LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- Leland Police are addressing a shoplifting problem at the town's biggest store. Today Police Chief Tim Jayne announced anyone caught stealing from the Leland Walmart will face stricter procedures and punishments.
Leland Police will now physically arrest accused shoplifters and take them to the Brunswick County jail. This didn't happen before. Instead officers cited shoplifters and let them go outside the store. The department felt this procedure gave the wrong impression.
"If you're going to be involved in shoplifting, the Leland Walmart is not the place to go," Jayne said.
Jayne is making a bold change when it comes to thieves who shoplift at the town's number one location for larceny: Walmart.
"It's frustrating, because we need to be innovative in our approach, and it's obvious what we have been doing to this point is not working," Jayne said. "And I'm not sure if this will work, but I can assure you that people are not going to be comfortable with being arrested at this store.">
Leland Police will now handcuff and take suspected thieves to the Brunswick County Jail, where they will be photographed, fingerprinted and appear before a magistrate. Jayne and several shoppers we spoke with think it's a good way to try and stop shoplifting.
"I think it's great, because I don't think they should be allowed to get away with it," shopper Margaret Lindbert agreed.
Customer Robert Salino agreed.
"Hopefully it'll be a deterrent not only for the people who do the shoplifting, but if people are watching and they see someone get hauled off for taking something they didn't pay for they'll think twice about it," Salino said.
Police said the new procedure goes into effect immediately.
Chief jayne said shoplifting at Walmart has been the number one crime in the Town of Leland the last two years.