Idaho police and retailers team up to get one step ahead of thieves

Organized Retail Crime Association in Idaho works to track down fraudulent thieves. Made up of law enforcement and retailers, they were able to track down three women associated with credit card thefts in Idaho. (CBS2 Staff Photo)

Communication, Boise police says is key to finding fraudulent thieves.

Over the years, the Organized Retail Crime Association has formed a lip tight partnership between law enforcement and retail representatives statewide.

"To really protect our community, make our community a safer place."

Ed Fritz, Crime Prevention Supervisor with the Boise Police Department says thieves travel throughout Idaho and most often come from other states.

"You know the intent is to victimize our retailers here and in the end, we all end up paying more for it," Fritz said.

Fritz also serves on the ORCA board where recently they tracked down three women from Arkansas. Who police say were stealing credit cards to buy thousands of dollars, worth of gift cards. Observant retailers called it in.

"We have an alert retailer look at suspicious transactions and communicate it through the association committee, through law enforcement and we're able to match up with similar crimes that have happened with similar circumstances, same people involved with that. And within minutes were able to track down the suspects in their vehicle," Fritz said.

Fritz says retailers are on the front lines when it comes to fraud.

"They really can tell us what to report because they know what is a normal transaction for a given retailer on what is suspicious. So, there is a lot of activity going around with gift cards, with high dollar products like apple products, things like that," Fritz said.

Whether a person is stealing or not, buying mass amounts of products raises a red flag to retailers.

"They report it to us so law enforcement can look at it, we can investigate it and kind of plug in the rest of the pieces from there." Fritz said.

Fritz says sometimes these crimes go unreported because the person doesn't even realize their credit card is missing.

"We encourage people to first and foremost, keep track of your cards, keep track of your keys. Make sure they are secured, they are locked up," Fritz said.

Furthermore, checking bank statements and setting up fraud alerts. The faster you know about it, the faster law enforcement can track that person down.

Fritz says the great relationship between law enforcement and retailers started before the association but the outstanding communication has helped not only solve cases but protect countless victims.

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