Rise in thefts anticipated as holiday shopping gets underway

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HOUSTON, TX – The holiday season brings good cheer, but unfortunately it’s also the season for crime.

We’re talking about organized retail crime, yeah, shoplifting.

Rania Mankarious, with Crime Stoppers of Houston, explains, “These men and women steal items in high quantities and sell them to fences.”

The fence will turn around and sell the item at a discounted price directly to consumers, or at flea market, pawn shop or online.

The loss in 2009 due to organized retail crime reached $2.4 billion, in Texas alone.

This is from items like razors, diabetic supplies and detergent, over the counter medications, and baby formula. The resale of those could pose a health risk to consumers.

Houston Police Officer James Sobota said, “Lots of times these baby formulas, they may keep them in hot car that the temperatures may rise to 150 degrees for a matter of days, maybe weeks.”

Making the risk of using these items far higher than the savings they are worth.

“That baby formula is no longer maintained in standards that keep it safe and consumable for children,” according to Mankarious.

Not to mention the cash that flows back to fund other criminal activities.

Stop the cycle; if you see something suspicious notify store management.

If it looks too good to be true; chances are, it is.