Central Florida coastal communities report rise in shoplifting incidents

The Flagler Beach Police Department is reporting a sharp rise in shoplifting incidents since 2021.

Down the coast, Daytona Beach Police Department says there have already been as many shoplifting reports filed up to this point in the year as there were in all of 2021. The number is also on pace to surpass the high set in 2022. The department said they often see an increase in instances during major breaks or holidays and many of them go unreported. 

FOX 35 News spoke with several shop owners who said they deal with thefts on a nearly daily basis. Tomer Oshri is the owner of Salty Turtle Gift Shop. He keeps a close eye on the inventory and installed cameras to catch alleged shoplifters.

"This is a family business. This is our life, and we won’t let [anyone] steal from us," Oshri said. 

He’s made a habit of uploading the security footage of apparent thieves to social media. He said it’s his way of deterring others from taking things that don’t belong to them.

"Shoplifters will be prosecuted and humiliated. Period," he said. 

Just up the road from his shop, Mordekhay Amsalem runs Sharky’s. He agreed there are attempts to steal on a daily basis. In his shop, many of the perpetrators are teens, though he said there are adults who steal as well.

"Sunglasses [are] a big thing that they steal," he said. "The necklaces, the keychains, the knick-knacks." 

In an effort to get ahead of the thefts from children, Amsalem offers all young people a gift when they enter the store. He believes it will prevent them from wanting to take anything.

The damage to his bottom line is between five and 10 percent, and he said that could understate the impact. Both Oshri and Amsalem said their goal is to warn people at the moment, so they know stealing won’t be tolerated at their shops.