TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Big chain stores are often a target for shoplifters, but new data from the U.S. Chamber shows a spike in thefts at small businesses.
While it’s much easier for those major retailers to absorb the loss, it can be devastating to a small business.
One South Tampa store owner said they’ve been hit several times in the last few months, including a brazen shoplifter just this week.
Stephen Sherman, co-owner of Heads and Tails on West Kennedy Boulevard, still can’t believe it.
“It’s just a brazen theft, which is terrible,” Sherman told News Channel 8,
Store surveillance video from Wednesday afternoon showed a man grab dozens of Tampa Bay Buccaneers hats and run out without even hiding them.
“Obviously he’s going to try to resell them which we see very commonly during all of the games,” Sherman said. “These are officially licensed hats through the NFL, so he’ll get good money for them because they’re sold out in a lot of places.”
Sherman estimated that the person stole 28 hats, equaling a loss of $1,000.
Sherman believed the man saw them as an easy target.
“People know that they can get away with it,” he said. “I mean our team isn’t going to run after somebody down for it, or try and chase him down for any value of merchandise. We value their safety more than anything.”
Sherman said he hoped the crime serves as a warning for other business owners to be on alert.
He wants criminals to know that these crimes are much tougher on smaller businesses.
“As small business owners, we’re constantly trying to not only build our business but give back to the community,” he said. “When things like this happen, it just pulls the wind out of your sails.”
If you recognize the suspect in the video, please contact Tampa Police Department.