(WASHINGTON) — No retailer is safe when it comes to the pesky five-finger discount. Retail crime is now a bigger problem than ever, according to a new survey released by the National Retail Federation.
A whopping 96 percent of companies claim they’ve been the victim of theft in the past year, up from 94.5 percent last year.
“Criminals have become more desperate and brazen in their efforts, stopping at nothing to get their hands on large quantities of merchandise,” NRF vice president of loss prevention, Rich Mellor, said in the report.
Criminals go after the goods they can sell for near-retail price, the NRF found.
So what are these highly-desired, most stolen items? Bandits are taking off with electronic toothbrushes, high-end vacuums and infant formula.
A few products are new to this year’s list, including KitchenAid mixers, educational toys and games, GPS units and laundry detergent.
Jeans continue to be one of the most stolen items year after year.
And you might be surprised to learn how cleverly organized these retail crime gangs actually are — think a toned-down version of Clooney and Pitt in Ocean’s Eleven. To pull off the heist, the team of bandits rely on hand signals, cell phones, GPS devices and comprehensive shopping lists and have “tools of the trade,” which include foil-lined shopping bags, purses, boxes and signal jammers to defeat inventory control tags.
The top 10 most affected cities are Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington D.C., according to the report.
Here is the full list of goods thieves grab the most:
Diabetic testing strips
Weight loss pills
Health and Beauty
Electric toothbrushes & replacement heads
Lotions and creams
LCD monitors & televisions
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
David Goldman, CNN
Jethro Mullen Ivana Kottasova and Patrick Gillespie, CNN
Jeff Peterson, Deseret News