Eight arrested in ‘Operation Safe Shop’ crackdown on store crime

Deputies involved in Operation Safe Shop. Courtesy photo, SCV Sheriff's Station.

Acting on the success of similar crackdowns this past year, local sheriff’s deputies targeted the safety of Santa Clarita Valley stores when they put Operation Safe Shop into action Friday.

The specially assembled team of deputies from the SCV Sheriff’s Station focused the latest operation on stores at the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall.

Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, referred to the mall in a social media post Monday as “a prime location bustling with holiday shoppers.”

“Deputies and detectives, some uniformed and others in civilian attire, not only watched for shoplifters, but also kept a watchful eye for anyone suspicious in the parking areas surrounding the over 200 stores housed in the mall,” she said.

Shopping centers can sometimes be targets for criminal elements, she noted.

Detective Michelle O’Brien of the station’s Burglary Team, who also serves as the liaison for the SCV Sheriff’s Business Alliance, organized the special enforcement operation.

By the time the operation concluded at 10 p.m., seven individuals were arrested, ranging in age from 16 to 49 years old. 

The juvenile, 16, was detained for possession of metal knuckles and drinking in public. Two adults were arrested for probation violations. 

One adult was arrested on more than $200,000 in warrants. Other arrests included warrants, narcotics charges and vehicle code violations, such as driving recklessly.

“We want our community members to feel safe when they shop with their families, and we want our businesses to know we’re looking to provide a secure work environment, by detecting illegal activity,” Miller said.

The specialty team of deputies arrested 13 people for shoplifting in August.

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