On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer plans to participate in National Store Walk Month with a visit to the Wegmans store located at 100 Applied Bank Blvd., Glen Mills, PA 19342.

National Store Walk Month is initiative of the National District Attorneys Association and the Retail Leaders Association to promote collaboration between retailers and prosecutors in the fight against organized retail crime and habitual theft. The DA will meet with Wade Hess, the Asset Protection Manager at Wegmans, who will describe the items that are at highest risk of theft, explain strategies and technology in the store to combat habitual theft, and discuss ways in which retailers can best collaborate with law enforcement.

“First and foremost, I want to assure retailers and residents that in Delaware County I will prosecute cases involving retail theft rings, individuals with repeat offenses, and any incident in which the stolen items are not returned at the time of arrest, to the full extent of the law. I firmly believe that individuals cannot and should not be allowed to steal with impunity and that perpetrators must feel the full consequences of their actions,” said District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.

“I also believe that even low-level retail thieves must be held accountable for their actions. For this reason, my office collaborated with the Chamber of Commerce, local retailers, and our partners in municipal law enforcement to launch in June of 2021, the Delaware County Misdemeanor Diversion program (DCMD). The program is offered to first time adult offenders or adult offenders with a very minimal criminal history and includes individuals charged with retail theft. Individuals accepted into the program, after approval from the arresting police agency, must complete a “shoplifters’ alternative course” through the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness about the harmful effects of shoplifting. They are also required to pay for the cost of the course, as well as certain administrative fees. If the individual fails to complete the requirements of the DCMD program, their case is returned to the Court of Common Please for prosecution.

Of those successfully completing the program, there has been a 6% recidivism rate.

In cases involving juvenile offenders, we have also improved and expanded the Youth Aid Panels, a diversion program designed to keep juveniles between the ages of 10-17 who have committed certain low-level offenses – including retail theft – out of the juvenile justice system. Youths can be referred to the program by municipal police departments and the case will be heard by a panel of trained community members. Among the tasks that can be assigned to the youth by the panel is the completion of classes that focus on the issue of shoplifting.

I believe these strengthened diversionary alternatives are important tools in our approach to retail theft. We take seriously our obligation to retailers and their customers, as well as our obligation to the entire community to ensure that they feel safe and secure in their everyday lives. No single approach is appropriate – but my team works every day to use all the tools available to us to find the right balance in each case,” said District Attorney Stollsteimer.

Contact: Margie McAboy, Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, 610-579-0429