Holiday Shoplifters Beware - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/26/02 - Nacogdoches

Holiday Shoplifters Beware

by Jessica Cervantez

Stores were packed with bargain-hunters searching for good deals, but wherever there are shoppers, there are also shoplifters. Stores are on high alert during the entire holiday season. Retailers are protecting their merchandise and your pocketbook.

Normally, shoppers would not recognize Kerrie Shotwell, but she is watching other shoppers. She is a shopper, like everyone else, but she is shopping for thieves.

Shotwell, a loss prevention agent, said, "I mainly apprehend shoplifters."

Shotwell checks dressing rooms for price-tags. That is her #1 clue. Retailers say shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes. In the past month and a half, Burke's Outlet in the University Mall has caught at least 15 shoplifters, and it is because they know what they are looking for.

Store Manager Emily Clark said, "We look for signs like when people come in with heavy coats when it is 70 degrees, or they make eye-contact a lot."

Greg Sowell of the Nacogdoches Police Department is impressed with what retailers are doing to catch thieves.

"A lot of retailers have good cameras and that is really good," Sowell said.

Everything is not what it seems to be in Burke's Outlet. It is safe to say they have cameras everywhere, but the employees are just as well trained.

Clark said, "Customer service is the key. If you are very attentive to the customers that leaves little time to do anything."

Shoplifters can cause stores to lose millions of dollars, but not Burke's Outlet. They have only lost 2% of their sales. They say it is because they have both the technology and the eyes to catch shoplifters. That means the cost of those thefts will not be passed on to you.

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