LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The season of giving typically means the season of shopping, but some people are also taking from local stores without paying for it.
This week, for the third year, Louisville Metro Police and St. Matthews Police cracked down on shoplifters in partnership with the Kentucky Organized Retail Crime Association.
“We work with law enforcement and loss prevention to stop as many boosters a possible in the stores,” Terry Young, Organized Retail Crime Manager for the Louisville Division Kroger Corporation, said. “A booster, their whole goal is to get up in the morning and decide where they’re going to boost and how much they can make that day.”
KYORCA, LMPD, and St. Matthews PD partnered with 31 local retailers for a holiday shoplifting blitz.
“We want to stop the professional shoplifters mainly who make a living doing this especially this time of year during the holiday seasons,” Sgt. Matt Brown with LMPD’s 8th Division said.
St. Matthews Police said shoplifting is a major problem in their city year-round.
“In our city, this is our number one offense,” St. Matthews Police Major Tony Cobaugh said. “If you already thought it was a crime problem in your division or your city, this really emphasized it because of the amount of contacts, albeit arrests or citations that both departments have at the time we’re doing these details.”
During the sting, retailers and loss prevention employees use an app to contact police when they see someone shoplifting. Police respond quickly so they can arrest the shoplifter as they exit the store and get to their car.
Over a five day operation spanning from LMPD’s 7th and 8th divisions and St. Matthews, police arrested 57 people. They served 19 warrants and recovered more than $10,000 in stolen property. They also seized various drugs and tools to take tags off merchandise.
Police said they tend to arrest people for shoplifting who already have prior offenses or warrants.
LMPD 8th division officer Lacy Ezell said these shoplifting stings are meant to send a message.
“There’s a zero-tolerance when it comes to this stuff,” Ezell said. “When you do get caught and you will get caught, you’re going to end up going to jail. It’s not going to be fun.”
To learn more about the Kentucky Organized Retail Crime Association, click here.