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Shoplifting a Major Problem for Small Businesses

The holiday season is a time to be merry, and for store owners to be wary. Shoplifting during this time of year costs retailers billions of dollars.
The holiday season is a time to be merry, and for store owners to be wary. Shoplifting during this time of year costs retailers billions of dollars.

"It's the biggest time of the year- from Thanksgiving through Christmas," notes Harold Berger, owner of Pearl Brothers Hardware in Joplin.

It's also prime time for shoplifting.

"It hurts, it definitely hurts," says Debbie Mitchell, owner of Breezy's in Joplin.

Big crowds serve as camouflage for sticky fingers.

"Small items that people can fit in their pocket or purse fast, small items," Mitchell says.

Merchandise disappears from shelves in a matter of seconds.

"We have more business as well as more people shoplifting, we need more employees," Berger adds.

Pearl Brothers in downtown Joplin is increasing its staff by eight to help keep a watchful eye. A few doors down, Breezy's owner turns to technology, installing a video surveillance system. It comes after an ongoing battle with shoplifting. Debbie Mitchell disliked putting the sign up--- saying a hard economy is to blame for the spike in the crime, but it's about keeping her business afloat.

"It all adds up at the end of the day, end of the month, end of the year," says Mitchell.

Shoplifting can mean hundreds of dollars gone, which could cause a store to make it or beak it.

"It does hurt a small business trying to make it in this economy, we're losing profit," Mitchell says.

According to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention, more than $13 billion worth of merchandise will be stolen this holiday season alone.



(story contributed by KODE/KSN, Joplin)
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