City-wide sting leads to 25 shoplifting arrests in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A two-day city-wide sting operation just wrapped up Wednesday evening

Officers were targeting big box retailers known for shoplifters. Police have been after shoplifters for two days and have made a significant number of arrests.

Police say up to 25 people have been arrested over the last two days. Our crews witnessed as one woman was arrested and taken into the back of a sheriff’s van.

For the first time, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department teamed up with the Indiana Retail Crime Coalition to catch suspected thieves in the act. Our cameras were rolling as officers made multiple arrests at seven different retailers.

“We’re focusing our efforts on stopping some of the retail crime and theft that’s been occurring in the city here. And we’re focusing on several different stores,” said IMPD North District Commander Michael Wolley.

Wolley says it’s very organized and a high-dollar crime.

“As we know, it’s a big business in the crime market, and often times, when people go in and steal it’s organized, and they’re stealing large sums of money and merchandise,” said Wolley.

But officials say ever-changing technology keeps them in business.

“From just day-to-day shoplifting, to just e-fencing and people just selling direct. That’s been a big game changer. It’s not just a big group any longer. It could be one person, it could be an entire network,” said Indiana Retail Crime Coalition President Matt Thompson.

Thompson says theft like this ultimately impacts everyone.

“It’s hitting the customers in the pocketbook. Someone has to pick up the cost for the theft. Secondly, it’s a safety opportunity for all of us. Both our customers and our employees don’t feel safe when they see incidents go down in the parking lot,” said Thompson.

Of the 25 arrested, police say some could face charges, but they also want to learn the motive to determine if the suspected shoplifters are in need.

“So those people that we identify are stealing for a need, addiction issues, or need something or a reason as to why they are stealing, we have social services providers on standby waiting to help and fix their needs,” said Wolley.

Police say all of those arrested are being questioned to see if they can help them in any other investigations or efforts to take down shoplifters.

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