The shoplifter
Shoplifting is an expensive problem for which everybody pays the price.

HEIDELBERG, Germany - Officials with USAREUR's Office of the Provost Marshal have noticed a steep increase in the number of shoplifting incidents within the U.S. Army in Europe since the beginning of November. OPM officials report that USAREUR military police registered 32 shoplifting cases between Nov. 1 and Dec. 5, versus fewer than 20 for the previous three months.

Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Cieslewski, the OPM provost sergeant major, said would-be shoplifters should know they are likely to get caught and face hefty penalties.

"If you feel tempted to shoplift … don't do it," Cieslewski said. "The consequences are serious and the risk of getting caught is just too great. If you see anybody in a store take something without paying, report it to a salesperson, security guard or cashier."

OPM officials noted that during the holiday season retailers such as post exchange facilities increase their human, video and electronic surveillance and detection operations to prevent shoplifting.

Cieslewski warned that shoplifting can have lasting effects on an Army career and civilian life after leaving the Army. And because violators are not attempting to steal big-ticket items -- officials said that often the cost of the stolen items amounts to less than $20 -- it's a big risk for a small potential payoff.

"Regardless of the cost of the item, shoplifting is still a crime with all the attendant repercussions and the time-worn cliché that 'crime doesn't pay' applies, especially in these circumstances," Cieslewski said.

OPM officials stated that while their statistics show the recent spike in incidents has involved more junior enlisted Soldiers than any other group within the U.S. forces in Europe community, violators come from every group including family members, enlisted, NCO and officer service members, and civilians.

Shoplifting is an expensive problem for which everybody pays the price, OPM officials said. It hurts consumers because prices go up as retailers cover losses and fund security personnel, programs and equipment.

They recommended checking out the National Crime Prevention Council pamphlet available at for more information on shoplifting and its costs to individuals, families and communities.

Page last updated Tue December 18th, 2012 at 08:52