While retailers are in the midst of their biggest sales period for the year over Christmas, the number of thefts also spike during the festive season.
“This time of the year stores have more stock out and available and with a lot more people in the aisles it becomes harder for employees to watch for thieves,” said Chief of Police Bob Hundley.
Constable Steve Hill recently took down two thieves in Kroger after he saw them shoplifting.
“Both times I observed the subject placing an item in their waistband and covering it with their shirt and jacket,” said Hill. “It was obvious they were trying to hide something.”
Both those subjects were arrested and charged.
While theft increases this time of the year, officers patrolling stores and around town increases also.
“We increase our presence around town during the Holiday season with uniformed officers not only patrolling more but also walking around stores,” said Hundley.
So, what punishment could thieves face if caught stealing?
“It really depends on what was stolen,” said Hundley. “There are various punishments for the retail value of the property taken and if they have been convicted of theft before. It can escalate from a Class C Misdemeanor (fine only offense) to jail time.”
Hundley also warns locals that it isn’t only theft in stores around this time of the year but in vehicles also.
“Statistically, the number of items stolen out of vehicles goes up this time of the year and it’s mainly because criminals look for opportunities where someone has left purchases in clear sight in their vehicle,” explained Hundley. “You have people that will walk through the neighborhoods or even parking lots looking for unlocked cars.”
Hill cautioned locals to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
“Park in lighted areas, do not leave items or purses visible through a car window and to be sure and lock your cars,” he said. “And if something does not look right or out of place report it.”
For more Holiday Safety Tips from the Paris Police Department, click here
VIDEO: Constable Steve Hill