Are smash-and-grab, group retail crimes on the rise in Elk Grove?

Are smash-and-grab incidents like this one recorded in San Jose last year on the rise in Elk Grove?| 

Two social media posts might not indicate a trend, but combined with other verified information, could Elk Grove retailers, like many in California, be subjected to repeated organized shoplifting?

Below are screenshots entered on a popular crime-reporting social media site with claims by the posters that they witnessed significant shoplifting incidents. The reported incidents happened at Sephora cosmetics store and Kohl's department store, both located at Bruceville Road and Elk Grove Blvd. 

The Friday, September 8 Sephora incident as described by a reported witness:

The Monday, September 11 incident as described by a reported witness:

Elk Grove Police verified the Sephora incident but had no injury reports. As part of their effort to address this statewide problem, the EGPD recently hosted a loss prevention symposium and has committed to addressing the issue. 

"We are committed to ensuring our local businesses, their employees, and customers stay safe by continuing our random parking lot patrol checks in addition to working closely with our businesses and their loss prevention officers," EGPD public information officer Sgt. Jason Jimenez told Elk Grove News.

There is no current data available on this specific type of shoplifting in Elk Grove. While these robberies have received widespread attention with some retailer blaming them for losses, some contend they are not as detrimental as suggested.  

While crimes like the Sephora were reported, often large-scale - more than $1,000 in value - shoplifting events are unreported. According to a manager at one Fortune 500 retailer with multiple locations in Elk Grove, that chain, as a matter of policy, does not file shoplifting incidents with the police. 

The employee who asked not to be identified but whose status is verified said this retailer does little once an event has occurred. Loss prevention personnel approach shoplifters on a limited basis with no physical contact and make little effort to identify suspects via information collection, such as recording vehicle license plates. 

The employee also said that shoplifting occurs almost daily for mostly high-value, portable items. They express concerns as the frequency occurs, the perpetrators will injure employees or shoppers, especially the elderly or disabled, who inadvertently get in the way as they terrorize employees and customers. 

Given the increasing frequency of these crimes throughout California, the ease of fencing stolen goods, and little legislative interest in revisiting shoplifting value threshold laws, expect no decrease in this criminal activity. 

That frontline employee's fear should remind shoppers in Elk Grove and throughout California to be aware of their surroundings in retail stores.   
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1 comment

D.J. Blutarsky said...

I'm not worried, because the Measure E Quality of Life sales tax will help keep Elk Grove safer!

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