Owner of Jacobson’s Ace Hardware stores in the Chippewa Valley concerned with uptick of retail thefts in recent years
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The owner of Jacobson’s Ace Hardware stores in the Chippewa Valley sounded the alarm on social media over a recent uptick of retail thefts.
“So, over the last few years it’s just gotten... it’s increased tremendously,” said Joel Jacobson, the owner of the four hardware store locations, two in Chippewa County and two in Eau Claire.
Jacobson has said on the store’s Facebook page that he’d like to ask customers to say something if they see something, in hopes of preventing more thefts in the future.
“We don’t want anyone getting in any altercations or anything like that. We just want a couple more sets of eyes. We don’t have a giant staff to just watch for security tapes,” said Jacobson.
He is also concerned for the safety of his employees, which range in age with the youngest being teenagers.
“It’s frustrating. It’s hard to deal with. And it’s putting out staff in some safety risk situations with these people pushing past them running out the door. We consider everyone of them a dangerous situation. We don’t know if there’s a weapon involved or something like that,” said Jacobson.
High end tools and other pricy items are things Jacobson said get stolen a lot, costing the businesses thousands of dollars in losses.
“The tools are currently locked up with a key except for our display models. And they have wires on them, and they’re cutting the wires and taking those. We’re going to just adjust those displays and we don’t want to have to do that,” said Jacobson.
A spokesperson with the Eau Claire Police Department said in a statement:
“We do respond to a lot of retail thefts. One thing business owners can do is they can fill out an online Citizens Self Report Form which can be found on our website, especially if they have surveillance video of the suspect(s). If they catch someone in the act of stealing they can certainly call patrol. I would stress that businesses should have a policy in place regarding whether or not they will prosecute shoplifters. We generally will not send an officer if they don’t prosecute. As far as what customers can do, we always encourage people to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity, which would certainly include telling a store employee if they see anything concerning.
Jacobson said police have caught and arrested suspects in the past, but more needs to be done.
“It’s a concern that this could escalate even further if we don’t start deterring this action,” said Jacobson.
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