2/6/17 – Local law enforcement is working to crack down on one common crime. In 2016, Beaver Dam Police say retail theft was the second most frequently issued citation, behind operating with a motor vehicle with a suspended license. During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment program, Officer Jeremiah Johnson said retail theft is typically one of the most commonly issued citations each year and says roughly 100 were handed out through the first ten months of 2016. Johnson is the department’s officer who is in charge of handling retail theft complaints and responds to each one when he is working, whether it is his call to handle or not. Johnson says a task force, comprised of law enforcement and loss prevention representatives from Beaver Dam’s largest retailers, meets on a monthly basis to share information. Despite being competitors, Johnson says the city’s retailers have a good relationship in notifying each other when a theft occurs, as perpetrators often use similar tactics at multiple stores. While some retail theft complaints are in regards to a kid stealing a candy bar, Johnson says many involve big-ticket items. He says people called ‘boosters’ engage in organized retail crimes by stealing items with the intention to resell. Johnson says his job is to analyze thefts to find causation, which could include a substance abuse problem. While many retail theft cases are handled in municipal court, Johnson says any incidents that involve over $500 worth of merchandise or repeat offenders are referred to the Dodge County District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.
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