crime2The news that a Dallas Walmart had been hit by shoplifters five times in 18 hours over the weekend probably didn’t elicit much notice from those of us who don’t pay attention to police calls. Those who did notice probably figured it was the work of bored teenagers at the start of spring break.

And though police aren’t quite sure what happened or if the incidents were related, it almost certainly wasn’t the work of bored teenagers. Shoplifting has become big business, worth more than $10 billion a year 2011 – much of that the work of criminal gangs, says a report from the National Retail Federation. In fact, says the trade group, Dallas is one of the top 10 cities in the country for just such activity.

What do gangs like about shoplifting? It’s low risk, simple, and the merchandise can be disposed of quickly and easily. EBay, in fact, is a popular destination for stolen items. What do the gangs steal? Clothing, small electronics, high value items that can be re-sold, and trendy merchandise. The shoplifters at the Target took clothing and a leather iPad case.

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