SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - A new program between merchants, law enforcement, and prosecutors has been launched in Pulaski County to tackle shoplifting.
Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery and Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield announced the formation of Project Shop-Loss Friday.
"Shoplifting is a serious concern for this community", said Montgomery in a news release. "The items stolen drive up the costs of goods for paying customers with those stolen items often converted into drugs or other contraband."
Montgomery and Hatfield have partnered their offices in an effort to maximize the resources already being spent to combat shoplifting.
"Since shoplifting cases begin in District Court, in order to fully address the problem, it is imperative that both the County and Commonwealth's Attorneys Offices work closely together with local law enforcement," said Hatfield in the news release. "We want to pool all of our resources to ensure that Project Shop-Loss is a successful effort for our merchants and our community."
Several vendors in Pulaski County, along with the Somerset Police Department, and prosecutors have met to exchange ideas and compare notes as to which people are causing the greatest loss at one or several stores.
Montgomery says several statues, including retailer organized crime, are available to punish people who steal from stores for immediate resell.
Organizers say Project Shop-Loss will help identify people who violate more harsh statutes.
"It is my hope that Project Shop-Loss will become an example of community policing, getting local businesses and citizens to assist in making this community safer by identifying career criminals from those people that make a mistake and deserve a second chance," Montgomery said.
Montgomery says organizers of Project Shop-Loss will meet monthly, and other businesses and law enforcement agencies are being encouraged to attend.