Police report holiday retail theft is up in Eau Claire

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This season of giving is apparently also one of taking as police report an increase in area retail thefts.

The Eau Claire Police Department says thefts are up this holiday season.

“We see retail theft numbers increasing across the board,” said officer Kyle Roder.

The department says even if you're not the one stealing the cost of those stolen items gets translated to consumers eventually affecting everyone shopping this season.

To keep getting the best deals on holiday gifts Roder says the department is taking a pro-active approach.

Roder said, “Our department works very closely with a number of loss prevention specialists in order to devise plans as to how best to not become a victim as a store.”

To prevent theft the department works with the stores that have the highest number of cases.

“A lot of it has to do with the physical layout of a store,” said Roder. “It has to do with the security of a store, the loss prevention of a store, the surveillance of a store and it also has to do with store policies.”

Roder says the increase of shoppers and the desire to buy gifts but lack of money are obvious contributing factors to the rise in thefts.

However, he says an unexpected cause is drugs.

“We find people who are addicted to methamphetamine who admitted they are committing these retail thefts to get money in order to feed their addiction,” explained Roder.

Shoppers can help police and retailers by reporting a description of a suspected shoplifter but Roder recommends never physically approaching a suspect.

Roder added, “Taking something as simple as a small item is theft no matter on the value and we want people to really think about that before they decide to do that.”

Also, with Cyber Monday taking place this week packages may soon be arriving on doorsteps but beware of so called “porch pirates.”

Major carriers say to avoid thieves you should customize your delivery time or download the carrier's app and have your package redirected, even if it's already on its way, if you’re not at home.

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