SACRAMENTO -- Black Friday marks the start of the holiday shopping season, and with it, organized retail theft is top of mind for California law enforcement agencies and shoppers.
On Friday, Arden Fair Mall's parking lot was parked with shoppers out to find deals, and with more shoppers, the potential for retail crime, like in-store smash-and-grabs or theft targeting shoppers who leave shopping bags in their vehicles while they continue on, goes up.
Ahead of the holiday season, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced statewide efforts to curb organized retail theft in the form of the California Highway Patrol Organized Retail Crime Theft Task Force. The goal of the ORCTF is to increase law enforcement presence at shopping centers and work with local law enforcement agencies to make more arrests.
These efforts were known by Black Friday shoppers in Sacramento who knew to hide their shopping bags in locked trunks or under privacy covers built into their vehicles.
"It was a backpack, the backpack was empty, but the person didn't know it was empty. They break into it, then their brand new car was just damaged," said Masoumeh Ramazani, a shopper in Sacramento who said she learned through her friend's experience not to leave her shopping bags or valuables uncovered in her vehicle.
One shopper told CBS13 he even goes as far as wearing new clothing, like a hat he found on sale on Black Friday, while he continues to shop, to ensure it is not targeted in his vehicle by criminals.
To prevent retail theft shoppers are advised to stay vigilant and hide valuables, including shopping bags, out of sight in their vehicles.
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