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Operation Bad Santa: SJSO retail theft operation leads to 11 arrests

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A recent undercover retail theft operation by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) led to the recovery of $7,000 worth of stolen property.

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The SJSO Property Crimes Unit (PCU) Detectives, Deputies, and Intelligence Analysts recently conducted a proactive multi-week operation to combat retail theft, organized retail theft and other crimes at numerous locations across St. Johns County.

Through Operation Bad Santa, deputies arrested 11 suspects.

According to the SJSO, 10 charging affidavits were completed, four juvenile civil citations were issued.

Read: ‘It happened very quickly’: Orange Park jewelry store robbed, 18-year old chases after suspect

Nationwide, 81.2 percent of retailers surveyed report that violence and aggression tied to organized retail crime incidents -- increased in the past year.

“We work very hard for our money, and I feel that that is just extremely wrong,” said Paige Knalson who lives in St. Johns County.

Last year, SJSO deputies and detectives arrested or charged over 700 subjects with retail theft related crimes.

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“The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is working with these businesses to combat shoplifting and other crime by utilizing undercover operations, as well as, bike and foot patrols. Also, we are working with the State Attorney’s Office to ensure proper charges are applied, especially in the case of repeat offenders. Additionally, our Real Time Intelligence Center (RTIC) is using the latest technology to assist in solving these crimes,” said Sheriff Robert Hardwick.

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