Portland police operate stings to crack down on retail theft

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) is cracking down on retail theft with sting operations in targeted areas where crime is high.

Officer Michael Terret said this operation focuses on the Mall 205 and Gateway areas. He said police communicate with loss prevention working inside the stores as suspected thefts are happening. Officers will then show up outside of the store to arrest the suspects.

On Sunday afternoon, authorities arrested a man for shoplifting hundreds of dollars worth of clothes from the Target store in Mall 205.

“We have an open line of communication,” Terret said. “We have direct access, cell phone back and forth, we try to figure out what’s going on and where is a place where we can plug in and make some kind of difference on that.”

On Sunday, police also told KGW about more than $1,300 of stolen goods from Fred Meyer. It’s not just retail theft they’re going after. On Sunday, officers found a stolen car after it crashed into two others near Glisan and I-205. The suspect was caught while running away.

“A stolen vehicle could be a way they arrive to the location and leave the location as well, it can be a combination of the two,” Terret said.

Back in December, during a sting in the same area, there were 64 arrests and almost $9,000 in stolen merchandise recovered. In February, a sting in the same area netted 40 arrests and more than $2,000 in stolen merchandise.

Police said the thefts come from organized crime rings, individuals and poor people.

“I think it’s likely a collection of all of them,” Terret said. “I say that because of the variety of crime associated when we run these missions.”

PPB officer Jordan Zaitz said even with the sting operations, she has not seen much of a decrease in thefts but hopes they’ll make a difference.

“I know the public and the stores just really appreciate our presence,” Zaitz said. “If they are going to do it, they are going to be arrested and held accountable.”

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