PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Retail theft is out of control. It’s up more than 50% in many places. In recent months coordinated shoplifting operations with retailers led to the arrests of dozens of people.
On Sunday, Portland police, Multnomah County deputies and TriMet police worked together on a shoplifting sting at Mall 205 and the Gateway Shopping Center, their 3rd sting since December.
Security staff inside the stores communicated with police and deputies stationed outside. A mobile booking unit allowed officers to stay in the area.
Some store owners have cited repeated theft as a reason for permanently closing and leaving The Rose City. In many cases store employees are told by their companies to not confront shoplifters for their own safety.
Authorities told KOIN 6 News shoplifting is just one aspect in a larger web of crime underway in the Portland area and that missions like this make a difference.
“Right now retail theft, it also is associated to our drug issues, our stolen vehicle issues,” said Jordan Zaitz with the PPB East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team. “They’re all kind of combined together and all of it’s affecting our community.”
Ezequiel Gutierrez, who owns Mi Cava Cocina, said they “see broken windows along the area. That’s an everyday scene nowadays.”
In the 2 previous coordinated shoplifting stings at these same locations, a total of 104 people have been arrested, Multnomah County officials said. Additionally, 130 warrants were serviced, 10 stolen cars were recovered and about $11,000 in stolen retail items were recovered.
Police are stepping up the shoplifting crackdowns and letting the community know about it.
“We kind of let everybody get away with it. We just didn’t have the resources to actually touch on it,” Zaitz said. “So now it’s good to be able to arrest people and hold them accountable.”