NORCROSS, GA – Retail businesses nationwide are grappling with an escalating wave of thefts, as shoplifters grow increasingly audacious and violent. A recent incident in Gwinnett County, Georgia, underscores this alarming trend.
On September 23, at a Home Depot on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, four thieves not only stole hundreds of dollars worth of power tools but also assaulted a 66-year-old employee, causing him severe head injuries. The Gwinnett County Police Department reported that the incident occurred around 1 p.m.
The police have released images of the four suspects – two men and two teenagers, a boy and a girl. According to Police Corporal Ryan Winderweedle, the group made their escape in a dark grey Chrysler 300. “It seemed to be a planned operation among these individuals,” Winderweedle stated. The 66-year-old Home Depot worker attempted to intervene with the shoplifters’ plans to rob the store. However, they violently attacked the employee. The physical confrontation caused injuries that left the worker hospitalized for multiple consecutive days.
The National Retail Federation has reported a surge in violent shoplifting incidents over the past year. The Retail Industry Leaders Association has been documenting these attacks, recording numerous instances of shoplifters assaulting anyone who gets in their way. In the past year, shoplifters in the metro Atlanta area have even resorted to arson to distract security personnel at three major retail stores – two Walmarts and a Target – while they pilfered merchandise. In response to the rising crime rates, Target has recently announced the closure of nine stores across the country.
Home Depot and other retailers are collaborating with law enforcement and legislators to tackle this organized retail crime.