Black Friday is a time to find great bargains, but if you were looking for a five-finger discount at Lakeforest Mall this year, the police were on the lookout.
A two-day initiative at the mall on Nov. 25--Black Friday--and Nov. 26 led to 16 arrests, mostly for theft, according to Gaithersburg Police spokesman Officer Dan Lane.
Over the two day period, a joint force of 16 or 17 plain-clothes officers from the Gaithersburg Police Department, Montgomery County Police and Lakeforest's own security company were on the lookout for all types of illegal activity.
Fourteen of the arrests were for theft, Lane said. One was charged with possession of controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia, and the last was charged with a parole violation.
Why target the mall? It's been a sore spot for law enforcement recently.
"Lakeforest Mall has led the way in the area for calls for service," Lane said.
But police think the weekend went well and are considering similar initiatives in the future.
"Right now we're briefing on it and sort of looking at what went right and what went wrong," Lane said.
In order to stay safe for the rest of the holiday season, the Gaithersburg Police Department recomments following these safety tips:
- Do not become distracted by your shopping. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Park in well-lit parking lots and park as close to the mall or store as possible.
- Lock your car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk of or under the seats of your vehicle.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash with you and pay with checks or credit cards when possible.
- Ensure that you are not encumbered with a large number of packages. Try to make trips back to your vehicle to store packages in the trunk as you continue to shop.
- Carry your closed purse as close to your body as possible.
- Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.