With more people in the stores these days looking for the best deals, the police department is seeing its usual increase in shoplifting incidents.
And that, in addition to increased security in stores for the holiday rush, are two reasons why the police department made five separate arrests for shoplifting in one week's time.
"There is always an increase in shoplifting incidents this time of the year, especially when there are more people in the stores," said Bridgewater Township Police Lt. Al Nicaretta. "It makes it easier for the criminals to blend in with the regular shoppers."
In addition, Nicaretta said, stores have increased security at this point, and that is another reason why the police are able to make so many arrests.
Several of the arrests over the week-long period were of high-priced items, and Nicaretta said that is not unusual either.
"Higher priced items are usually the target of choice for the criminals that are shoplifting," he said. "They can resell these items on the street easier to people that are looking for presents for the holidays."
For example, Mayttee Cordero, 31, of Newark, was charged with shoplifting after police allegedly found her with $1,134.15 worth of items from Nov. 30.
Richard Nerbak, 54, of Martinsville, was charged with shoplifting after police allegedly found him with $297 worth of merchandise from Target Dec. 1.
Rasheda Harris, 34, of Bernardsville, was charged with shoplifting after she was allegedly found with $179 worth of merchandise from Dec 1.
Karen Rubia, 18, of Raritan, was charged with shoplifting after she was allegedly found with $173.39 worth of merchandise from Dec. 2.
And Terrell Henry, 40, and Gary Henry, 46, both of Newark, were charged with shoplifting after police allegedly found them with $1,049.32 worth of merchandise from Dec. 3.
But Nicaretta said the police department also tends to see an increase in organized shoplifting rings, with groups of between two and four people hitting a store together in an attempt to shoplift.
"For example, one person is the lookout for security, and the other person stuffs merchandise into a booster bag, then they leave the store, dump their proceeds into a car and come back," he said. "They repeat this criminal behavior until either they get caught or raise enough suspicion, then they leave."
Aside from these incidents, the Bridgewater Township Police Department released its police blotter for Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 with a few charges for crimes other than shoplifting.
- Dejanira Aguirre, 18, of North Plainfield, was charged with possession of marijuana after she was found with it while seated in her vehicle outside the Bridgewater Commons Mall Nov. 30.
- Gilberto Lorenzo, 45, of Waren, was charged with hindering apprehension after he provided police with false information when he was pulled over in a motor vehicle stop Dec. 1.
- Symona Jackson, 45, of Bridgewater, was charged with driving while intoxicated, speeding, reckless driving and failure to stop after she was pulled over while driving on Adamsville Road Dec. 2.