Organized crime ring involving more thieves strikes area malls

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by Cory Stark / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 31 at 7:00 PM

 (KMOV) – Authorities investigate a new crime trend involving holiday shopping at area malls. At one mall, officers are seeing more shoplifting cases handled by professionals who are stealing thousands in merchandise.

There's always a spike in thefts around the holidays, but St. Peter's Police said what makes this year different, they're seeing more organized thefts; where people are going into stores, stealing large amounts of items, not for themselves but for someone else.

People get lists from someone saying we need these specific items, and as soon as they've shoplifted those items they bring those to someone else who then takes that product as sells them through various means. We are seeing more of the organized thefts,” said Officer Melissa Doss with St. Peters PD.

Police say a couple was arrested as a part of an organized theft operation.  They were arrested for stealing $1,200 worth of merchandise from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

The mall has more of the name brand clothing, more desirable in the black market, compared to the other stores,” said Officer Doss. “We've seen them selling stuff on Craigslist, eBay. We've also seen them shipped to other areas of the United States.”

Sometimes the criminals head to pawn shops to make a quick buck, but most pawn shops have procedures in place to turn away the bad guys.

New packaging is always suspicious, if they don't have a receipt we won't take it, if they have multiple items for sure we won't take it,” said pawn shop owner, Tim Talimonchuk.

The St. Peters Police Department says their increased patrols at the mall will continue beyond the holiday season.

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