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Police conducted an operation in the Washington Square Mall area that recovered $8,000 in stolen merchandise.

COURTESY PHOTO: TIGARD POLICE DEPARTMENT - Tigard police recently recovered a variety of items used by shoplifters to steal items around the Washington Square Mall area.Tigard police recently conducted a large shoplifting blitz at stores throughout the Washington Square mall area, in which they ended up arresting 13 individuals and recovered several thousands of dollars in merchandise in the process.

Police said after the Nov. 2 arrests that shoplifters — some of them organized and working together to steal store merchandise — are "brazen" and getting "more aggressive" in Tigard.

Kelsey Anderson, a spokesperson for the Tigard Police Department, said like many jurisdictions along or just off Interstate 5, Tigard sees organized retail theft groups that work certain areas.

"However, the issue of shoplifting (and stores getting hit over and over and over) is something we see in retail establishments all over the city. People are brazen," she said. "They come prepared to steal by bringing certain tools, bags and other devices, and they are getting more aggressive. We see it all the time, not just for the holiday season."

At Washington Square, Tigard police partnered with stores to conduct the blitz.

"Through the blitz, police officers and detectives teamed up with loss prevention employees to saturate a specific area," the Tigard Police Department said in a statement about the arrests. "In real time, they watch for people who are shoplifting or engaging in other criminal activity and work together to make arrests. The goal is to show criminals that police take proactive measures to stop them."

The blitz resulted in police recovering at least $8,000 in merchandise and 80 blue M30 pills, which they believe contain fentanyl, the Tigard Police Department said.

All but one of the 13 suspects arrested is facing at least one charge of theft. Other charges against suspects include possession of burglary tools, identity theft and giving false information to police.

Two of the 12 theft suspects are minors, police said.

Also, a replica of a handgun was recovered.

This is the second shoplifting blitz by Tigard police this year.

On Aug. 4, the department's commercial crimes unit joined with loss prevention employees at the Pacific Highway Fred Meyer to focus on individuals shoplifting. Two were arrested and three were given warnings, at that time.

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