Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers spend a lot of time at local Walmart stores.
And not shopping.
CMPD-compiled statistics indicate that police officers collectively spend close to 200 hours each month at the various Walmart stores situated across Mecklenburg County.
And, reportedly, they'd prefer to be just about anywhere else.
"[W]e're always working to get that [hours expended on in-store criminal investigations] at a minimum," says CMPD Captain Chris Dozier.
Just from the perspective of sheer numbers and shopping volume, it hardly seems surprising that local law enforcers are routinely called out to local Walmart stores. There are 11 Walmart shopping centers across the county.
Police officials say that the bulk of calls requesting assistance are focused upon larceny and shoplifting. The overall number of crime reports concerned with that realm of criminal conduct is high, indeed, with officials from stores within the county having sought police assistance more than 1,500 times since the beginning of the year.
The sheer volume of incidents can lead some people to believe that shoplifting is so common as to be a trivial and, in some instances, even inconsequential, offense.
Actually, that couldn't be further from the truth. Although a shoplifting offense tagged as a misdemeanor criminal charge might ostensibly sound comparatively minor, its consequences can be materially adverse.
Indeed, a shoplifting conviction can yield myriad downsides. Those range from the stigma associated with public disclosure of a theft offense to potential job loss, denied career opportunities, closed doors in the military and at certain educational institutions, and more.
Maybe a suspect did it. Maybe an arrested individual absentmindedly walked out of a store with unpaid merchandise in hand. Maybe shoplifting was an act of desperation or, conversely, an ill-considered juvenile prank.
In any case, a theft-related criminal charge involving shoplifting or another matter is a serious thing that reasonably requires timely and knowledgeable input from a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
Law enforcement authorities take shoplifting and other theft crimes seriously in Mecklenburg County. So, too, should an accused party who stands much to lose from a criminal conviction.