Stiff shoplifting law implemented in Delaware

April 21, 2008 3:40:29 PM PDT
Police in Delaware are cracking down on shoplifting. A new law in effect could mean more prison time for those caught in the act. 24-year-old Joseph Nester probably should have picked up a book about crime and punishment when he came to a Borders bookstore on Concord Pike last week. Instead police say Nester picked up 600 dollars worth of DVD's. Investigators believe they have him on tape entering the store... and minutes later leaving with the DVD's.

Delaware State Police say he showed up at the Concord Pike Mall where he tried to sell the stolen loot at the FYE store one hour later.

Cpl. Jeffrey Whitmarsh tells Action News, "We believe it was during that time that he was removing all these security devices from the DVD's which is not an easy task."

Police say Nester apparently didn't know he'd have to show his ID when he came to the mall to sell the DVD's, that's how police linked him to the surveillance tape. They suspect he also didn't know about a new law that makes shoplifting a felony for criminals who try to sell large quantities of stolen stuff.

Police say Nester's crime spree didn't end on Concord Pike. Later the same day he allegedly stole 5 bottles of cologne from a store on Kirkwood Highway. Unfortunately, authorities didn't know about the incident on Concord Pike at the time so Nester was set free, and he's still on the loose.

Nester was released on a $1,000 unsecured bond, but when police track him down he'll be the first career criminal charged under the new law by a patrol officer. And police hope others in his line of work are paying attention.

Whitmarsh warns, "Shoplifters beware. If you continue to shoplift and you are continually found guilty, and we can prove you are benefitting from it other than for personal use, this new charge will be applied."