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What does a shoplifter look like?

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Jennifer Tracey | 12:34 UK time, Monday, 19 January 2009

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John Maher's email began in the style of a personal ad:

"Professional, graduate, aged 61, tall, good-looking(-ish), casually dressed (joggers, cycle gear, flat cap, etc), wearing a backpack with my laptop and books...."

John's GSOH fails him, however, when he enters a shop and feels that security guards are subjecting him to close scrutiny.

"I find it very, very insulting. What to do? Normally, I buy the goods I intended to buy, pay for them, and then leave the shop without taking them."

Comparing notes with his colleagues, John found that other people are often so annoyed by the attentions of store security staff that they will dump their shopping and exit.

John says that given the economic climate, shops should be more welcoming to paying customers. iPM phoned the Centre for Retail Research, which says that shoplifting is on the up. It estimates that there were about 9% more thefts in the 2008 pre-Christmas period compared to last year. Researchers suggest that retailers will be more vigilant.

Share what you know about shoplifting. Are you a magnet for store detectives? Are you a shop keeper or security guard with a story to tell?

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