SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. - Officials with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday the department is ramping up efforts to prevent retail theft over the holiday season, calling it "Operation Smash and Grab."
Part of the operation entails having deputies and detectives working undercover throughout the county to "provide a self and welcoming environment for residents while simultaneously disrupting and dismantling retail theft crews that victimize businesses in our area of responsibility," sheriff’s officials said in a press release.
The announcement comes just days before Black Friday 2023 and the official start of the holiday shopping season.
A similar and year-round effort was implemented in Los Angeles over the summer.
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Sheriff’s officials added participating retail stores and small businesses will have their loss prevention and store managers in contact with investigators to target theft in real time. Not only will sheriff's personnel increase inside stores, but they will also monitor the parking lots of surrounding businesses equipped with license plate readers.
The department added they will be working alongside the county's district attorney’s office to review reports and file cases "to ensure a streamlined review and filing process."
"This holiday season our office remains focused on ensuring the safety of our community and businesses. By working together with law enforcement and businesses across the county, we will seek prosecution and accountability for individuals who choose to engage in unlawful behavior such as retail theft crimes, buying or selling stolen property, or organized crime schemes at multiple locations," San Bernardino County District Attorney John Anderson said in a released statement.