Calgary police warn citizens of organized retail crime risks
Proceeds often go towards drugs, weapons
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Calgary police and retail partners have teamed up to warn citizens about the consequences of buying stolen merchandise.
Organized retail crime is the theft of consumer goods for the purpose of illegally selling the merchandise for cash.
Constable Andrew Critchley said it’s a growing problem in Calgary and the country. It costs Canadian retailers an estimated $4.6 billion a year and goods are usually taken through systematic shoplifting, sold online or on the black market.
Along with their retail partners, London Drugs, Loblaws, TJX Canada and Mark’s, as well as Crime Stoppers and RetailCOP, CPS has launched a radio and transit campaign to address the issue.
“The message we are hoping to get out is that Calgarians can help prevent organize retail crime by recognizing and refusing to buy stolen retail goods, and by reporting shoplifting or stolen goods they find for sale,” he said.
Critchely said organized retail crime is often used to fund more serious criminal activities like purchasing drugs or weapons.
“When those same goods are later sold to the public the money is going to the drug trade and people who have little regard for safety in our communities,” he said.
Tony Hunt, general manager of Loss Prevention at London Drugs, said these type of crimes puts employees of retail stores at risk and the criminals prey on needy members of society.
“They encourage those needy members of society to commit theft in large quantities and pay small amounts of cash or drugs for the stolen goods,” he said.
Critchley said to put an end to these types of crimes, Calgarians should only buy new goods from licensed businesses, ask those selling where they got the merchandise and compare prices found online with market value.
“If it seems to good to be true, it probably is,” he said.