Charlotte police are asking for the community’s help identifying a group of suspects who pilfered $21,000 in merchandise from a cosmetics store, all in under three minutes.
Video of the crime shows three suspects working in tandem, moving around the store’s shelves with large shopping bags in choreographed precision, as they quickly filed them.
The heist is an example of a growing trend in organized crime in the Charlotte metro area, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
In 2020, CMPD’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force investigated nearly 600 such cases, the police department said Wednesday.
The task force, which was created in January 2019, employs 13 detectives, and “aims to disrupt and reduce the number of groups committing organized retail theft,” CMPD said. Last year, the unit made nearly 400 arrests, and cleared nearly 66 percent of cases, CMPD Detective Anthony Finocchio said during a news conference Wednesday.
Police are noticing trends, such as repeat offenders and that organized retail thefts are getting more aggressive towards employees working in the stores, he said.
“From what we’ve seen over the last couple of years, there’s definitely a nexus between some of the retail theft crimes and some of the violent crimes that are happening in the city of Charlotte,” Finocchio said.
CMPD is now partnering with the district attorney’s office, he said. “We’re trying to find ways to hold these individuals accountable,” Finocchio said.
CMPD said anyone with information about the identity of the suspects involved in the cosmetic store theft is asked to contact Crimes Stoppers at 704.334.1600… Charlotte Patch