HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu police said thieves have hit retailers several times this week. It’s happening as the holiday shopping season is getting underway, forcing some businesses to change operations and increase security.
According to Honolulu police, a man is in custody after he grabbed items from an Ala Moana area store and tried to leave before getting into confrontation with an employee on Wednesday.
HPD reported, a 51-year-old woman was also arrested that day for habitual property crime. This, after police said she stole two bags full of clothes from a retailer and officers discovered she had four prior theft convictions within the past year.
“It’s an everyday occurrence that shoplifters come in and certain stores, they’re like the hotspots,” said Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii President.
HPD’s data dashboard shows, there have been over 1,900 shoplifting cases this year so far, with 40 happening in November.
The National Association of Shoplifting and Theft Addiction said, the most common items stolen are groceries, cosmetics, electronics and clothing.
With the holiday shopping season just getting started, many businesses are preparing for peak sales while trying to prevent theft.
“Making sure we’re in our zones, meaning they split us up in zones so there’s a back zone and an A and B basically and someone’s always watching the front and someone’s always watching the back,” said Keani Thompson, Hawaii’s Finest Clothing employee.
Some said, even the layout of the store can help.
“One time this guy reached over into the pocket and grabbed shirts and ran so that’s another pro about this fence, it helps us with people just reaching over and grabbing,” said Thompson.
While some local businesses are adjusting their operations, others are posting a clear warning to shoplifters.
“We put our procedure up front, shoplifters will be reported to police, prosecuted and posted to social media,” said James Gieschen, Sugar Sugar Hawaii co-founder. “That’s a disclaimer when you enter any of our stores, you know what you’re getting into.”
RMH said, others are looking into extra security personnel this holiday season.
“We are seeing a lot more stores looking to hire security, looking to hire more workers, have someone stand near the door. That always deters people,” said Yamaki.
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Officials urge the public to report any suspicious activity to police.