Shoplifting is a major concern for local retailers and that includes stores operated by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Now, the state agency and the Roanoke City police department are working together to catch shoplifters. And they want your help.
The Roanoke Police Department investigated almost 90 thefts from ABC stores last year. Now the department has created a web page that will feature the photographs of suspected shoplifters.
So far, 14 tips have come into the department since late last week.
Investigators said those tips have helped with five different cases and they've already made one arrest.
The department said the public plays a key role in catching these thieves.
"Our hope is that folks who may conspire or be interested going into the ABC stores and stealing alcohol will think twice about it now because there are people out there who want to do the right thing and hold other people accountable for their actions," said Deputy Chief Tim Jones with the Roanoke City Police Department.
The shelves are stocked with a wide variety of distilled spirits, and the state ABC stores are equipped with excellent digital surveillance systems. That means the pictures of suspected shoplifters are pretty good.
The new web page went live Friday, with the pictures of at least eight people, investigators believe have helped themselves to inventory at Roanoke ABC stores.
"Any theft is a theft that other people ultimately pay for," said Jones. "Somebody's got to cover that loss. And we need to hold people accountable when they take it upon themselves to walk out of the ABC store with a bottle of alcohol, just like they may walk out of a convenience store or any other store with articles that don't belong to them."
Roanoke Police are encouraging anyone with information to note the incident number at the bottom of the photograph and call Crimeline.
The tip can be anonymous, and Crimeline offers cash rewards.
The director of the ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement says his agency hopes to use the web page as a model for partnerships with other local police departments around the state.
The Roanoke Police Department and the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control have created a website to identify shoplifters who steal from ABC stores.
In the City of Roanoke last year, police investigated nearly 90 thefts from ABC stores alone.
The Roanoke Police Department’s web site features photographs of alleged shoplifters. They hope this will deter shoplifters from stealing from ABC stores.
The number to the Roanoke Valley Crime Line (540-344-8500) is on the web site. Information from callers can be anonymous.