First-Time Schaumburg Shoplifters Avoid Jail

Citing resources, police wanted change in ordinance to give option to just write a ticket

By Shardaa Gray
|  Tuesday, May 24, 2011  |  Updated 10:52 PM CDT
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In an effort to keep more of its officers on the street, Schaumburg's Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening voted to forgo the arrest of first-time shoplifters.

With the new ordinance, officers will have the option simply issue a ticket.  In the past, hauling a thief to the police station for processing could take an officer off his or her beat for hours, explained  department spokesman John Nebl.

"The officer will have their discretion to issue a local ordinance citation which means the person would still have to appear in court and face a judge and potentially a fine but we would not have to bring them into the station," the sergeant explained.

Nebl said most of the village's 500 shoplifting offense last year occurred at the Woodfield Mall.

"Our security staff is here to assist stores when they need help with the shoplifter until the Schaumburg police department does show," he said.

While the possible passage of the ordinance will not change how general manager Marc Strich's own officers handle any type of shoplifting case, he expects Schaumburg police to continue to crack down on the crime.

"We've counted on the Schaumburg police department to have pretty good presence at Woodfield Mall over the years and we expect that to continue," he said.

More than two years ago there were 131 officers, but now there are only 117. The reduction comes from attrition and not layoffs. Another reason why they're doing this is because of security concerns stemming from 9/11 and just overall terrorism.

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