Some law enforcement officers are warning local retailers to be on guard as shoppers head to the malls over the holidays. The holiday shopping season is also high season for professional shoplifters in the D.C. area.
Each winter, Lt. Tony Matos fights retail theft for the Fairfax County Police Department. He says during the holidays, organized criminal rings know that malls and retails stores in affluent Northern Virginia will be flush with merchandise.
A recent arrest involving a four-person operation shows just how skilled shoplifters can be.
"We're talking somewhere in the vicinity of $50,000 to $60,000 of merchandise in about two days time," Matos says.
Matos says since Dec. 8, his team has recovered $175,000 worth of merchandise and made more than 30 arrests at Tysons Corner alone.