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Dover Police Issues Warning to Retailers of Latest Theft Trend 7-29-15

The Dover Police Department is making Dover retailers aware of an increasing trend in fraudulent returns/shoplifting incidents.  In recent months, the department has seen an increase in cases where suspects are removing merchandise from shelves or leaving the store with merchandise, only to return it without a receipt.  Most times, stores will only provide store credit on a gift card for the merchandise.  The suspects are then selling the gift cards on the secondary market, often to local pawn shops, which purchase the cards for just a percentage of the value; giving cash to the suspect.  As of July 24th, the Dover Police Department responded to 531 calls for shoplifting in the City of Dover.  This is an overall decrease of 31 complaints from the same time period in 2014.  While the total shoplifting complaints are decreasing, there has been an increase in the incidents involving fraudulent returns.  The Dover Police Department recommends the following steps be taken to prevent these incidents from occurring:

  • Educate employees about this issue
  • Request ID when making a return
  • Limit number of no-receipt returns within a calendar year
  • Evaluate and change return policies as needed to prevent these incidents from occuring
  • Utilize special markings or removable labels on merchandise to indicate when something was purchased or was removed directly from the shelf