Prices of just about everything are on the rise and so is theft, according to Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.
These aren’t your typical crooks. Because of the economy, people are turning their desperation into crimes.
Crime Stoppers said it’s happening everywhere, at places like Target, Walmart, and Home Depot. It’s not just big-ticket items that people are stealing.
Fort Myers police, Naples Police Department, Cape Coral cops, and Crime Stoppers post pictures of people they want to find.
Trish Routte, coordinator of SWFL Crime Stoppers, said, “The price of everything is so much more right now. And people have less money coming in. So they’re going to be more apt to resort to things that they normally wouldn’t do.”
Crime Stoppers said it leads to people stealing things they normally wouldn’t.
“People are now taking the small items, the groceries,” Routte said. “The other day, we had a robbery at a Subway. Guy was just looking for a sandwich. So I mean, we’re talking about people who … may not be committing crimes that are now just resorting to desperate measures.”
“Not only are you going to go to jail, but you’re going to have the little bit of humiliation of having your picture on TV stealing from a store,” Routte added.
Most businesses have surveillance video so you can see people’s faces as plain as day.
“When we have those photos of people that are committing these crimes, and we put them out, we share them on social media, the public has been very good about calling us and saying, hey, I know who this is,” Routte said.
Instead of stealing, one shopper said it’s better to know your options. There is help if you want it.
Rafael Perez, a shopper in Fort Myers, said, “I know we have some food pantries around here so I don’t know if that helps but there is certainly is some churches and associations doing their best.”
Crime Stoppers does not believe this increase in crime has anything to do with the end of the school year.
They fear they’ll see another increase now that students are home for the summer.