The Blade/Lori King
A sweep of retail outlets in Lucas and Wood counties was done to help deter shoplifting during the rest of the holiday shopping season, authorities said Friday.
The sweep Thursday resulted in 20 shoplifting arrests, which were announced by Toledo police Capt. Bradley Weis during an afternoon news conference at Government Center in downtown Toledo. Most of the arrests were in the clothing sections, he said.
Captain Weis said retail theft is a growing problem that area law enforcement agencies “finally” decided to address by pulling their efforts together in a joint sweep.
“It’s always a problem, especially during this time of the year,” Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said. “We are trying to make a difference by working more closely with store loss-prevention officers, with prosecutors, and with our regional [law enforcement] partners, because the same guy who gets busted [for shoplifting] in Toledo is busted in Sylvania, is busted in Perrysburg, is busted in Bowling Green.”
Police and area retail representatives, who attended the news conference, said the sweep was a cooperative event designed to let would-be-thieves know that stores are patrolled by police and that retailers intend to prosecute theft suspects, Captain Weis said.
The sweep also netted seven arrests on charges other than shoplifting.
Additionally nine warrants were served, two vehicles seized, and 13 traffic citations issued, the captain said.
Participating law enforcement agencies included Toledo police, Perrysburg Township police, Perrysburg police, Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Sylvania Township police, Holland police, Rossford police, and Bowling Green police.
The stores involved were J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Dillard’s, DSW Shoes, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Toys R Us, Kohl’s, Meijer, Kroger, TJ Maxx, Walmart, Target, Office Max, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Rite Aid, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
About a dozen area law enforcement agents and two area retail representatives attended the press conference. Neither of the retail representatives made a statement. Both declined comment.
The stepped-up police presence at retail stores will continue though December, Captain Weis said.