Police bust two organized theft rings - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Police bust two organized theft rings

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By: Rachel Collier - rcollier@fox41.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox41)--Police say thieves are going into stores, stealing, then turning around and selling the items. But you may not believe the measures they take to steal.

The criminals do not just shoplift during the holidays, police say they go to work every day of the year.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season makes it an easy time for thieves to go unnoticed.  But for some, stealing from stores is not just a holiday habit. "Organized crime rings are not necessarily holiday dependent, they operate all the time," said Major Mark Fox with LMPD.

Louisville Metro Police say the thieves are professionals, and have become very sophisticated. "We actually, one case, found a baby stroller that had an area cut out where the baby would go, and the items would be stuffed into there," said Fox.

The career crooks either sell the stolen items on the streets or they return the items in exchange for gift cards, which they turn around and sell.

Using undercover detectives, police have stepped up their game this season, busting crooks left and right. "In some operations we'll actually follow the shoplifter and see where they go," said Fox.

Louisville Metro Police have broken up two theft rings this holiday season. One crew came from northern Kentucky to operate in Louisville. "There were three women and two men, working in concert. The women would go in the store and actually steal the items, give it to the men, who would go back inside and refund those for gift cards," said Fox.

But the bandits also targeted shoppers outside the stores. Fox 41 found a shopper who made a huge mistake. You could clearly see the car was unlocked and presents were visible in their back seat.

"If you break into a car by busting the glass out of a side window at a crowded shopping mall in the middle of the day, you're going to draw some attention," said Fox, "but if the car's unlocked, it's going to be very normal, even to a police officer riding by."

Major Fox says the motive for theft can almost always come back around to drugs. He also says by putting your valuables in the trunk, and hitting the powerlocks, you can cut your chance of being victimized by 80 percent. Plus, he says, ladies need to watch their purses in the shopping carts.

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