Stores Ready Tax-Free Weekend Thieves

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - Shoppers will be out in full force in the Basin to take advantage of tax-free weekend. But thieves will be out too and stores are taking extra steps to prevent any losses.

It's one of the busiest times of the year for retailers.

The tax-free weekend is here once again and stores all over the Basin are ready for hundreds of back to school shoppers but they're also prepared for shoplifters.

Jackie Trigger, Asset Protection Leader for the Odessa Target, said they're bringing in more employees to man the floors.

"We have team members working in all areas that are probably gonna be the focus of everyone shopping this weekend," Trigger said. "Back to school section, uniforms, kids clothes and things like that."

Stores are keeping their eyes peeled for any suspicious activity.

"We're working on our dome strategies, placing cameras in areas of focus," she said.

They're paying close attention to fittings rooms.

"They're gonna be checking to make sure all the pockets are empty and everything is on a separate hanger when they go into the fitting room and counting each item as they come out as well," Trigger said.

The store will also be keeping a watchful eye on checkout lines.

"Focusing on the bottom of the basket and looking inside all of the backpacks," Trigger said. "There are a lot of small items that can be hidden very easily."

But thefts don't only happen inside stores. Last year during tax-free weekend, a woman was attacked outside of Midland Park Mall while walking to her car. Police are offering tips to help you stay safe during the busy weekend.

Sgt. Darin Clements with Midland Police said more officers will be out patrolling this weekend but that won't stop thieves from trying.

"Someone they can get up close to without being noticed," Clements said.

Hide all belongings in your vehicle, even if they aren't worth a lot.

"That's just inviting people to break your window or open your door because a lot of people are not locking their vehicles," he said.

But always be aware of what's around you.

"Don't be talking on your phone, digging in your purse," Clements said. "If the attacker thinks you've seen him, you know what they look like, they're less likely to come near you."