The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Team launched “Operation Safe Shopping” last week. “We will have deputies and reserves in full uniform at retail stores looking for shoplifters,” explained Sergeant Al Jamison, Special Enforcement Team Supervisor. “We will also have deputies inside the stores in plain clothes as well.”
Jamison explained the reason for the operation as being an increase in retail theft throughout the holiday season. “We have partnered with local businesses for this operation,” Jamison explained. “We have obtained permission from the store owners and managers to go inside their establishments to not only deter shoplifters, but also catch them in the act.”
Sheriff’s deputies will be in plain clothes “shopping” in various stores throughout the county up until Christmas. There will also be deputies in the surveillance rooms of these stores. “We are there on “asset protection” duty, roving inside the store. The idea is for us to be able to not only catch someone shoplifting, but to also get them on video in order to prosecute them for it,” said Jamison.
In addition to the “undercover” deputies inside the stores, Jamison has arranged to have marked units and uniformed deputies and reserves increase patrols walking through the stores and roaming outside in the parking lots. “We want the bad guys to know we are there, and hopefully deter them,” Jamison said. The first week the operation was in place “Operation Safe Shopping” resulted in the arrest of one shoplifter and the arrest of another individual for an active warrant.
Jamison also went on to point out a few holiday safety tips for shoppers, “Consumers should not leave purchased items (packages) visible in their car, they should avoid carrying large sums of cash or several credit cards, they should also park in well-lit lots and shop in groups if shopping at night”.
If businesses are interested in participating with San Juan County Sheriff’s Deputies for “Operation Safe Shopping” they are asked to call the Sergeant Jamison at the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office: 505-334-6107.