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Colorado Organzied Retail Crime Alliance
Making off with hundreds of dollars of merchandise in minutes
February 05, 2012

KUSA - Stealing has grown up. Today there are roving gangs of organized shoplifters, taking a big bite out of the bottom line of a lot of retailers in Colorado. That's ending up costing all of us more than you might think.

9NEWS Business Reporter Gregg Moss obtained video of alleged shoplifters, also known as "boosters," who make off with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise in just a matter of minutes.

It's now known as Organized Retail Crime, and it's responsible for over a half-billion dollars in lost goods every year.

A lot of the people who steal are doing it to feed a habit that's hard to shake, while others may use this as a springboard to even more serious crimes. A woman, who we'll refer to as "Brenda," told 9NEWS she shoplifts, or boosts, every day to support her heroin addiction.

"I'm usually done in three minutes," Brenda said. "I usually get $300 worth. I have a big purse. I just fill it up and walk out the door."

Expensive hair care products are Brenda's target of choice.

"I take a whole bunch of it and I go sell it to beauty salons or jewelry stores for cash," Brenda said.

Brenda told 9NEWS she will resell hair care products to local beauty supply stores for $5. Some of these stores actually place orders with her, telling her what and how much they want.

John Lites, the Loss Prevention Director for Safeway, said some products are targeted during Organized Retail Crime more frequently than others.

"Most stolen items would be DVDs, razor blades, some hair care products, some cold products like Prilosec and Allegra, and baby formula," Lites said. "It's all pre-planned. They'll come in three to seven stores a day, not just Safeway, but other retailers and they'll hit these stores and that will be their haul for the day. Multiple thousands of dollars in one day."