COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Division of Police is asking for the public’s help to identify more than twenty people they say have been stealing from Central Ohio beauty stores.
According to investigators, it’s been happening over the past few months throughout Columbus, Pickerington, Hilliard, and Upper Arlington. Right now they know of eight stores that have been hit.
“The bottom line is we have a group of individuals who are targeting Central Ohio beauty stores and they’re taking very specific merchandise,” said Sgt. James Fuqua, Public Information Officer with the Columbus Division of Police.
Investigators say more than $10 thousand in beauty products have been stolen. Police say a lot of the items being targeted are perfumes and high-end cosmetics because they’re easy to pocket or put in a bag and walk out with.
“It’s definitely not cheap and that’s why we’re asking the public for help,” said Sgt. Fuqua. “We do feel these particular businesses are being targeted because these items are small in nature but carry a high dollar amount in value so because of that they’re able to put a lot of these things quickly into a bag and exit the store fairly quickly.”
According to police, the stolen items are likely being sold somewhere online or on the black market.
“On the secondary market these cosmetic lines can go for a good amount of money so these people are continuing to target it because like most thieves if they get away with it once, they’re gonna continue to do it,” said Sgt. Fuqua.
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, two-thirds of respondents said they saw an increase in organized retail crime over the past 12 months.
“It really has a broad impact on the employees, the customer and ultimately the bottom line of the company as well,” said Alex Boehnke, Manager of Public Affairs for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.
All of the pictures caught on stores’ surveillance cameras can be seen here: