KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- It's a crime that happens throughout the year, but shoplifting increases more during the holiday season.
"A lot of businesses lose thousands and thousands of dollars a year because of shoplifting,” said Sergeant Jason Barham with the Maryville Police Department.
When shoplifters are successful, retailers end up having to raise their prices to cover the cost of the lost merchandise. To prevent that from happened, East Tennessee police agencies are cracking down on shoplifters and they have several things planned to catch violators.
Maryville Police are helping teach store employees how to prevent shoplifting by carefully watching customers and locking up expensive merchandise. Knoxville officers have started setting up stings, like the one conducted Knox County deputies at a Marshall’s department store.
"It was very effective,” said Captain David Rauch from the Knoxville Police Department. “The first one we did was extremely effective and we hope the ones in the future will be as well.”
Police did recently find out that four people have been stealing from Food City and video stores in the Knoxville area. So far they have gotten away with several thousand dollars worth of CDs and Blue Ray discs.
"We know for at least at least two weeks they've been doing this but it may be longer," said Sergeant Tim Snoderly with Knoxville Police.
While they investigate the thieves, they are also planning more stings. Some will send officers into stores undercover to capture shoplifters in the act. The other will feature uniformed officers conducting patrols where the public can see them.