Shoplifting rings and weak economy spur retail theft


Amid all the cheer of the holiday season, retailers know they'll also be attracting some sticky-fingered shoppers. And this year's weak economy is making the fight against shoplifting only more difficult.

Retailers lost $36.3 billion to theft in 2008, up from $34.8 billion in 2007. While no projections are available yet for 2009, signs are that the problem is getting worse, says Joseph LaRocca, senior adviser on asset protection of the National Retail Federation (NRF). Fewer people are being detained in stores for shoplifting, but when they are stopped, they're more likely to run and even attack store employees, says LaRocca.