Thieves prey on Walmart and Target using dangerous “distraction techniques” to steal items after stores lock up merchandise
THIEVES have been accused of setting fires as a distraction so they can steal items from Walmart and Target.
Cops are investigating recent Georgia outlet fires as arson.
Theft remains a big problem for retailers like Target and Walmart.
Both outlets have locked some items in cupboards in their stores as part of efforts to combat shoplifting.
Firefighters rushed to a Target store in Atlanta on January 23 after a fire broke out at the store.
Officials believed the fire was started near a mattress, according to Atlanta News First.
Investigators have released surveillance footage showing a masked shopper pushing a shopping cart full of goods.
You’ve identified him as a person of interest.
Footage obtained from Fox5 showed thick smoke billowing from the parking lot.
A Target spokesman confirmed no one was hurt but warned the store would be closed for an “indefinite period.”
In December, fires broke out at two different Walmart stores in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Fire Department said, “Investigators believe the suspects intentionally started the fires to create a distraction so the perpetrators could steal items from the store and flee as customers rushed to exit the burning stores.” “
However, police have not confirmed a possible connection to the fires.
Officials have released surveillance footage identifying a potential person of interest following the fire at a Vine City, Georgia store.
It has since reopened as the Walmart Neighborhood Market — a smaller store that provides residents with essential groceries, Axios reported.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said, “Food and nutrition security for families in Atlanta is a moral right for our communities.”
John H. Lewis, chairman of the Vine City Civic Association, said reopening the store will prevent creating a food desert.
He told Channel2: “This is the news we were hoping for – the thousands of residents who have been customers of the Wal-Mart, including the elderly long-term residents and college students who have come to rely on this Wal-Mart to… their to buy groceries and medicines – and people who need somewhere to walk to – I’m happy for them.”
But the other Howell Mill store closed permanently after 15 years in business.
The bright flames could be seen from the store’s entrance, footage shared on social media shows.
The police determined that the fires caused damage in the millions.
A reward of up to $10,000 has been offered for information leading to an arrest.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon warned last month that theft was at an all-time high.
He told CNBC, “If this is not corrected over time, prices will be higher and/or stores will close.”
Shocking statistics from the 2022 National Retail Security Survey reveal nearly $100 billion was lost to shrinkage.
Walmart shoppers were outraged by the decision to put some items behind Plexiglas.
Some have claimed the policy makes it “impossible” to shop.
Walmart employees have shared on TikTok that they know when customers are trying to steal goods.
One worker known as Merica claimed that suspected shoplifters look over at her when standing at the self-service checkout.
And former employee Athenia Camacho said employees can keep track of what shoppers are buying through their touch computer (TC) device.
The gadget gives them the ability to pause a customer’s self-checkout machine at any time.
She warned, “We’ll pretend there’s something wrong with the machine if we suspect you’re stealing.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7230107/thieves-fire-walmart-target-distraction-stealing/ Thieves prey on Walmart and Target using dangerous “distraction techniques” to steal items after stores lock up merchandise