Sacramento County’s Sheriff, Jim Cooper, has publicly criticized Target for allegedly hindering law enforcement efforts to tackle persistent shoplifting and retail theft problems in its stores, even after the retail giant sought assistance from his office to suppress the ongoing issue.
According to Cooper, Target, one of the nation’s major retailers, approached the sheriff’s office multiple times for help in dealing with repeat shoplifters, frequently identified as “known transients.” However, things didn’t pan out as smoothly as intended.
Cooper revealed plans for a joint operation between his office and Target, intending to apprehend shoplifters in the act. However, the seemingly productive initiative collapsed when Target’s leadership dictated a restrictive set of rules for arresting the alleged offenders.
In a description of the failed operation, Sheriff Cooper mentioned how his police team had a briefing and was told by Target’s head of regional security that they could not contact or handcuff suspects inside the store.
Furthermore, if they were to arrest anyone, the police would need to process any shoplifters outside, behind the store, even if it was raining.
The sheriff expressed his disbelief at these constraints, alleging that the company’s insistence on avoiding unfavorable publicity overshadowed its fight against retail crime. Cooper explained that Target didn’t want to create a scene inside the store because that would mean people could record it on their phones and upload it on social media. Target believed that it would result in negative press.
“We don’t tell big retail how to do their jobs, they shouldn’t tell us how to do ours.”
Sheriff Jim Cooper via X
Cooper also recounted an incident where his deputies observed a woman boldly stealing body washes from shelves, only for Target management to allegedly ignore the theft.
“Our deputies watched a lady on camera bring in her own shopping bags, go down the body wash aisle, and grab a bunch of Native body washes. Then she went to customer service and [returned] them! Target chose to do nothing and simply let it happen.”
Sheriff Jim Cooper via X
Sheriff Cooper concluded with a pointed critique of Target’s approach to combating retail crime, underscoring how it adversely impacts ordinary consumers by locking up deodorant and raising prices on necessary everyday items.
A recent study by the National Retail Federation highlighted that four Californian cities, including Sacramento, rank among the top 10 major metropolitan regions most plagued by organized retail crime, based on nearly 200 retailers’ reports.