Combatting a recent increase in shoplifting cases, University Police arrested three shop-lifters in the last week alone at venues located on Broadway.
Including these three arrests, University Police have made a total of eight shoplifting arrests this semester, all but one of which occurred at venues located on Broadway, University Police Lt. Michael Patten said.
“We basically get [shoplifting cases] from the stores on Broadway because we’re there and the officers have established relationships with all the shop-owners there,” Patten said.
Patten said the latest shoplifting case took place at Gourmet Heaven when Jose Luis Flores, a 20-year-old New Haven resident, attempted to steal a case of Spanish clementines from outside of the store early Monday morning.
Despite the recent incident, Gourmet Heaven manager Chris Cha said he does not consider shoplifting a major problem for his venue, particularly because the cases he has come across have been relatively minor and often attributed to student pranks.
“Sometimes they [shoplift] for fun, but not much is serious,” he said.
Patten said the other two shoplifting arrests last week involved incidents at Urban Outfitters. University Police arrested 22-year-old Erin Fredericks this past Saturday for trying to steal a T-shirt, while last Wednesday, police arrested a 16-year-old for attempting to walk out of the store with stolen merchandise, Patten said.
“She was walking out when she set off the alarm,” Patten said. “They found two silver necklaces in her handbag.”
Urban Outfitters store manager Jud Beardsley said the alarm system at the entrance of the store is only one of several tools to prevent shop-lifters from stealing merchandise. Beardsley said well-trained employees provide the best form of prevention against shop-lifters.
“Our number one tool for catching shoplifters is our employees and the training that they have,” he said.
Beardsley said shop-lifters tend to fit the description of a regular Urban Outfitters costumer.
“Our typical shop-lifter is our typical customer, between 18 and 24 years old, the typical college-age person,” he said.
George Long, Barnes and Noble’s loss prevention detective, said an average of 20 shoplifting cases that end in arrest occur at the Yale Bookstore per semester, and a quarter of those involve Yale faculty, staff or students. By comparison, Cha said one or two arrests are made at Gourmet Heaven every four or five months.
Long said the most recent arrest for shoplifting reported at Barnes and Noble to the university police occurred on Nov. 9.
According to Connecticut state law, Patten said concealment of an item is considered “prima facie evidence of an intent to steal.” But Long said that Barnes and Noble store policy is more lenient because store employees do not apprehend the shoplifters until they walk out of the store with the merchandise.
“We give people every last opportunity to pay for the merchandise,” Long said.
A number of cameras located around the store allow Barnes and Noble employees to detect cases of concealment when they occur.
“Once we see a concealment, we maintain constant surveillance of that person at all times,” Long said.
Long said the Yale Bookstore has not falsely accused a person of shoplifting since it opened six years ago.