Shoplifting arrests up in Chico

Police Chief Mike O'Brien says this is a positive thing - it means business owners are standing up to shoplifters and pressing charges.

Posted: Mar 5, 2019 3:28 PM
Updated: Mar 5, 2019 6:22 PM

Chico, Calif. -- "We catch a few of them but often things just come up missing, you can't really keep on track of everybody when they come in", said Mike Trowbridge, who's worked in Chico retail for 20 years.

Thanks in part to prison realignment laws, Chico Police Chief Mike O'Brien says in the past three years, shoplifting is up.

"Some businesses in Chico were losing upwards of a quarter million dollars or more in retail loss," said O'Brien.

But a lot of business owners say they don't even try to catch the crooks - especially since shoplifting isn't a felony unless it's $950 or more.

"My take is it's very dangerous, I don't want someone to chase someone down and get beat up for a $3 part," said owner of Campus Bicycles, Bud Schwab.

And shoplifters know it.

"When shrinkage goes up, business owners have nothing else to do but raise prices or cut staff," said Kelly Torres at the Chico Chamber.

Last year Chico P.D, the DCBA and the Chico Chamber asked business owners to start reporting, start prosecuting and start talking to each other. It's working.

"We found one kid that stole from LTD on tape and he came in our shop and they notified us and we found him and held him in the shop ‘til the cops came and got him," said Trowbridge.

In a year's time, shoplifting arrests are up 20%.

"We've seen leaps and bounds in phone calls for shoplifting," said Torres.

Chief O'Brien says at recent meetings, retailers say they're seeing a difference.

"We want to let criminals know that this is not acceptable, and that businesses and the Chico Police department are making a stand," said Chief O'Brien.

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