Shoplifters Make Prices Higher For People Who Pay - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/28/02

Shoplifters Make Prices Higher For People Who Pay

The spotlight is on an actress that a California prosecutor says "helped herself to a little something extra" The shoplifting trial against Ryder began on Monday. She's accused of stealing $5,500 in goods from a Beverly Hills store.

Coast police say shoplifting is a crime that happens everywhere including here.

Every time someone fills up his tank at this Gulfport gas station owners should be making money. But that doesn't happen when people don't pay. So far this year driveoffs has cost George Moore $1,000 at his gas station on Dedeaux Road in Gulfport. The stealing doesn't stop at the door. Moore says two to three times a month thieves inside the store pick up snacks but bypass the cash register.

"Not only do we have the small items like candy and things like that which might not affect things in the long run," said store owner George Miller. "We also have had people caught before stealing 12 packs of beer, 12 packs of Coke. Things that do add up over time a lot more."

Gulfport Police say stealing eventually adds up to a ride in a patrol car. Officers answer complaints about shoplifters practically every day.

"Everything from meat products to cigarettes, you name it people have tried to attempt to steal it and some of them sure have stolen it," said Sgt. Alfred Sexton of the Gulfport Police Department.

Police say shoplifters' excuses for stealing range from need to just for thrill. Some business owners say what isn't a thrill is who ends up footing the bill for stolen items.

Moore said "The people that are stealing are doing nothing but causing the cost to rise for people are legitimate and who would never even think about doing it."

Stealing items valued under $250 is a misdemeanor. But, after a third shoplifting conviction, police say the charge becomes a felony.

by Danielle Thomas

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