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How Much Shoplifting Costs You

Shoplifting may have led to a man's death outside a Lithonia Walmart, but how does the petty crime affect the average consumer?

Shoplifting, a petty crime that may have cost a man his life outside a Walmart in Lithonia, hits Georgia families in the pocketbook each year.

Vidal Calloway, 40—a good person who had a drug problem, according to his wife—was dead when police came to arrest him on suspicion of shoplifting two DVD players, Stone Mountain-Lithonia Patch reported. The police report indicated Calloway was involved in an altercation with two employees and a private security agent.

The "truly sad situation," according to Walmart, brings to light incidents that happen every day, all across the country, and even more so during the holidays.

About 27 million people in America—that's 1 in 11 people—are shoplifters, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. More than $13 billion in goods each year are stolen from retailers, which represents more than $35 million per day.

"We have security measures in place to deter criminal activities, such as shoplifting..." said Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee. "We have been successful in identifying people who break the law and steal from our stores, and we appreciate the partnership we have with local police to help make our community safer.

"We serve more than 140 million customers in our U.S. stores every week, and unfortunately, there will be individual incidents," Gee continued. "But let me assure you that every store puts a lot of focus on its security and crime prevention measures."

In October, a loss prevention worker at Walmart in Cartersville was allegedly assaulted by a suspected shoplifter he confronted in the parking lot. Inside the city limits, eight of the 14, or 57 percent of the theft or larcency cases logged by Cartersville police during the week of Nov. 21 to 28 were for shoplifting, according to CrimeMapping.com.

It's an issue that "overburdens the police and the courts, adds to a store's security expenses, costs consumers more for goods, costs communities lost dollars in sales taxes and hurts children and families," NASP says.

Shoplifters put retailers in the red by nearly $51.5 billion in 2011, and many stores reported actual and attempted shoplifting was up, according to the Center for Retail Research

Crimes affecting retailers' inventories plus their investments to prevent them pull at the purse strings of American families to the tune of nearly $200 a year, according to CRR. That's more than $66 per individual.

The "vast majority" of shoplifters steal not out of criminal intent, financial need or greed, but as a response to social and personal pressures in their lives, according to NASP.

Did you realize how much shoplifting could cost consumers? Where does the responsibility lie—with the retailers or the shoplifters? Tell us what you think in the comments!

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