- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sioux Falls police are reporting a 25 percent increase in theft calls in the past five years.

Sgt. Paul Creviston told the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/2iF4NsS ) that retail crimes are a big portion of those calls. A retail coalition spearheaded by Creviston, and made up of about a dozen retailers in the city, meets monthly to discuss what can be done. The meetings serve to inform retailers of organized retail crimes that may be in the area and to share information, including surveillance images and videos.

“Obviously, just the whole education portion of the meetings is a big part of prevention,” Creviston said.

Ted Haggar, owner of Franklin Food Market, is among the retailers who attended the meetings. He said he often brings photos of people he’s caught in his stores and that he is surprised other businesses have had trouble with the same people.

“In my wildest day, I would never imagined a person would fill up a cart, push it out the door and start loading it in their cars,” Haggar said.

South Dakota Retailers Association spokesman Shawn Lyons said he believes organized retail crime involving large-scale theft of merchandise will be more common in the state in years to come. He said retail losses may have long-term effects on the state’s ability to collect taxes.

“I think there is no question that as we grow, all types of crimes have the propensity to grow,” Lyons said. “In this particular case, this is one we are watching very closely.”

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This story has been corrected to show that the meetings serve to inform retailers of organized retail crime in the area, not of organized retail coming in the area.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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