HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Hobbs announced Thursday they will be cracking down on shoplifting during the holiday season. In a press release, officials say that personnel and resources will be dedicated in an effort to make sure shoplifting crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.
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“The common misconception regarding shoplifting crimes is that there is no ‘victim’ for the crime,” said City Attorney Efren Cortez in a statement. “In truth, shoplifting crimes victimize the business owners through lost profits and the consumer through increased prices.” Cortez pointed out that businesses are already experiencing problems due to supply chain issues and shoplifting compounds the problem.
“Every single store here in our city has had a shoplifting incident or two, but we are just here waiting for the phone call to take care of it correctly when they do call,” said Lt. Alvin Mattocks of the Hobbs Police Department.
Shoplifting is a misdemeanor crime with penalties up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail per charge in Hobbs. In October, they received 23 calls from the city’s main shopping district. In November, the number jumped to 34. “What can we do to help or support our small businesses or local businesses and that is what we had determined. We may tell them to file with us we can definitely help you out that kind of stuff,” said Deputy City Attorney Valerie Chacon. “This isn’t a victimless crime.”
One Hobbs business has even started to allow employees to bring a firearm to work to help deter theft. Police say that it’s the business’s right to allow that.
Lt. Mattocks said, “We have no say in that because it’s their business, whatever they say and do at that particular business that’s their decision. We do not have any words on that.”
The Hobbs police are starting increased patrols throughout the city’s shopping centers to try and deter or catch shoplifters. They have caught three shoplifters in the last month. If they can connect these criminals to more than one crime, they will take these charges to the district court as serial shoplifters.