Sting nets 15 arrests

City Market, Kum & Go, T&H Parts target shoplifters


Rotating security teams and an increased awareness about the level of local shoplifting activity netted 15 suspects in a sting last week.

Twelve people were charged with shoplifting at City Market, three at Kum & Go and one at T&H Parts, Inc. between Jan. 14 and Jan. 18.

According to Craig Police Sergeant Bill Leonard, items stolen ranged from a $1 pen to $75 worth of video games.

"It's disappointing to think of how much is going out the doors when the security teams aren't there," he said. "Catching around 12 people during a week like this is about average. If you're an adult, this will go on your personal record.

"Shoplifting raises the cost of everything, because the stores have to cover the losses and pay for the security teams."

The security personnel for City Market travel around Northwest Colorado, patrolling stores alone and in teams, Craig store manager Kirk Mahaffie said.

"Shoplifting is an ongoing problem," Mahaffie said. "It's just kids being typical, stupid kids, or others that have gotten away with it before. We try to catch as many as we can, but we can't be everywhere at once.

"That's why the security teams travel around," he said. "We caught quite a few they certainly wrapped things up here pretty good.

"We'll have one or several security people here as their traveling schedules allow."

The security teams coordinate with the Craig Police when they are patrolling local stores, Leonard said. The security personnel will call in officers after catching a suspected shoplifter. The officer will then take statements from store security, and if the incident falls under the Craig city ordinance definition of shoplifting, the suspect is issued a citation.

People charged with shoplifting face a fine ranging from $15 to $300, and can be sentenced to one to 90 days in jail.

A background check for outstanding warrants is also done at the time a citation is written, Leonard said.

According to Kmart Manager Derick Zuver, the Craig store loses "a fair amount" because of shoplifting. However, he could not disclose the exact amount.

"We bring in security teams on a weekly basis," he said. "We'll have several security personnel in the store. It costs all the customers in the end."

The Skull Creek Trading Co. doesn't have a problem with shoplifting, according to owner and operator Karl Hoffman.

"We have very few problems I think we've lost one purse in the last year and a half," Hoffman said. "Our items are usually under glass, or are too large to walk out with. We have motion detectors that let us know when people come into the store, and we go out and wait on them. We're right there.

"And it just so happens that we have the long mirrors that let you see almost all the angles, depending on where you are."

"I'm sure more businesses will be bringing in security teams, after seeing how shoplifters were caught in just one week," he said. "Shoplifters beware."

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