Police in Fairview Heights issued a warning on social media about grab and run crimes but one suspect decided to go ahead and continue the thefts. The attempt didn’t go very far as police were there to arrest the suspect at the Dillard’s in St. Clair Square Mall.
In recent years, there have been several reports of grab and run crimes. The criminals enter stores, grab as much merchandise as they can and run out of the place. But police were waiting for the suspects this time around and had even warned them on social media that they would be there.
The thieves behind the grab and run crimes have stolen thousands of dollars in merchandise, so police came up with a plan to stop them this Thanksgiving shopping season. They sent undercover officers to patrol the stores and stop any grab and run crimes from happening.
The plan worked right away as Police Chief Nicholas Gailius said the first night they arrested two women who were trying to grab and run. On Tuesday, police arrested another person trying to do the same thing but at a Dillard’s. The suspect was arrested and police said this wasn’t his first attempt as they had seen him in other videos.
The police chief added that the suspect and his crew may have been involved in at least eight thefts in the last two months. A getaway driver escaped but police believe the arrest on Tuesday is a good start since they are breaking up a crew they say has stolen $25,000 in merchandise in recent months.
The arrests come after an increase in grab and run crimes in the area this year. BND recently reported that 55 grab and run crimes had happened this year. They added that 61 percent of those cases happened in the last four months. The majority of the suspects were not caught. In 2016, there were 44 reports of grab and run crimes in Fairview Heights. In November, police said it was adding new patrols to put a stop to the crimes.
Police warned about its undercover officers at the mall hours before the arrest on Tuesday. The Facebook post also included an image of a no shoplifting sign but it appears that the suspects ignored the warning or weren’t following the account. It is the second arrest since the undercover officers were sent in to patrol the stores and Gailius says criminals thinking about grabbing and running should think twice before going to the mall.