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Monday
Feb282011

World's Biggest Shoplifters? Couple Named in $5M Safeway Thefts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (file)(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- If the allegations are correct, a pair of thieves in  Portland, Ore. may well be among the world's most prolific shoplifters. Police said they nabbed the sticky-fingered couple for allegedly shoplifting some $5 million of merchandise from Safeway stores.

Safeway worked with authorities to arrest Richard Remington, 52, and Angela Evans, 32, on Feb. 15. The grocery chain claims Remington pulled off 103 thefts that were caught on tape at various Safeway stores while Evans was seen 75 times stealing merchandise.

So determined was Safeway to stop the thefts, they authorized a loss prevention officer to place a tracking device on the couple's van, according to The Oregonian.

Remington and Evans, who had been dating for about six months, allegedly stole about $400,000 of merchandise a year from Safeway over the span of several years, according to an affidavit signed by Charles Mickly, deputy district attorney for Multnomah County in Oregon. The district attorney's office charged the two with 24 counts of theft. They have pleaded not guilty. It wasn't clear if they had a lawyer.

Trent Drucker, a loss prevention officer at Safeway, located Remington's van and placed a tracking device on it. He was then able to review video of the shoplifting and determine that they allegedly drove to pawn shops to sell stolen DVDs.

Not all retailers are able to invest months in capturing individual shoplifters, though this case suggests outsized losses for the supermarket chain.

Shoplifters stole $13.7 billion in merchandise in the U.S. from June 2009 to October 2010, according to the Centre for Retail Research in England. Surveying retailers worldwide, shoplifters cost retailers $107.3 billion in that period. The survey included 1,103 of the largest retailers in 42 countries, with $873.8 billion in combined sales.

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