Shoplifting on the rise in Pueblo, shop owners say recent policy is to blame

Crime

PUEBLO, Colo. — Over this past month, shop owners have noticed an increase in crime — specifically shoplifting. Many have said this could be attributed to a new Pueblo County Jail policy.

The policy was enacted to reduce jail capacity by not booking shoplifters if the stolen merchandise totaled less than 2-thousand dollars. However, shop owners said people must have thought that meant there would be no consequences at all.

Local Pueblo liquor store caught footage of a couple shoplifting. Credit: Ray Harless

FOX21 received surveillance video of a couple that targeted multiple stores in Pueblo, taking merchandise that totaled well over several thousand dollars.

Shoplifting suspect conceals a bottle of alcohol in his pants. Credit: Big Bear Wine and Liquor security footage

“We can’t afford to take this kind of loss. So, if this stuff continues to happen you’re going to see these smaller stores that are independently owned go out of business,” said Jackie Seybold, owner of Big Bear Wine and Liquor.

FOX21 spoke with Pueblo City police who said that stealing merchandise that does not total 2-thousand dollars is still a crime, and it could still result in fines and charges.

Suspected shoplifter before sticking another bottle of alcohol in the woman’s purse. Credit: Big Bear Wine and Liquor security footage

“They also don’t realize it’s the aggregate of the whole day,” Seybold said. “It’s not just taking five hundred dollars from one store or the other, it’s the whole day. It’s everything you did. But there are consequences to shoplifting. And it’s up to us, we’re independent but we will pursue you. We will pursue you to the ‘nth’ degree, whatever the law lets us do to you we will do that.”

Suspected shoplifter again at the register. Credit: Big Bear Wine and Liquor security footage

Seybold said that a positive note was that facial recognition is becoming more and more advanced, and security camera footage is becoming better. Still, she encouraged the community to come together and try to put an end to this increase in shoplifting before it goes too far and spreads to other communities.

Better technology and security are just a part in stopping shoplifting. Credit: Ray Harless

“People are mad. They are outraged. The understand there’s a cost to them shopping. So…I want a name. We want to know who these people are because they don’t get a free Christmas. And the more the public comes together and outs these people, identifies these people, the quicker they’re going to stop doing it,” Seybold said.

Seybold also asked customers shopping to keep an eye open for suspicious behavior and to keep the “see something, say something” mentality.

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