Monday, June 17, 2024
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Algood Police Holding Retail Theft Seminar Wednesday

The Algood Police Department is holding a retail theft seminar Wednesday to train law enforcement, private security, and retail owners on identifying organized theft before it happens.

Algood Police Chief Dale Armour said organized retail theft has become more common nationwide. He said the perpetrators may travel from city to city stealing hundreds of dollars of merchandise from stores and reselling it to make a living. He said by bringing owners and agencies together to identify the people historically responsible and explain their MOs, they can be stopped.

“Walmart up here for example, if someone loads up a cart and does a push put, they’re not doing it just as one Walmart,” Armour said. “They’re doing it at other stores, so we’d like for everyone to be talking together. So, it’s going to be like an intelligence-type thing. A group just to get together and discuss what’s going on and, like I said, have some training involved in it too.”

Armour said with some 57 people already signed up, the event has outgrown city hall and will be held across the street at Hope Church. He said criminal methodology may differ from city to city, so he hopes to see everyone working together to identify trends.

“You’ve got organized groups that’ll come in and they may hit, for example, may hit Cookeville and then Chattanooga, Alabama, they don’t know boundaries,” Armour said. “Some of them actually come in and have a shopping list of what they’re supposed to steal so that they can sell to certain people.”

He said he attended a similar seminar in Nashville recently and was amazed to see one store owner show a photograph of an individual that had stolen from their store and have several other store owners immediately identify the individual by name and explain the criminal’s MO based on their experience dealing with the same individual. He said he hopes to create a network that can share information on known organized thieves.

“Everybody has a different setup on this,” Armour said. “But we are realizing now that it’s not just a one-time deal. This retail shoplifting problem is a problem everywhere, and they’re going everywhere. Like I said, they don’t know boundaries.

Armour said the Regional Organized Crime Information Center has provided helpful information for the seminar and Lieutenant Matt Lawson from Knox County, a retail theft specialist, will be in attendance to provide training.

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