JOPLIN, MO.--- The holiday season is a time to be merry, and for store owners to be wary. Shoplifting during this time of year costs retailers billions of dollars.
"It's the biggest time of the year- from Thanksgiving through Christmas," said Harold Berger, Pearl Brothers Owner.
It's also prime time for shoplifting.
"It hurts, it definitely hurts," said Debbie Mitchell, Breezy's Owner.
Big crowds serve as camouflage for sticky fingers.
"Small items that people can fit in their pocket or purse fast, small items," said Mitchell.
Merchandise disappears from shelves in a matter of seconds.
"We have more business as well as more people shoplifting, we need more employees," said Berger.
Pearl Brothers in downtown Joplin is increasing its staff by eight to help keep a watchful eye. A few doors down, Breezy's owner turns to technology, installing a video surveillance system. It comes after an ongoing battle with shoplifting. Debbie Mitchell disliked putting the sign up--- saying a hard economy is to blame for the spike in the crime, but it's about keeping her business afloat.
"It all adds up at the end of the day, end of the month, end of the year," said Mitchell.
Shoplifting can mean hundreds of dollars gone, which could cause a store to make it or beak it.
"It does hurt a small business trying to make it in this economy, we're losing profit," said Mitchell.
According to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention, more than $13 billion worth of merchandise will be stolen this holiday season alone.
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