Three shoplifters arrested at Walmart, one on the loose - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Three shoplifters arrested at Myrtle Beach Walmart, one on the loose

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 MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Myrtle Beach Police searched for a man who allegedly stocked a Walmart grocery cart with items around 9 a.m. Monday, but didn't pay for them.

According to a police report, a witness saw the man at the Walmart on Seaboard Street put items into a previously used Walmart bag inside his cart and pass by the cash registers, without paying. The report states the witness then followed the man into the parking lot and confronted him, where he fled towards Grissom Parkway.

The MBPD arrested made more than 700 arrests in 2011 for larceny/shoplifting, according to police records. The month with the highest arrests was August. The month with the lowest arrests was March. In December 2011, police made 66 arrests for shoplifting. Captain David Knipes said the holiday season is not the busiest time for shoplifters because less people are in the area. Knipes said police will respond to every shoplifting call, but it takes manpower away from some of the more severe crimes.

"During the course of the year we may answer 700 shoplifting calls. That takes a lot of the officers off the road. They have to go to the scene, they have to do the report, make the arrest. They have to bring the offender to jail. They have to do other paperwork so it's time consuming," Knipes said.

Knipes said although this time of year, shoplifting isn't heightened, officers will still pay extra attention to the shopping areas as to prevent the crime altogether.

"We figure the best way to deter crime is by having the high visibility. So, we direct our officers when they're not on other calls or everything's quiet to ride through those areas just to be safe," Knipes said.

In most cases, shoplifting is a misdemeanor but can carry with it fines, jail time and a criminal record.

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