Big Ticket Thefts Costing Tulsa Businesses, City Millions
TULSA, Oklahoma - Thieves are cleaning up when it comes to the latest hot ticket item, top-of-the-line vacuum cleaners, and the thefts have cost local stores at least $20,000 since April.
Stores like Target that sell the expensive vacuums are feeling the brunt of the crime, and the thieves are brazen, walking right in and right back out.
It's a pricey vacuum that promises to pack a punch when cleaning your carpets and local thieves are setting their sights on its value.
"They'll walk into the store and just pick up a certain item, in some cases, like you said, it's Dyson vacuum cleaners. For a while, a lot of the stores were getting hit for flat screen TVs, and they would just pick up a box, and just walk out of the store with it,” said Detective Lori Visser, Tulsa Police.
Once they've walked out of the store, they head to a getaway car that's ready to take off.
Thefts of big box items are costing Tulsa area businesses millions of dollars, and the city of Tulsa at least $2 million in sales tax revenue a year.
"People or serial shoplifters, which we call boosters, target stores and they'll go steal anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 worth of merchandise a day, a lot of times to support their drug habit," Visser said.
The thefts have major retailers like Target and Kohl's suffering.
"You know, the stores can't lock everything up. So I know they would probably like to, I don't know that that's going to happen,” said Visser.
Target issued a statement on how they're fighting back against these groups. They said, “They value the safety and security of their guests," but that they, “do not provide specifics on their security procedures because doing so could compromise their effectiveness."
Meanwhile, the Organized Retail Crime Unit said it knows which group is hitting Dyson's hardest in the area and most of the thefts are connected to others reported in Owasso and Broken Arrow.