Courts & Crime

More first-time shoplifters in Kansas City area

Stores want strong holiday traffic in a tough economy, but they'd like to avoid some of the foot traffic — a growing number of shoplifters.

December is the worst month for shoplifting, experts say, and the crime has been on the increase for about two years.

Shoplifters can be hard to spot but are major players in thefts that cost American retailers about $13 billion a year. And more people are doing it for the first time.

"They can be anyone — your mother, my sister — there is no profile," said Barbara Staib, communications director for the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention.

Most are otherwise normal people, experts say, but some get addicted to the rush of a five-finger discount.

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