“Pushout” heists pushing police to step up patrols during holiday shopping

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The holiday shopping season is also the holiday stealing season in Overland Park. Police say high-dollar heists are rampant and they're hoping honest shoppers can help curb the trend.

The new phrase is "Pushout". It is just what it sounds like. Thieves are filling up shopping carts, and instead of paying, pushing the carts out the front door and taking off.

"It's becoming more than a minor problem, it's becoming epidemic. We're seeing large amounts of loss for these merchants and it's something we are trying to get control of," explained Officer Gary Mason. "These people are organized, they're professional and this is what they do for a living."

Two people in particular are wanted as persons of interest in a pushout at a high-end Overland Park department store.
Police believe the man and woman worked together and are hoping someone can identify them.

"It's really tough for these merchants to turn a profit when you've got cart loads of merchandise going out the door that's not being paid for," said Ofc. Mason.

It adds up to big losses for the stores, but it's big business for the bad guys.

"They have cars waiting outside, they get out the door load it up and they're taking off real quick, they know what they are doing and they do it very well," said Ofc. Mason.

So well in fact, police are stepping up patrols around shopping centers and waiting for the calls to come. They're also working closely with loss prevention officers to identify the problem before it happens.