“Get Money Team” of Shoplifters Shows New Threat of Organized Retail Crime


Five women strolled into Indianapolis’ Sunglass Hut within seconds of one another. They browsed for a few moments before huddling near a display. Then, in near unison, they took pairs of sunglasses off the racks, put them in their purses and fled in different directions, says the Indianapolis Star. The haul: 12 pairs of sunglasses worth $3,500. The group called themselves the “Get Money Team” and they took orders from customers and advertised stolen wares on social media. The July 11 incident is an example of a growing problem that costs retailers billions of dollars annually: organized retail crime. “This is the 21st century version of shoplifting. Before, this is something that's done by an individual, stealing from a store for his or her own benefit,” said Grant Monahan of the Indiana Retail Council. “Today, you've got groups where people are going into a store, stealing a great deal of merchandise, doing it very quickly and then out the door.” A new survey by the National Retail Federation found that nearly 94 percent of retailers said they had been victims of organized retail crime, up from 78 percent in 2005. One reason for the increase, Indianapolis police Detective Russ Sering said, is that “boosting” – stealing and selling merchandise on a secondary market – has become more lucrative than crimes such as robbery and fraud.

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