of the top items include laundry detergent pods, makeup, and baby formula.
“Scam Tracker is such a valuable resource because you can not only report scams but you can also see where scams are happening, and scammers tend to do things regionally, they will work an area, until it’s no longer lucrative and then move on to another one,” Householder explained.