Shoplifters looking for five discount during holiday shopping

Shoplifters looking for five discount during holiday shopping

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Crowded stores, deals you can't beat, and people who steal are just some of the reasons stores take a hard hit around this time of year.

Shopping is underway at stores across the city of St. Augustine and thieves looking for their next victim.

"I see a lot of people who bring empty bags from different malls and they do a lot of shoplifting," said Crocs worker Kaitlynn Hull.

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Hull works at Crocs at St. Augustine Premiere Outlet mall. She says they were just hit by a group of thieves Thursday.

"They hit us at once. They kind of like tag team it," Hull said.

It's something Aundre Hannon and his daughter Hannah say they witnessed today.

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"I actually saw some people run in and take some stuff so it can happen," Hannon said.

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than $13 billion worth of merchandise is stolen from retailers each year.

That total averages to about $35 million each day.

Last year, deputies with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office reported 118 cases of shoplifting at both outlet malls in St Augustine.

Since September of this year, 58 cases of shoplifting were reported.

Christopher Banfield says he doesn't take any chances when he takes his family shopping.
"People are robbing and watching you, you have to be extra careful. It's a dangerous world these days," Banfield explained.

"First thing I do to keep safe is keep an eye on my daughter, second thing is to keep my money close," Hannon added.

Deputies are also reminding workers to be careful.

They say if something doesn't feel or look right then it probably isn't.

"It stinks because we can't say anything for protection for us," said Hull.

Deputies also say to avoid being a target when you're done shopping, don't keep any bags in your car or make sure no one can see they are inside.

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