Vancouver police cracking down on shoplifters

With holiday shopping season in full swing, Vancouver police have set their sights on shoplifters.

Last month, the department completed a three-week project targeting shoplifters in downtown Vancouver that resulted in 25 arrests, and additional special projects targeting thieve and shoplifters are planned for this month, media relations officer Sgt. Aaron Roed said in a press release.

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Officers are also investigating two incidents of attempted shoplifting over the past week that had to potential to turn violent.

On Dec. 6 just after 12 p.m., a man caught stealing alcohol from the B.C. Liquor Store on Commercial Drive and Grant Street. He was arrested by the store’s loss prevention officer and, while in the process of being handcuffed, he pulled a knife and fled the store.

Vancouver police officers arrived, and located and arrested the suspect.

A 20-year-old of no fixed address is facing several charges in the incident. He was also wanted on warrants across the province and remains in police custody.

Two days later, at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, a man allegedly tried to steal hundreds of dollars in clothing from the Lululemon store on West Fourth Avenue and Arbutus Street. When he was stopped by the store’s loss prevention officer, he threatened him with a can of bear spray and fled. A short time later, a woman believed to be his accomplice entered the store and tried to steal clothing, but was deterred by the loss prevention officer.

The suspects, who are in their 40s, were later arrested and are facing several charges.

“Loss prevention officers sometimes have a tough job,” Roed said. “Thieves can be unpredictable, and we never want someone to get hurt over stolen property.”

Anyone who witnesses a theft in progress is asked to call 911.

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