LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Retail theft has become a huge concern for law enforcement.

In fact, they say any business big or small can become the next target for thieves as they come in and try to get away with as much as possible.

Bellies to Babies Boutique is the most recent target of theft.

“We are a women owned baby store we don’t tend to get a lot of men come in,” Jasmine Brown the manager said.

However, Brown tells FOX5 that recently they did have a man come in, but he was not your average customer. He asked for the stuffed animals, specifically a brand called JellyCat.

“He started putting a bunch of stuff in his pants, a bunch of stuffed animals down his pants I wasn’t sure what to do and he just kind of bolted for it,” Brown said.

From small businesses to big chain stores, it is becoming an issue for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

“Most of it is non-violent theft, people going in and trying to steal a basket full or carts full of property, but we see it all over down,” said Sgt. Patrick Flynn with the organized retail and crime section.

Earlier this week, Sheriff Kevin McMahill said retail theft in Las Vegas is worse than what it is in San Francisco. This led to Metro police creating their own task force just to crack down on these types of crimes.

“Organized groups can come from other places steal here and go back to where ever it is to sell their goods and they can never be known,” Lt. Travis Cunningham with the robbery and retail crimes section said.

LVMPD said earlier this week their organized retail crime section recovered almost $30,000 worth of items.

Whether it is big or small, they say it can all add up.

“We might see one where it was the same suspect across the valley targeting two different stores that allows us to combine the cases and make the dollar value higher in the case with allows us to charge as a felony,” Lt. Cunningham said.

They advised store owners to keep a strong surveillance system because you never know how it could help crack the case.

This special unit was developed this past summer, and Sheriff McMahill said since it’s inception they started to look into more than 2500 cases of retail theft resulting in the dollar amount for those items to be well over $5 million.


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