Thief Makes Out with Over $39K In Merchandise

( – The Irvine Police Department are seeking a serial thief who has been stealing from Target stores throughout Southern California. He’s suspected of stealing merchandise equaling approximately $39,000. They’re now asking for the public’s help in identifying the man and released surveillance video on Friday January 12 showing him walking into an Irvine Target location, snatching an iPad from an employee and running away with it. His face can be clearly seen in some of the footage.

Irvine police originally asked for public assistance in identifying the man back in October. However, his one-man crime spree has continued, and the new images are so clear it seems likely that somebody will recognize him. While he has not always stolen iPads, his most recent thefts seem to be focused on the expensive Apple devices. Snatching the device directly from the employee’s hands and fleeing may be the best way to take such devices as so many retailers lock expensive easily transportable merchandise up and require customers to ask for assistance to look at or purchase them.

Target CEO Brian Cornell has said that they have seen unacceptable levels of theft and organized retail crime in recent years. Many retailers have closed locations around the country due to increased retail theft, some claiming that the constant targeting of the stores by criminals endangers employees. In October Target closed 9 locations, citing shoplifting and violence as well as concern that given the levels of crime taking place inside their stores, they could be certain of their employees or customers’ safety.

Many organizations and city governments have expressed dismay at store closures like these, saying that they deprive communities of goods and services as well as employment opportunities. However, many of the cities where the closures have been happening have extremely lax enforcement of retail theft, so thieves who actually are arrested often are released almost immediately and have even been known to return to the same stores to steal again. Preventative measures like adding security are expensive and not effective, while locking up goods is also ineffective and angers customers who find them inconvenient.

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