Shoplifters Arrested in “Cop Shops”
Shoplifting has increased more than 300% over the last year in the city of Audborn, Iowa. The city's two shopping malls have experienced retail theft by young thieves just getting started in crime, career criminal teams with years of experience, and somewhat organized large gangs of masked thieves pillaging stores and terrorizing shoppers and employees during many high-profile “smash and grabs”. Until recently, the Audburn City Police were unprepared to deal with shoplifting. However, the cops are taking the fight against shoplifting directly to the malls—by creating their own stores. The police department opened several new high-end retail stores in the malls to attract and arrest shoplifters on the spot. So far, more than 200 arrests have been made inside the policeman-manned stores. The key to their success is that the stores have expensive goods within easy reach, hidden surveillance cameras, plainclothes and armed officers dressed as normal store employees, and a steady supply of coffee and donuts to maintain a high level officer alertness and motivation. The operation is so successful that several available spaces had to be converted to holding cells for arrested shoplifters. The mall owners are pleased that thefts are down, criminals are being caught, and that the “cop shops” are taking up previously closed spaces, which make the malls look less “depressing”. The Audborn District Attorney has repeatedly warned the police department that their methods can be overturned easily in court as entrapment. The local police union laughed off those concerns and released a holiday calendar which includes the mugshots of the arrested shoplifters. The Audborn Public Defender's Office, anticipating a sudden increase in business, has asked for a budget increase and new hiring.