Vancouver: Vancouver Police have said their officers have made more than 200 arrests and recovered $80,000 in stolen merchandise during a three-week crackdown on chronic and violent shoplifters throughout the city.

“Retail crime is growing in major cities throughout North America, and in Vancouver we continue to see an alarming trend of repeat offenders and people using violence to commit their crimes,” said Staff Sergeant Mario Mastropieri of VPD’s Operations Division. 

“Business owners are frustrated by the financial losses and by the danger employees face for merely coming to work to earn a living, so we’re doing everything we can to help everyone feel safe again,” he added.

The police said during the three-week operation, called Project Barcode, Vancouver Police Department (VPD) officers worked closely with management, staff, and security at stores throughout the city to identify and arrest chronic and violent offenders. 

“VPD officers staged outside participating retailers while staff inside the businesses watched for known offenders and other shoplifters. As the thieves made their way toward the exits, staff notified the waiting officers, who took the suspects into custody,” reads the press release issued by the VPD.

The police said the cooperation between police and store staff allowed VPD to easily apprehend thieves, while minimizing the violence retail employees often face when attempted to stop people from stealing.

The police said 28 retailers participated in the project, 280 thefts were investigated, 217 people, with a combined total of 4,695 previous convictions, were arrested, 278 criminal charges were recommend to Crown counsel, 47 repeat offenders were arrested, $79,679 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to store shelves and 24 weapons were seized. 

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