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The most plunder-ful time of the year

<p>This weekend will bring hordes of shoppers toDowntown Crossing in search of a few last-minute Christmas gifts. <br /></p>

This weekend will bring hordes of shoppers to
Downtown Crossing in search of a few last-minute Christmas gifts.

It is also a boon for shoplifters that thrive on crowded
stores and distracted employees, who will be on high alert.

“We’ll be more visible when customers walk in the stores,”
said Hip Zepi USA co-owner Delroy Allen. “[The shoplifting] really starts this
weekend.”

Boston Police announced earlier this week they are
increasing patrols in popular shopping districts, including the use of
plain-clothes officers. The presence will be especially high Saturday and
Sunday in Downtown Crossing, which is no stranger to thievery, especially by
teenagers.

One store owner estimates that teens account for over 50
percent of the shoplifting incidents. However, few get more than a slap on the
wrist, making it easier to simply shoo them away.

“I try to get [the item] back and send them along,” said
Hugo Tabares, who sells belts and watches from a cart on Washington Street.

We have done that in the past,” said Allen. “It just takes
forever [to get through the court process]. Nothing ever comes of it. We tell
them, ‘Just don’t come in here.’”

A manager at a jewelry store who asked not to be identified
told Metro that shoplifting is just accepted as part of the business. She also
fingered this weekend, the last before Christmas, as the biggest weekend for
shoplifting annually.

"They get really desperate right about now.”

 
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