Community in Delaware County deals with recurring retail theft | "It's open season"

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Community in Delaware County deals with recurring retail theft
Community in Delaware County deals with recurring retail theft

HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police in Haverford Twp., Delaware County are dealing with a recurring problem of retail theft.

Investigators there say thieves are targeting two main shopping centers and are continually stealing hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise.

In one case, police say a suspect made out with $453 worth of granola bars from a supermarket without paying.

"The thieves are still out there. It's open season," said Chief John Viola.

Investigators say the Giant on Township Line Road was robbed four times in the last month. Each time, the thieves took up to $500 in stolen goods.

"It's not their first time, 'Oh, I'm hungry and I need a meal.' These are full shopping carts going out of there," he said.

Viola added that the supermarket is one of the most targeted stores because of its location.

"It's on Township Line, easy access going north or south whether they're going to Philadelphia or going the opposite direction. So it's very easy to get in and out of there," he said.

It's also not the only store being robbed. Police arrested a woman Tuesday accused of stealing nearly $2,000 worth of items from a nearby Kohl's.

In 2023, police say they arrested 136 people for retail thefts.

So far this year, they've made 38 arrests in the township.

"I think that's horrible and I think that makes it hard for the rest of us as well," said Shari Gilyard.

Hard, as in rising prices and stores locked-up goods. Shoppers say the crime is a sign of the times.

"At the best, I feel bad for people that are stealing groceries because I'd wanna think they're just in a very unfortunate situation and in that case, I'd wanna help them," said Adam Blak from Havertown.

Police say they believe in some cases, like with the stolen granola bars, the thieves are likely reselling the goods.

Investigators say they're working with the shopping centers to install more cameras to help solve crimes.