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Macy’s, North Face Robberies Highlight Aggressive Shoplifting Epidemic

Violent encounters between increasingly aggressive shoplifters and loss prevention staff at retail stores continue to be a problem, as was evidenced last week in an incident at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-area Macy’s.

Police on Tuesday last week responded to reports of shoplifters fleeing after having ransacked clothing items and allegedly pepper-sprayed an employee before fleeing to the parking lot, according to WPLG TV in Fort Lauderdale.

According to Broward County court records, police began following a 2019 white Lexus that crashed into a 2016 Kia Soul, resulting in minor injuries suffered by its occupants.

The driver, Armani Green, 21, of North Lauderdale, and a 17-year-old minor fled the Lexus on foot, according to police reports. Green gave himself up, while the minor was subdued by a responding officer’s K9 partner. Both suspects were processed at the Lauderhill PD.

According to media reports, a third person in the vehicle was not charged.

Green was charged with resisting arrest without violence, a first-degree misdemeanor and fleeing with disregard of safety to persons or property, a second-degree felony.

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There were no charges listed related to the attempted shoplifting at Macy’s or assault on the employee.

On the same day in California, a pair of suspects in Berkeley allegedly stole more than $1,000 in merchandise from a The North Face Outlet store and fled in a vehicle that bore a false license plate, according to the Berkeley Police Department’s Facebook post.

In the post, police said an off-duty officer spotted the car and detained a suspect entering the car. Officers said they recognized a jacket as one of those stolen earlier in the day from The North Face Outlet store and upon searching the suspect found methamphetamine and cocaine.

Neither Macy’s nor The North Face responded immediately to Sourcing Journal requests for comment.

Meanwhile, in Memphis, one of the cities hardest hit by organized retail crime, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy announced he will hold bi-weekly press conferences addressing the ongoing problem of retail theft. He also announced a concerted effort in the prosecutor’s office to identify the biggest ORC offenders and build stronger cases against them.

“We’re gonna make sure we wrap all those cases to centralized prosecutors, people who are going to develop expertise on who the repeat players are,” Mulroy said during his Thursday media briefing.

In addition, Mulroy said his office would provide free lunches and free parking for victims and witnesses at the courthouse when cases are being prosecuted.

“It’s extremely important we make the experience for witnesses as painless as possible,” Mulroy said.

Memphis businesses have reported more than 600 robberies this year, an increase of more than 30 percent from this time last year.