Shoplifters targeting Overland Park beauty supply stores, cell phones

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Several Overland Park businesses are getting hit hard by shoplifters, and police need your help in tracking them down.

When it comes to shoplifting, the stores are technically considered the victims, but police say the true victims are anyone who shops.

"It ends up costing everyone in the long run, the merchants pass that loss down to the consumers," explained Officer Gary Mason with Overland Park Police Department.

Shoplifting is no longer a seasonal crime that occurs around the holidays, it's happening year-round and police say it is big business for thieves.

"No longer are the days when they steal one or two items, they going after the masses," said Detective Byron Pierce.

Det. Pierce has a couple of prime examples in open cases right now. A couple is targeting beauty supply stores and going after high dollar fragrances.

"If you're stealing 10 or 15 bottles every visit, you are walking away with decent profit and all they do is sell on black market,” Det. Pierce explained.

He’s hopeful surveillance photos will put the couple out of work. They're suspected of shoplifting at four Johnson County stores and Det. Pierce says they have it down to a science.

"He's unboxing all the fragrances and taking the bottles concealing them down his pants,” he said.

Once the male suspect is done, the female goes to the counter and acts like she's going to pay for her items.

"All of the sudden she gets to the counter, oh by the way I left my credit card in the car, I will be right back, knowing she's never going to return. She exits, immediately thereafter, he exits the business and they both vanish in the wind," Det. Pierce said of the scheme.

Inside Oak Park Mall, police say shoplifters are targeting cell phones and racking up large numbers.

"Nine reports that we know of at this point, at several different kiosks at Oak Park Mall that have been taken from displays or from the counter, they add up pretty quickly." said Ofc. Mason.

Police say the loss is in the thousands. If you can help, police want you to call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.

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