On 12/02/17, the Whitehall Police Department, with the assistance of the Reynoldsburg Police Department, conducted a fourth “retail theft blitz” concentrating on three (3) specific retail corridors in Whitehall. This blitz is a police saturation effort with a focus on shoplifters, thieves stealing from vehicles, and any other crimes occurring around retail establishments. The three areas targeted were the Great Eastern Shopping Center, the Town & Country Shopping Center, and the E. Main Street retail complexes around Walmart, 3567 E. Main St. The blitz took place with the cooperation of the retail establishments who work with police in identifying shoplifters and other criminal suspects. Over 20 officers and police support personnel were used for the operation.
The operation produced 14 total arrests, 22 charges, with two wanted felons apprehended on warrants. Charges included theft, possession of drugs- crack cocaine, obstructing official business, and complicity to theft. A total of 10 shoplifters were arrested and slated into the county jail. A couple of the highlights are as follows:
1. Officers stopped a vehicle that had just left the scene of a shoplifting incident. While investigating the theft, one of the officers at the scene of the traffic stop recognized a known wanted felon flee into a nearby house after he spotted the officers. With the help of a Whitehall Police K9, the wanted felon was found hiding from police under a pile of dirty clothing and bedding.
2. A male shoplifter was stopped at Walmart and found to be in possession of 3 bags of crack cocaine hidden in various locations on his body.
Sgt. Chad Huntzinger, stated, “Our partnerships with the local retailers and the Reynoldsburg Police, in conjunction with this theft blitz, yielded a large number of arrests resulting in a positive impact on our community.”
This is an ongoing operation by the Whitehall Police Department as part of an overall police strategic plan that includes a concentrated effort to reduce theft. Whitehall Police have increased arrests for theft by 55%, resulting in a 16% reduction in robberies and a 35% reduction in burglaries. More theft blitzes, along with other covert theft reduction operations, will be planned in the coming weeks and months.