Which retail goods are most alluring to professional shoplifters? The list may surprise you.
Shoplifting crimes usually only make the headlines when a Hollywood actress is caught like a deer in he
adlights sneaking designer clothes past a knowing security guard, or when the wealthy daughter of the former mayor of New York decides she'd rather not pay for her makeup. But for every celebrity with a mug shot, there's an army of professional thieves walking off unnoticed, stashing millions of dollars in retail goods. Meat is stuffed under skirts. Razor blades are loaded into "boost" bags. Baby formula is taken and resold to unwitting parents or to eager drug dealers who use the powder to cut cocaine.
Not surprisingly, American stores saw a spike in shoplifting in 2008, when the economy hit a downturn. According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, produced by the UK-based Center for Retail Research, retail crimes such as shoplifting, employee theft, and supply chain fraud rose 8.8% in the United States, to $42.2 billion, that year. In 2007, retail crimes rose 1.5%.