CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is launching a new task force to help reduce the number of organized retail thefts. The department announced Wednesday that members of the task force will work to identify and arrest offenders through identifying trends and collaborating with business owners.
Lieutenant Rob Sprague, who leads the new retail crime task force, says these incidents affect everyone in the community and hopes to reduce the number of groups committing theft.
“We aren’t talking about kids stealing candy bars,” said Sprague. “The people involved in organized retail crime are walking out of stores with garbage bags full of undergarments or shopping carts full of expensive tools.”
In 2018, CMPD says they investigated almost 6,000 shoplifting cases which are up 13 percent to the date. Some businesses have also reported nearly 200 incidents of shoplifting over a three year time-span.
On Wednesday, CMPD announced they obtained warrants for a robbery from Home Depot back in October. The department says this marks the first case clearance since the new crime task force started at the beginning of January.
Anyone who witnesses a crime is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 and safely gather information that could be helpful identifying the suspect(s).