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Columbus Sees Sharp Spike In Shoplifting

Shoplifting is on the rise in Columbus. Last year, there was a 400 percent increase in thefts where the value of goods exceeded $500. City prosecutors attribute that to changes in state law, which increased the threshold between misdemeanor and felony theft charges from $500 to $1000 last year. "The change in the amount has definitely changed the average of the value of each shoplifting incident we had in our statistics," says Assistant City Prosecutor Bill Hedrick. "Last year, the average shoplifting case we had was $99. This year it's about $116, 117." Hedrick says thieves target a wide variety of items to steal. "Large quantities of clothes; electronics is something you can get out in large amounts. I've had a few that have even tried to get out with over $800 in groceries." Hedrick adds consumers can expect to pay more to cover the value of stolen goods.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.