RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Two undercover police officers dressed as Santa Claus and his elf stopped two suspected car thieves and three suspected shoplifters outside a Riverside, California, shopping center Thursday.
Riverside Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit, assisted by officers from the School Resource Officer Unit, conducted a holiday enforcement program — which they’re calling “Santa’s Intervention” — targeting retail theft during the holidays, the police department wrote on Facebook.
HOLIDAY ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM NETS SEVERAL ARRESTS
Riverside, CA – Yesterday on Thursday, December 10, 2020, detectives…
On Thursday, detectives and loss prevention specialists conducted video surveillance inside the Target store in the Canyon Springs shopping center as other detectives and officers remained outside to help detain any suspected thieves, ABC News reported.
Of those waiting outside were a detective and officer dressed as Santa Claus and his elf. At one point, they received information about three suspicious men attempting to steal vehicles in the parking lot. One of the undercover detectives saw the suspects trying to steal an older white Honda CR-V.
After being detected by officers, two of the men tried to flee the scene, but were quickly apprehended, according to ABC.
“One suspect resisted arrest but was taken into custody with the help of our undercover Santa, and the second was detained by the undercover elf,” police wrote on Facebook.
“Changes in property crime laws within the recent years have contributed to increases in retail theft and shoplifting,” Detective Everth Bercian of the Property Crimes Unit, said in the statement. “Theft of merchandise totaling less than $950 is only a misdemeanor, and any arrest made whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor, results in little to no consequences for these crimes.”
Also on Thursday, undercover police outside the shopping center arrested three suspects who attempted to shoplift.