Traveling thieves strike Best Buy in Ross
Ross police believe organized thieves recently targeted at least two businesses in the township, and departments in other communities are stepping up patrols to combat crime at shopping complexes during the holiday season.
At least four middle-aged white men working together stole nearly $5,000 in merchandise from the Best Buy on McKnight Road on Sept. 22 and Nov. 11, Ross police Sgt. Benjamin Dripps said. He said police expect them to return and try again.
“They commit the theft and are gone for a few weeks,” Dripps said. “We think that pattern will continue.”
In a separate incident, five people, also believed to be part of an organized theft ring, stole thousands of dollars worth of Louis Vuitton handbags from the store in Ross Park Mall on Thursday. Dripps said he doesn't think the culprits are the same as those in the Best Buy thefts.
“Everything is different,” Dripps said.
Dripps said investigators believe the men in the Best Buy thefts are part of an organized ring traveling along the East Coast. They stole GPS units and calculators from Best Buy, he said.
“They're very organized and nonconfrontational with employees,” Dripps said. “They target items not typically stolen locally. It would appear they've contracted with someone for the specific items. They clearly have a plan in place.”
The suspects used a white sport utility vehicle, possibly an older Ford Expedition, in the heists, police said.
Police in Bethel Park, Monroeville and Robinson increased patrols in shopping areas but said they haven't encountered organized retail theft rings in their communities.
“This time of year, typically we start to see an increase in certain types of crime like retail theft,” Bethel Park police Chief John Mackey said. “But certainly not on an organized level like that. It's that time of year, unfortunately.”
North Fayette police also increased patrols in shopping districts, Lt. Michael Hamm said.
“We do that to create a visual presence,” Hamm said. “If they see police in the Wal-Mart parking lot, they might think twice about going there.”
A few months ago, a group of “till tappers” stole cash out of a store register, Hamm said. Investigators, who identified persons of interest, believe those responsible are part of an organized ring, he said.
“They basically take money from cash registers by confusing the clerk,” Hamm said. “They'll take a large amount of cash from the register without them knowing it.”
Retailers in North Fayette increased the number of security officers on duty and video surveillance systems in use to help deter crime, Hamm said.
“The video surveillance cameras are getting better and better, which enables us to identify them easier,” he said.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Philly’s new vibrancy lures crowds
- Don’t remove history’s lessons
- Pirates minor league report: Ramirez more mindful while at plate
- Starting 9: Pirates missing out on young bat
- Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
- Grandmother of boy dropped at Uniontown Hospital says he’s in ICU
- State-owned universities spend millions in race to snare students
- Starkey: Bring back the Brawl!
- Court attire can have impact, public defenders say