Businesses crimes target of police seminar | VailDaily.com

Businesses crimes target of police seminar

Christine Ina Casillas

Crimes against businesses can be prevented if merchants take precautions, say public-safety officials

Public-safety officials with the Vail and Avon police departments will teach merchants techniques to prevent fraud, shoplifting, false identification and counterfeit money at a free seminar from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 11, in the Vail Town Council Chambers, 75 South Frontage Road.

“Most crimes against businesses are preventable if owners take some simple precautions and teach the employees how to recognize the perpetrators,” said Vail Police Detective Dirk Etheridge. “We want to help businesses learn more about how they can protect their property, their customers and their employees.”

The seminar is being offered to educate merchants on how to protect themselves and their customers from being a target of a crime.

“Fraud by checks are pretty steady around this time of year,” said Vail police Detective Susan Douglas. “We notice it more in the spring when people are leaving the valley, and they start passing out bad checks, thinking they’re not going to get caught.”

It’s the first seminar comprising the Vail Police Department, the Avon Police Department and Eagle County Crime Stoppers to bring awareness to not only merchants but other people in the community, Douglas said. The first seminar will focus on protecting local busineses.

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“We hope to continue to do these seminars quarterly,” Douglas said. “We decided to focus on the business community first because we’re heading into that season where we see a lot of fraud and counterfeit money being tossed around.”

Merchants around this time of season might see counterfeit checks coming through, Douglas said, and public-safety officials cannot just pin it on certain individuals, such as international travelers or out-of-towners.

“We get a lot of $100 counterfeit money,” she said. “It’s not unusual in Vail to see $100 bills coming through because a lot of people use them to pay for things.”

The topics of the seminar are assigned to the different agencies, said Avon Police Chief Jeff Layman.

“We’ll have an Avon officer there talking about counterfeiting relating to new money,” Layman said. “But we’d like to see these seminars continue, hopefully bringing them to Avon.”

The Avon Police Department responded to a report on larceny during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The suspect had shoplifted at the Avon City Market, apparently taking the tags off a coat and walking out the door wearing it, said Krista Jaramillo, Avon police administrative assistant. City Market workers were able to recover the coat, and the suspect was issued a summons for larceny.

According to the 2002 Vail Police report, larcenies have decreased over the past five years.

There were 648 cases of larceny reported in 2002, which represents 15 percent of the department’s total 2002 case reports. Of the 648 larcenies reported, 102 involved the theft of skis and snowboards.

The report shows that the most commonly stolen skis by make are Salomon, Rossignol and K2. The most commonly stolen snowboards by make are Burton, Salomon and Rossignol.

Theft was the biggest problem the department faced, the report showed.

“The bigger problems were the theft of toys and skis,” Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger said this fall.

The next crime prevention seminar is expected to be in January, but a date hasn’t been set yet, Douglas said. The second seminar will be for residents, followed by a session addressing crime problems facing the Hispanic community.

“What these seminars will entail we don’t know yet,” Douglas said. “We’re brainstorming ideas about the next ones right now.”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.