Police Looking For Video Game Thief

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - Omaha police are asking for your help identifying the man who they say stole video games from a west Omaha store.

In this week's Caught On Camera, Fox 42 News and Crime Stoppers are working together to catch a shoplifter.

Police say the thief stole four X-Box game bundles from the Shopko off 144th and Center just over three weeks ago. He hid the games inside his pants, but what he didn't realize was that big brother was watching him the entire time.

Investigators say the man appears to be a typical shopper, buying toilet paper, pushing his cart down the aisles. He even stops at the pharmacy, but then he heads for the electronics. Security watches as he picks up a bundle of video games, turns the corner, and stuffs them down his pants, leaving the cart behind and walking out the door.

"Shocked, I couldn't believe that was actually taking place."

The most unique theft, loss prevention expert, Tyler Davis has ever seen was a mother teaching her 7 year old son to shoplift for her. He says the child grabbed armloads of merchandise and ran out of the store. "We actually did go out and make the stop and we stopped the mother and the child and Omaha police department was called, came in and investigated. The child admitted that their mom had put him up to it," Davis said.

Many wonder why stores let shoplifters go free. Davis said it's too dangerous to stop a criminal in the act. "When I was a loss prevention agent, in a three and a half year period, had six gun incidents, going out trying to make stops on shoplifters so it's very dangerous, you do have cars, the person might actually get into the car and speed off and end up hitting somebody else"

So what can employees do when they see a shoplifter? Davis says it depends on each store's policy. "If the loss prevention agents have the authority through the store to make a detention, what they need to do is follow that suspect outside of the store, identify themselves and ask them to come back in. Certain stores do allow their loss prevention agents to actually handcuff people."

And if you are a crook trying to avoid handcuffs, Davis urges you to think twice. "Don't do it because all you're doing is passing on the cost to the consumer. Somebody has to pay for it, it's not them, it's the people that are honest and that are actually paying for the merchandise."

Davis said the best way to prevent shoplifters from stealing at your business is to train your employees on customer service. He says if you're paying attention to customers, they won't steal from you.

Police urge anyone with information about the suspects whereabouts to contact Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP.

You will remain anonymous and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

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