Large signs reduce shoplifting - FOX 13 News

Large signs reduce shoplifting

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A video released by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office is designed to deter five-finger discounts.

Undercover deputies are seen taking down a suspect allegedly trying to steal from a Walmart on U.S. 19.

"We mean what we say, if you go shoplifting in Pasco County, you're going to be arrested," said Sheriff Chris Nocco.

And they didn't just say it, they advertised it. A large,blinking, road construction-style sign warned that "undercover deputies might be on duty" outside the Walmart the day of the undercover sting.

"They were brazen. We actually had a sign up that said we're conducting an operation here and they still went ahead and did it," Nocco said.

This type of shoplifting prevention isn't just happening in Pasco County. Drivers may have seen a similar sign outside the Walmart on Dale Mabry in Tampa.

Tampa police set it up in January.

"What we noticed was shoplift was 21% of our total crime last year," said Major Paul Driscoll of the Tampa Police Department.

And they're doing more than just setting up signs.

"We had roll calls, which is when the officers start their shift, the squads would meet in the parking lot again for visibility," said Driscoll. "We park the prisoner transport van in the Walmart parking lot. What that creates is more officers coming into the parking lot in patrol cars and on top of that it shows prisoners being put in the prisoner transport wagon."

Police say shoplifting can lead to other crimes and often leads to higher prices to make up for store losses.

All that extra activity near the store has produced big time results:

"During that time period we saw a 70 percent reduction in shoplifts," Driscoll said.

That means you can expect to see more signs like these all over the area.

"If you reduce the opportunity, you reduce crime," Nocco said.

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