Are Relaxed Prosecutions of Shoplifting Contributing to Problem?

Wall streets financial analysts predict Wal-mart will lose $3 Billion to employee and shoplifter theft this year.

It's news that people in Prattville and Montgomery can relate, since our stores have suffered some big ticket thefts.

You might one theft in January where a man walked out with five big screen televisions from the Prattville Walmart days after the same thing happened in Montgomery. In just two thefts, Walmart lost ten to fifteen thousand dollars in merchandise.

Those losses are mounting up, leading to the report Walmart will lose three billion dollars this year because of similar thefts.

Wal-mart isn't alone.

Last week, the manager for the East Chase Victoria's Secret store told police two women walked in, gathered up 25-hundred dollars worth of perfumes and lotions and walked out. So what's behind the boom in big ticket shoplifting?

Last year, Walmart said it would no longer prosecute what it called minor shoplifting offenses.

The manager at the East Chase Victoria's Secret told police the store normally didn't even call police in shoplifting cases. A current employee that didn't want to go on camera admitted to us store policy says no one should confront a thief.

"I'm sure they look at employee safety, I'm sure they look at potential lawsuits, and a bunch of other issues that we probably are not privy to," said Capt. Huey Thornton of Montgomery Police.

Even Parisians isn't exempt. Monday afternoon, a man walked in, picked up a $450 dollar TV monitor and walked away clean from that store, too.

None of the corporate owners are saying why they're seeing increased losses, but Wal-mart denies its lessened security in stores. Of course, they do have security cameras inside.

Police aren't happy we're telling you about this problem, saying it will encourage potential shoplifters to try something, but  theft like this costs consumers at the cash register.

In addition, one local business school administrator told us off camera it looks like most potential thieves already know the secret and that this kind of publicity might force stores to change their policies and increase enforcement.

Police arrested the men responsible for the tv thefts at Wal-mart but have no leads on the Victoria's Secret theft.