South Hill businesses beef up security to fight burglars



Posted on April 5, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 5 at 6:44 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- At the beginning of the year, several South Hill businesses were plagued by shoplifters and burglars.

One store says, in just one night, a group of shoplifters made out with more then $2,000 worth of clothes and accessories. After the crime spree, the shops banded together to fight back. Their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

“I haven’t been in here I a while, but when I came in today, I noticed security tags,” Fringe customer Karla Bischoff said. “There was no way anyone was going to make it out of the store with anything in their bags.”

Store owners say that’s the point.

Fringe went to extremes to protect its merchandise. Employees re-tagged every single item with a new, large security device, in addition to adding security cameras around the store. It did cost hundreds of dollars, but it is still less than what the thieves cost them.

Nearby Rae’s also fell victim to prolific burglars around the same time.

“If someone is a shoplifter, the first they do when they come in is look around for your cameras. We were told a good shoplifter knows a fake camera from a real camera. We have the real cameras,” Rae’s owner Carolyn Crowell said.

Even so, the store says employees are making the effort to sharpen their eyes. They think employees have taken notice.

“Usually, the stores on the South Hill are destination stores. If someone comes in and just kind of looks like he fits, or if he’s casing the joint, we’re on him” Crowell said.

The Spokane Police Department did perform surveillance and caught a group of burglars earlier in the year after breaking into a South Hill Radio Shack. Police say they’ll continue to keep an eye on those stores.