The latest release from Crime Stoppers is hardly a stop-the-presses kind of announcement:
Crime Stoppers and Investigators with the Houston Police Department are seeking the public's assistance in identifying a man wanted for stealing razors and razor cartridges from a grocery store located on West Bellfort in Southwest Houston....
[T]he suspect entered the grocery store and headed to the pharmacy section of the store. He walked up to the shelf that held men's razors and replacement cartridges. He selected numerous razors along with the replacement cartridges and concealed the items in his pants. He walked out of the store without making any attempt to pay for the merchandise.
Has Houston become so free of murders, robberies and carjackings that authorities can concentrate on petty shoplifitng? And offer $5,000 rewards for information leading to their arrest?
Not exactly, Crime Stoppers' Amy Smith tells Hair Balls.
The announcement about the Razor Blade Bandit (as the FBI no doubt would have dubbed him) is part of a larger project targeting organized thieves who hit supermarkets, drug stores and other retail outlets and then re-sell what they shoplift.
"If you look at one individual case it doesn't look like much, but when someone does it nine or ten times, it adds up," Smith says. "One day they'll hit a Randall's, the next day a Krogers, and then they'll sell the stuff at flea markets or mom-and-pop stores."
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Or online, she says: "If you're buying stuff unopened online at eBay or Craigslist, chances are it's stolen," she says.
Retailers have formed the Greater Houston Loss Prevention Alliance and have begun providing Crime Stoppers with cases to publicize.
Yesterday there was a release on a guy who stole some DVDs from a drug store; earlier this week there was a press conference that included details on a woman who would line her purse with foil to thwart security scanners, and load it up with Prilosec.
But yes, we are reliably informed that murders and armed robberies are still occurring in Houston, and that Crime Stoppers will not abandon publicizing them in order to devote their efforts to people lifting razor blades from the supermarket.