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Auburn police take 'zero tolerance' stance on shoplifting, suspects shamed on Facebook

FILE - Surveillance photo of suspect accused of stealing from Cumberland Farms on Center Street in Auburn. (Auburn Police Department)

AUBURN (WGME) -- The Auburn Police Department says they are embarking on an anti-shoplifting campaign due to skyrocketing shoplifting numbers.

“In the first five months of 2018, we have seen an 84% increase in shoplifting thefts as compared to the first five months of 2017,” said Chief Phil Crowell in a press release. “Local businesses are looking to us to help find solutions.”

In 2017, police say only 25 percent of the adults arrested for shoplifting were Auburn residents, 40 percent of the arrested adults were from Lewiston and 31 percent were from other Maine towns. The remaining 4 percent were from out of state.

“These retailers are willing to work with us to try and lower the occurrences,” said Deputy Chief Jason Moen. “So, moving forward, businesses will be taking preventative measures and the Auburn Police will be taking a ‘zero tolerance’ stance on shoplifting.”

Police say anyone caught shoplifting in Auburn stores will be arrested and taken to the Androscoggin County Jail. Once a week, Auburn Police say they will post booking photos on their Facebook page “for the world to see.”

“Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. Millions of dollars in property is lost every year to shoplifting and we will do our best to prevent it,” said Crowell. “We want people to know that Auburn is open for business but closed to shoplifting.”

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