Retail theft in the U.S. is as big of a problem as it's ever been. Be it a byproduct of the pandemic, inflation, weak district attorneys, ubiquitous social media smash and grab videos, or a combination, stores across the country lost about $86bn in retail theft in 2022. That number is projected to hit $115bn in 2023.


Organized Retail Theft/Shoplifting

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We recently spoke with Berkshire County in Massachusetts district attorney Tim Shugrue about frequent local theft just in time for the Black Friday sales rush.

Organized retail crime is three or more people. One person may be driving the car, one person is distracting inside the store, and the third person is actually stealing the merchandise.

So, it's expanded from shoplifting, now it's organized retail crime. I'm not talking someone stealing diapers or baby formula, I'm talking about people stealing substantial items that they sell on the black market.


Men's or women's fragrances are in super high demand on the black market and always have been.


Cologne, to the tune of about $5000, was stolen from Ulta Beauty in Pittsfield, Massachusetts back in March.

Pittsfield Police Department responded to a shoplifting report at Ulta Beauty, the officer observed a plastic bag full of perfume and cologne in the vehicle.

I worked at Ulta in 2005 and perfume was their biggest stolen item then. I think the reason it is perfume specifically is because it is easy to re-sell. I think the reason it is Ulta specifically is because they have not done one single thing to amend the perfume thefts. They leave them out in a central location, nothing locked up, and they (rightfully so) encourage employees not to follow perps.-reddit

More Common Items Stolen from Mass. Retailers


I spoke with a manager, (wants to remain nameless), at one of the local TJ Maxx locations and she was explaining to me what else shoplifters love to take.

  • Men's Underwear and Socks
  • Designer brands (Calvin Klein, Polo, Nautica)
  • Coats
  • Brand name sneakers (Nike, Adidas, etc)

She was also telling me that a lot of theft is done because the shoplifters have the anti-theft device removers.

Food Retailers/Grocery Stores


Common items that organized retailers love to steal are high priced items for resale on the black market as well.

  • Steaks
  • High end meats
  • Lobster
  • Crab Legs

Theft of $1200 or more is a felony in Massachusetts.

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