Denton Police Department
One of the most famous retail theft rings happened in Denton. Police said three women stole thousands of dollars worth of diet pills and hid some in their girdles.
The City of Dallas, Dallas Police Department, Dallas County District Attorney and retailers are coming together to battle organized retail theft.
About four in every five crimes in Dallas is a property crime and many happen in and around retail store. It is estimated Dallas County lost $20 million in sales tax revenue in 2010 because of retail theft.
The fight against retail theft targets big operations and thieves using lists to steal items like over-the-counter medications, pregnancy test kits, razor blades and baby formula.
"It's not just about the person coming in and taking one or two CDs from our stores," said Jamie Bourne from Target. “We’re talking about people who make a living stealing from retail establishments and reselling this product on the street."
The new approach teams stores with police and prosecutors to go after organized theft rings responsible for large scale theft and fencing operations.
"We're going to prosecute you and we're going to do the best we can to make sure you go away for a long, long time," said chief Assistant Dallas County District Attorney Heath Harris.
While it may appear the crimes have no victim, the thefts cost merchants and governments that rely on taxes from legitimate sales.
"This is a serious crime and it's taking money out of your pocket," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "It's hurting us during budget time, and it's hurting these retailers."
Police say stolen merchandise can wind up in bazaars or flea markets and online where customers may not even realize the goods have been stolen. Authorities warn the crime crackdown could net customers too.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it's stolen, that's just the bottom line," said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
Dallas hopes the strategy can further cut crime rates that have been falling each of the past 8 years.