PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A coordinated operation by the Tigard Police caught several suspected shoplifters at a local Fred Meyer.
The ‘blitz’ carried out on Thursday, Aug. 4 and was performed in cooperation with loss prevention employees at the Tigard Fred Meyer on Pacific Highway. The operation focused on shoplifters and other criminal activity.
The detectives caught five people in the operation. Three were left off with warnings, but the other two, Robert Patterson, age 44, and Marat Gudarenko, age 30, were both arrested.
Patterson was arrested for criminal trespass and resisting arrest as well as already having warrants out for his arrest. Gudarenko was arrested for theft and also had warrants.
Detectives often work with loss prevention employees throughout Tigard as a way to identify and stop criminal suspects. Authorities say that blitzes are just one way that they hope to prevent future criminal activity.
As retail theft is on the rise across the nation and in the Pacific Northwest, groups representing the retail industry say this is not “petty” survival theft, but rather organized theft that’s too big of a problem for local police to solve.
In June, Washington’s attorney general announced a task force to combat organized retail crime.
Amanda Dalton with Northwest Grocery Association says grocery stores operate on a small margin and they are starting to see the cost of this theft being passed on to the customer. She’s hoping Oregon implements something similar to what’s happening in Washington.
“I’m optimistic that an Oregon conversation will be launched soon and we’ll be able to have similar efforts that are being undertaken in Washington and California,” Dalton said.
KOIN 6 News spoke with a representative for Fred Meyer who said people are stealing any items that can be re-sold. Right now, they said hot items are laundry detergent and Levi’s jeans.
KOIN 6 News also reached to the Oregon attorney general’s office but have not heard back.