ALERT Program Targets Shoplifters

BRISTOL, Va. - One local supermarket chain is taking a bite out of crime and inviting other retailers to join in.


Food City has come up with a program that involves its

loss prevention people and local law enforcement.



It's called the alert program and is designed to stop thieves from taking the same product from the store repeatedly.


The holidays are typically the busiest time of year in stores and also the busiest time of the year for shop lifters.   Local loss prevention officers are teaming up with law enforcement thanks to a new program that is pooling resources to go after as many thieves as possible.


"We wanted to get some communication between us, the retailer and our loss prevention people and law enforcement," Director of KVAT Loss Prevention and Security Joe Fryar said.  "We came up with a method of communication called the alert program.  We can send e-mails and exchange data, pictures and so forth."


The alert program is not aimed at individuals taking one or two items.  But rather it targets thieves who are taking specific items in order to sell them and make a profit, professionally."


"You are gonna see anything from national groups who are moving through and hitting stores as they go along," Assistant Sullivan County District Attorney Joshua parsons stated.   "All the way to local groups who are going in and hitting the same type of stores or going in and getting the same type of product over and over again."



Law enforcement officers in all of the agencies involved say this is a powerful tool for them and will make the investigation process more efficient.


"This is gonna be a huge asset to us," Sullivan county Sheriff's Department Spokesperson Leslie Earhart said.  "We communicate with other departments now.  But, this can be almost instantaneous.  We can share information through e-mail in just a few seconds."


"any time you get a network together like this and get all of the extra eyes and ears communicating with each other, I think some good things are gonna come out of it," Captain Maynard Ratcliff with Bristol Virginia Police said.


It's the latest tool using the latest technology, to fight crime in real time.

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