Sheriff Lashes Out at Retailers Who Are Thwarting Shoplifting Arrests

( – A Sacramento County sheriff is accusing Target leaders in California of interfering with deputies’ ability to thwart incidents of shoplifting in their stores despite the company’s request for help to mitigate the rise in retail crime incidents.

Sheriff Jim Cooper posted a long rant on Twitter last week on Thursday and said he and his deputies “don’t tell big retail how to do their jobs” and that they should refrain from telling them how to do theirs. Cooper claims the store chain reached out to his office asking for assistance multiple times to deal with shoplifters, many of whom the sheriff said were “known transients.”

When Target and the sheriff’s office began to work together to plan and execute an operation to catch the shoplifters, the plan fell through after store leaders wrote up a list of rules for law enforcement about how and where they may arrest suspects.

Cooper said that he and his deputies “were told” during a briefing by Target’s “head of regional security” that the law enforcement officers “could not contact suspects” or handcuff them “in the store.” He said they were also told that if they did arrest anyone, the suspects had to be processed “outside,” “behind the store,” and even “in the rain.”

According to the sheriff, Target’s list of rules came down to efforts to avoid generating any bad press for the store. Cooper said the company “didn’t want to create a scene” that would result in people filming it and posting it on social media. He called the reasoning “unbelievable.”

Recently published data from the National Retail Federation based on surveying almost 200 retailers found that four cities in California are in the top 10 list of US cities most impacted by widespread, organized retail crime.

Cooper criticized Target’s handling of retail crime, claiming to have witnessed the store allowing theft to take place right in front of them. “You can’t make this stuff up,” he said on his social media post.

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