AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Austintown police need your help to catch a brazen thief who they said stole a 60-inch TV from Walmart.
Officers are looking for the man in a ball cap caught on surveillance video at the Mahoning Avenue store early one morning last week.
They said he used a shopping cart to roll the TV out through a fire exit.
“With most thefts, they’re opportunity thefts,” said Det. Sgt. Sean Hevener.
Austintown detectives think the thief may also have committed similar crimes in Boardman.
He said thefts of big-ticket items are becoming a lot more common — and not just around the holidays.
“You take a $600 TV, you get $300 for it. So it’s one of those things where you’re expending some energy but you’re maximizing your reward.”
That’s not to say individuals can’t be targeted, especially when they’re distracted by something else, like their cell phones.
“There’s a lot of people that come to stores to look for those opportunities,” Hevener said.
“That awareness of your own surroundings goes a long way toward making you not a target or a victim,” Sgt. Paul Grimes said.
One suggestion is to leave jewelry and anything else that makes you stand out at home.
“I wouldn’t recommend wearing that out while you’re holiday shopping,” Grimes said. “Wear casual clothing, try not to have your arms full of packages. If you don’t have to carry a purse, don’t carry a purse.”
Detectives say thieves will often look for that weak link, as they call it, such as a purse or package left in the shopping cart while you’re loading things into your car.
“When they don’t see [those opportunities], they don’t act on them because…they don’t want to get caught,” Hevener said.
If you know who this man is, call Austintown police at 330-799-9721.