Dark side of the holiday season

PHILADELPHIA. The holiday season is a busy time for retail employees, mall Santas and criminals.
Police are urging shoppers to be on alert for traditional holiday crimes such as purse snatching, street parlor games and phone thefts with about a week before Christmas.

“People need to be aware of how they carry their pocketbooks [and] not to [overburden] themselves so much that they can’t pay attention to their bags,” said Capt. Sharon Seaborough of Central Detectives. “We see that kind of activity increase this time of year because there’s more people downtown with money to spend.”

Shoplifting also reaches it peak during the holidays, and although police haven’t revealed the data for this year, retailers are definitely on guard.
“It’s always tough ‘cause we’re in a busy area,” said Art Bowser of Mitchell & Ness on Chestnut Street across from Macy’s. “It’s a pain in the butt.”

Mark Robinson, a manager at City Blue on Market Street near The Gallery, said he busted a shoplifter yesterday trying to walk our with a shirt tucked under his clothing.
“It happens, but as long as the manager keeps their eyes open, you can’t say it affects business,” he said.

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