SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – During the holiday season, getting gifts for your loved ones shouldn’t be the only thing on your list. You should also be keeping an eye out for potential shoplifters.
The Spartanburg Police Department said every year they see an uptick in both shoplifting and all property crimes during the holiday season. There are some ways they say you can try and prevent this from happening.
Lieutenant Alan Bledsoe said you should keep a watchful eye on your things, especially this time of year.
“Just to be aware of your surroundings, at all times, have your keys in your hand when you’re going to your car, get in your car, don’t sit in the parking lot,” said Lieutenant Bledsoe.
He said never leave your valuables in plain sight.
“Over the Black Friday holiday, if you leave a laptop sitting in the passenger seat of your car, they will smash your window and take that laptop,” he said.
Instead, he said leave your things in your trunk and cover them, or make a trip home to drop off packages before you continue shopping.
“The bad guys are looking for Christmas too,” said Lt. Bledsoe.
Always lock your car and never leave your purse unattended.
“So, it’s just unfortunately that they go about it in nefarious ways that most people are out shopping, they’re out stealing,” he said.
If you see someone shoplifting, Lieutenant Bledsoe said do not try and intervene.
“Try and notify a member of the store team and then call law enforcement,” he said. “Absolutely under no circumstances should a member of the public try and get involved.”
For store employees or owners, Lieutenant Bledsoe said to pay attention. Another helpful tip, he said, is for stores to be willing to prosecute shoplifters.
Lisa Giaimo is one of the owners of Market on Main.
“Especially as the holidays, you know, we have bigger crowds and busier times in the store. We have to be extra vigilant,” she said.
She said, thankfully, they have not had a to deal with a lot of shoplifting.
“We have not had a lot of instances in our four years or so in business,” said Giaimo. “So, we’re very thankful for that, but it is something, as business owners, that we’re very aware of.”
She said the store has cameras, adds extra staffing during the holidays and for events, and they have a great relationship with the police officers in Spartanburg.
“We also have a panic button, so we have lots of different ways that our staff can address the situation, if needed,” she said. “Mostly, it’s starting with assuming someone made an honest mistake and taking it from there.”
Lieutenant Bledsoe said they will be putting extra officers in all the shopping districts in Spartanburg for Black Friday through Christmas.
Shoplifters could face jail time and up to thousands of dollars in fines.