Wolfchase has solid crime fighting plans in place - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: George Metaxas, 11/20/03, 10:30 a.m.

Wolfchase has solid crime fighting plans in place

Wolfchase Galleria, the shining star of Memphis malls, attracts 11 million people a year. A trio of accused shoplifters tried to remove some of the Wolfchase sparkle last week. Our Crime Tracker shows police and Wolfchase have solid crime fighting plans in place, with one possible area needing improvement.

Santa's at Wolfchase. Security's on the look out for any Grinches! Naja Dollar, Wolfchase Galleria spokesman said, "We're serious about our security. We have systems in place and everything is followed to the letter. And a situation like last week where the shop lifters were apprehended shows that we're doing the right things."

Police did catch a trio of accused shoplifters and found a car load of loot, evidently stolen from the mall. It's proof Wolfchase has the tools to discourage the kind of crime that helped destroy the Mall of Memphis. State of the art cameras, a significant security force inside the mall and out, plus police presence, uniformed and undercover.

"That's all I did, shoplifting cases." M-P-D Crime Prevention Officer John Goad is a former police detective who specialized on mall shop lifting investigations. Goad says many mall merchants citywide often allow shoplifters to avoid criminal charges even after getting caught. "We had suspects they did not want to prosecute due to the fact that they would have to pay their employees to go to court. So what they were paying their employees, is usually worth more than the item that's taken." That leaves the criminals off Scott-free to shop lift again.

Merchants, who struggle to hire and train qualified staff, generally do not budget payroll so workers can go identify suspects and return later to testify against them. So Crime Tracker offered a possible solution. What if Simon, Wolfchase Gallera's owner, hired extra staff who'd fill-in for workers needed elsewhere so the criminal justice system can prosecute? Dollar said, "Possibly that does have some merit that we could take a look at so thanks for the suggestion."

Wolfchase Galleria says if you suspect someone is shoplifting, quietly let the management know about it. The mall is determined to maintain a safe shopping environment. Managers say if you feel uncomfortable in the parking lot, you can request a security escort, even a ride to you car.

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