Shoplifters Finding More Innovative Ways To Steal
by Shannon Royster
GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. – Spring is the perfect season for shoplifters to make a quick buck and thieves in Goodlettsville are creating a simple, yet innovative tool to make off with the goods.
It looks just like your average spring purse but actually it's what's known on the streets as a "buzzer bag or booster bag." It's made of aluminum foil and duct tape.
Detective Les Carlisle with the Goodlettsville Police Department said it allows thieves to walk out of a store with items with sensors undetected.
"Boosters cost retailers billions of dollars a year in the U.S. by the theft," he said.
A teenager was caught using one of the bags on Wednesday at Rivergate Mall. The booster bag was inside it.
Detective Carlisle said it helped her steal more than $500 worth of bras from Victoria's Secret. She's what police call a "professional shoplifter."
"While a shoplifter just steals for themselves, a booster does it to provide for their family," said Detective Carlisle. "This is their income. They can make anywhere from a $1000 to $4000 a day," he said.
These thieves generally like to blend in with other shoppers. A potential thief, also captured this week at Rivergate Mall, was carrying a bag from Abercrombie.
"Although he did not shoplift that day he was arrested because he was in a possession of a booster bag," said Detective Carlisle.
Authorities said these homemade bags are gaining in popularity this time of year.
"Right now we're going from winter to spring and the boosters are being sent a lot of lists in for new spring merchandise," said Detective Carlisle.
Police said they're doing their best to crack down on the crime. Detective Carlisle said they're hoping to take the mystery out of booster bags and come down harder on offenders.
"Once you get a couple felony charges it does add up and requires jail time," he said.
If a person is in possession of a booster bag, they can either be given a citation or taken to jail immediately. If a second time offender actually makes off with merchandise worth more than $500, it's a felony and they'll be locked up.
Anyone receiving stolen merchandise could also be held accountable.