Shoplifting ranks swell as economy flounders

You might think twice about helping yourself to those goods on the shelves but a growing number of people aren’t. People who wouldn’t normally even think of shoplifting are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law as our economic worries get worse.

According to Ian Urbina in a New York times post says that police departments around the country are seeing a 10 to 20 percent increase in shoplifting arrests this year over last. As Ian points out this figure is probably on the low side since most stores just ban the shoplifters from the premises instead of having them arrested.

This isn’t a case of serial shoplifters either as much of the increase appears to be coming form first time offenders like Richard Johnson

Recently laid off from a job building trailers in Elkhart, Ind., Mr. Johnson came up a dollar short at Martin’s Supermarket last month when he went to buy a $4.99 bottle of sleep medication. So, “for some stupid reason,” he tried to shoplift it and was immediately arrested.

“I was desperate, I guess,” said Mr. Johnson, 25, who said he had never been arrested before. As the economy has weakened, shoplifting has increased, and retail security experts say the problem has grown worse this holiday season. Shoplifters are taking everything from compact discs and baby formula to gift cards and designer clothing.

Source: New York Time

[picture courtesy of Joe Raymond for The New York Times]