Police work to keep shopping centers safe - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Police work to keep shopping centers safe

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MOUNT JULIET, TN (WSMV) -

Holiday shopping is now in high gear for many people across the Midstate, but shoppers aren't alone out there.

Hundreds of police officers are also out there making sure everyone's safe.

The Providence Marketplace has been full of holiday shoppers on Friday. There have also been a number of police patrols.

Last weekend the Best Buy was robbed and today police are out across the Midstate trying to make sure shoplifters can't strike again.

With just over a week until Christmas, more shoppers are in the stores, and so are the shoplifters.

Many of the local police departments will be right there with them.

"A lot of officers are working," said Sgt. Tyler Chandler, Mount Juliet police information officer. "We have undercover officers in the area patrolling in unmarked vehicles. Even our own chief of police was out in his car out in the malls patrolling."

Channel 4 News rode with the Mount Juliet undercover patrol to see what police officers are looking for.

"When you start seeing people walking up the rows looking into cars and stuff, obviously that's suspicious," said Chandler. "When you see people walking in with no children and they've got a big bag, that starts screaming shoplifting to me."

Police said there is serious strategy to shoplifting these days.

"These guys and girls are getting real inventive," said Chandler. "They'll go in with, say a group of four, and one of them will be the distraction. They'll go in and purposely try to get attention drawn to her and the others do the robbing."

Last Saturday three shoplifters stole more than $1,000 of merchandise from the Best Buy at Providence Marketplace.

"They look like normal shoppers, selecting the items," said Chandler. "Then they started to move their way towards the door."

Mount Juliet police released the surveillance video on YouTube and through social media to alert the public.

"By having their faced plastered all over the news, all over social media, then more people see it," said Chandler. "And when more people see it, that means they're probably going to get caught."

As the countdown to Christmas continues, police are reminding shoppers not to make themselves a target, the easiest step is to lock away your valuables.

"You don't want to have it in plain view," said Chandler. "That causes the criminal to see it. He sees that GPS, that wallet, that purse, that iPhone, that iPad. He sees it and he wants to break in your car and take it."

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