Laurel Police Host Shoplifting Prevention Seminar - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Laurel Police Host Shoplifting Prevention Seminar

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About 10 percent of the population has been involved in shoplifting, according to the Laurel police.

The Shoplifting Prevention Seminar lead by the Training Division of the Laurel Police Dept. taught local merchants about shoplifting laws, loss prevention techniques and statistics on how shoplifting affects the community.  It was free of charge.

"A lot of people are actually ignorant of the Mississippi state law and exactly how the shoplifting laws or worded and what their responsibilities are to affect the prosecution," Captain William R. Sparrow said.

One local merchant said her company already has a written policy against shoplifting, but she wanted to brush up on the proper procedures.

"In our business, we need to stay current on the current laws and know what's going on so we can do it right," Merchant Linda Carter said.

Lead Instructor Corp. David Grasha reminded the merchants they can't make arrests for misdemeanors unless they physically saw the crime take place.  Sparrow confirmed.

"It is their responsibility to make the actual arrest," Sparrow said. "They do have to press charges."

He said following through with charges after a shoplifter is caught is vital for the welfare of the community.

"Shoplifting doesn't just affect them," Sparrow said.  "The loss of tax revenue, the amount of money expended, the fact that if we don't stop these people, they'll just continue to do this crime."

Shoplifting peaks in Laurel during the Christmas season, but Sparrow wants merchants to know they have police support.

"We ask them to come do a walk-through in our stores, and that was refreshing to know that they, that's what they want us to do," Carter said.

Laurel police said they are pleased with the participation and hope to see even more merchants take part in the seminar next year.

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