Shoplifters stealing holiday cheer

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VERNON, Ala. (WCBI) – The holiday season is in full swing. Stores are running sales and deep discounts, but some shoppers want to take those bargains a little farther with what some call the five finger discount.

“I think people are pressured to, you know, buy gifts for everyone and, you know, we all, we’re all in a budget, I think, and it just impacts it,” said pharmacist Susan Durham.

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But it’s not just shoplifters causing headaches. Scammers are also taking advantage of busier cashiers and salespeople.

“They’ll come in, and they’ll be dressed really nicely, and they’ll come in, like, the cashier they’re like okay, I need change for this hundred and I need it this way. Well then what’s the cashier gives back to him before they shut the door like no way I need this way, and they’ll do that several times. So we have policies in effect to where you know we’re only allowed to get changed one time to try to cut back on that,” said office manager Summer Christian.

When people take advantage of stores, it’s often the customers who feel the impact.

“I think it impacts every store. At Durham’s, we try to price everything as low as we possibly can because we want to be cheaper. And when people take things. It just… it hurts us, but most of all, I think it hurts the consumer because it drives prices up, and it makes us look bad because you have to raise prices, but you have to survive,” said Durham.

“It impacts our employees because then that cuts into our profits,” said Christian.

To help deter shoplifting, many stores have cameras and security systems, but their first line of defense is attentive employees.

“We try to speak to all of our customers as they come in and try to keep a friendly environment because if we have a friendly environment, people are less likely to shoplift from you,” said Christian.

It also doesn’t hurt to make friends in the community.

“We have a great law enforcement here in town. And so whenever we do have an issue, they come out right away, and they help us out,” said Christian.

Durham said sometimes stores have to raise prices to cover the cost of security features to combat shoplifting.

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