Downtown Mall seeing a surge in shoplifting

Downtown Mall (FILE)
Downtown Mall (FILE)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 4:10 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Alakazam Toys says they are seeing an increase in shoplifting, with the people doing the taking being mostly teenagers.

“There is no one type of kid doing it. The only thing that they have in common is the age demographic,” said Ellen Joy, owner of Alakazam Toys.

Now, Alakazam says they are spending money to save their merchandise from being taken.

“We did install cameras. When we moved back in here we had just placed an order for more,” Joy said. “It’s usually the little stuff like stickers, but we’ve had things as big as plushies be stolen.”

Joy says there are life lessons here.

“I talk to the kids directly, I’m pretty open about it. The truth is that we really want them here, this space is for them after all,” Joy said. “It’s definitely death from a 1000 cuts, right? I mean, over time, the merchandise taken adds up to thousands of dollars. I just want to tell them that if they want us here, and I feel like they do, that they should just think about that.”

Alakazam hopes the cameras help stop shoppers with sticky fingers before they steal, and before a small thing turns into something far more serious.

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