Mahoning Valley retailers aren’t immune from the seeming rise in brazen shoplifting incidents seen in recent years.

According to a Boardman Police report, on Wednesday evening employees of the Kohl’s department store chased a suspected shoplifter who allegedly grabbed an armload of Adidas merchandise and ran out the front door.

The suspect was followed into the parking lot by the employees, one of whom had the presence of mind to take pictures with a cell phone.

When the man got into a black, 2021 Nissan Maxima, a security vehicle pulled up behind the car in an attempt to block it in.  However, the driver of the Nissan found enough space between parked cars to move forward and drive away.

The car was last seen driving east on Route 224.

Police have a description of the suspect and the license plate number of the getaway car.

 

Earlier this week a 50-year-old Girard woman was sentenced to 90 days in jail for pushing an employee as she ran off with more than $400 worth of goods from J.C. Penney at the Eastwood Mall.

Some thieves have gone well beyond the days of trying to hide a stolen item or two in a purse or under their clothing.  Shoplifting has become big business.

According to National Retail Federation’s 2022 Security Survey, retailers reported a 26.5% increase in organized retail crime, on average.

“Perhaps more concerning, retailers also noted an increase in violence and aggression associated with organized retail crime over the past year,” said National Retail Federation Senior Vice President of Government Relations David French.

The NRF has praised the federal Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2022 which will establish a new Organized Retail Crime Coordination Center.

The center will align counter-ORC activities nationally and internationally by developing a national-level ORC intelligence perspective, facilitating information sharing and cross-agency investigations, and serving as a center of expertise for training and technical assistance, according to the NRF.