Shoplifting Is Up: Blame Axe, Elmo and Filet Mignon

By Libby Kane

Shoplifting is not one of the ways we recommend to save money.

But this year, one in every 11 shoppers will shoplift when opportunity strikes.

According to AdWeek, retailers expect to lose around $119 billion in pilfered goods—which is not only a five-year high, but also up 6% from 2010.

Experts say that the economic climate’s pallor of desperation will lead to need-based shoplifting. Indeed, only 3% of shoplifters are “professionals” who will make a buck, while 70% of them are amateurs who didn’t plan their crime.

It seems like a given that iPhones are on top of this year’s wish list of complimentary products, but AdWeek brings our attention to equally popular (but much more surprising!) victims of holiday theft:

1. Axe. It absolutely begs for a joke on late-night television, but Axe body sprays and washes are one of the most shoplifted products year-round. In fact, a recent rash of drugstore burglaries lifted body wash only.

2. Razor blades. Replacement razor blades, especially for more expensive tools such as the Gillette Mach 4, can cost as much as $23. In an economic climate where $23 is a splurge, the blades make appearances on auction sites where people try and get them for less.

3. Let’s Rock Elmo. The newest animatronic noise-generator is one of Toys ‘R Us’s hottest toys of the season and is going for anywhere from $40 (Target) to $99 (eBay). That’s not a particularly cheap Muppet, so parents are likely to bypass the payments entirely.

4. Power Tools. Note that electric toothbrushes are included in this category, and try not to be too shocked that power tools from home-improvement stores are an absolute favorite of male shoplifters, but not so much their female counterparts.

Also included on the list are filet mignon, designer clothing and sneakers from brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Nike, expensive liquor such as Jameson and designer perfumes.

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