Shoplifting has been on the rise in Missouri and across the nation in the last few years, and law enforcement is keeping an eye on this trend. Missouri lost more than $1.6 billion in revenue to theft in 2022.

St. Joseph Police Chief Paul Luster said locked cases, AI-equipped cameras, receipt scanners, off-duty cops and license plate recognition technology is becoming more common at retailers, which creates additional strain on consumers.

“It’s going to drive up prices,” he told Missourinet affiliate KFEQ in St. Joseph. “The more stuff they have to lock up, the more employees they have to have to unlock things or the more loss prevention employees they have to have. So, ultimately, I think the concern is that raises prices for just for people like you and I, the normal consumer that’s not going to go into a store and shoplift anything.”

Luster said St. Joseph has not seen any major incidents when it comes to shoplifting, but he said the department remains vigilant.

“They’ll track those trends and the store or get information that they’re going to have to lock certain items up because of those trends. So the retailers are very in tune on that. It’s definitely, it’s been reported a huge national problem. We haven’t been immune to it here in St. Joe, but we haven’t seen it at the level that a lot of other cities are seeing it,” he said.

A Nodaway County man suffered minor injuries after attempting to take photos of an alleged shoplifter in St. Joseph at the Big Lots store last December.

Last May in Blue Springs, a shoplifting sting ended in 24 arrests and the recovery of thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise.

By Tommy Rezac of Missourinet affiliate KFEQ in St. Joseph