(WFIE) - Over the last several years, retailers have seen a sharp increase in items stolen from their stores. From 2012 to 2013, local retailers saw an increased loss of three to four million dollars. Often, this loss results in increased costs to all consumers.
Retail stores fall victim to individuals who steal merchandise at the direction of others to turn a profit. These types of operations lead to teams attempting to gather items through shoplifting, theft, burglary, robbery and car breaks in.
This morning, law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Evansville Police Department and my Office, assisted by the Vanderburgh and Warrick County Sheriff's Offices and the Indiana State Police publicly announced an eight-month investigation in which felony charges were brought against 19 individuals of a highly organized retail theft ring. Through outstanding police work and a thorough investigation, we are able to take a step towards curbing retail theft in our community.
Retail stores are the only place in the world that unlock their doors in the morning and know that they will become victims of theft. To the organizations who stepped forward to help us in this investigation, we thank you for your efforts.
Investigations of this size are dependent on the time and resources invested by the cooperating agencies. Our fight against retail crime will never be over, but with today's arrests, we believe that we have taken a positive step toward curbing this activity within our community.