Aug 27, 2014 8:54 PM by Greg Dingrando
COLORADO SPRINGS - Shoplifting is becoming a major concern in Colorado Springs.
In fact, it's ranked one of the worst cities in the entire country for shoplifting.
The amount being stolen is astounding. We're talking millions of dollars being taken from some stores and it not only affects the business it trickles on down to you as consumers.
Shoplifters come from all demographics, any age, any race, but the district attorney's office said the worst offenders certainly aren't amateurs, they're professionals.
"Basically its what they do for a living. I'm not joking, when we get up and go to work, they do to. They're just doing work that's illegal," said Amy Fitch a senior deputy with the District Attorney's office.
Deputies said the thieves are going after anything that's popular on the street, from little things like razors and laundry detergent, to electronics and jewelry. One of the hottest targets is Wal-Mart.
"Last year in Colorado Springs, one Wal-Mart store alone lost over $3-million," said Fitch.
That was enough to get Colorado Springs a #1 ranking in a category it doesn't want.
"The Wal-Mart's alone in Colorado Springs are the biggest loss of any other market in the United States. We're beating New York, beating LA, beating Chicago in terms of loss," said Fitch.
If you think Wal-Mart and other businesses are the only ones affected by this, think again.
"Its tens of millions of dollars and we're losing tax revenue on those items so that effects every person that lives in this community and it costs more to purchase that item because the stores have to make up that loss somewhere," said Fitch.
The DA's office is working to reverse the trend by working with retailers to crack down on repeat offenders, first by identifying the criminals and banning them from the stores. Then if they come back and steal again its no longer just a slap on the wrist, it would be a felony offense.
The hope is the increased punishment will detour suspects from stealing, but if not it can take out some of the worst offenders.
"It also takes some of these people, who as we talked about earlier get up early and go to work, takes them out of the stream so they aren't committing more offenses," said Fitch.
If you're a big fan of websites like Craigslist think about this story before you purchase. The DA's office said if you find a really great deal that seems too good to be true, its probably stolen and if that's the case and you still buy, you're only contributing to the problem.