STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The Stockton Police Department says the one-day operation that led to the arrest of 14 people is part of a larger initiative to crack down on recent thefts.
Viral videos posted online show a familiar scene inside stores across the country. Thieves walk in, grab as much merchandise as they can and leave without paying.
It’s something Stockton police say has been on the rise during the holiday months.
“Yesterday, officers from our strategic operations section worked side-by-side with loss prevention agents and store security officers at our local malls looking for shoplifters,” Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva told FOX40.
The department arrested 10 adults and four juveniles ranging from 15 to 17 years old.
During the “Holiday Retail Theft Mission,” Silva said they used unmarked cars and patrol vehicles around the Weberstown Mall, J.C. Penney and Target.
“This is the second operation we’ve done during the holiday season because during this time of year this is when you see an increase in shoplifting at our local stores,” Silva said.
Some of the suspects were caught grabbing small items, placing them inside a bag or concealing the items inside their clothing, according to officials.
But officers said they also saw a suspect grab a large number of items before running from a store.
“It took a lot of time and effort to do our operation but getting our officers in there being undercover in a mall whether they are actually in a store or actually looking at the video surveillance on security cameras,” Silva said.
Holiday shoppers said it is great that officers are working to keep shoppers and employees safe when these types of thefts happen.
“If I would ever see someone trying to steal, I think I would stop them from doing that,” shopper Djordje Stanic said.
The Stockton Police Department said they were able to recover $1,400 of merchandise and all 14 people are facing shoplifting charges.