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Monroe County Sheriff Discusses Efforts to Combat Retail Theft After Recent Arrests

Rochester, NY — Sheriff Todd Baxter spoke about recent retail theft incidents and the work of the county's Multi-Agency Retail Theft Task Force.

BACKGROUND: Driver charged after allegedly crashing into patrol vehicle

Two people were charged Friday in connection with a theft investigation on Jefferson Road in Henrietta. Julious Moss, 58, of Henrietta, was charged with petit larceny and released on an appearance ticket. Jennifer Rodriguez, 35, faces multiple charges, including criminal mischief, resisting arrest and inadvertent endangerment; accused of intentionally ramming a deputy's patrol car who was trying to stop her on Marketplace Drive. Rodriguez was remanded to the Monroe County Jail and held on $250 bond.

“For petty theft, I intentionally rammed his patrol car,” Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said of the incident. “By the grace of God he was not injured. He did a fantastic job. The other deputies who responded did a fantastic job and were able to apprehend all three and two of them were charged at this day.”

“It’s not abnormal anymore,” Baxter added.

The sheriff reflected on another recent investigation into a retail theft.

“I was patrolling the Chili Avenue area,” Baxter recalled. “We received a call about a theft in progress at a Target store. Ironically, I was just passing by and saw one of our marked vehicles in the area of ​​that plaza. I turned around and I decided to help… We were able to get updates as we went along. We had seven cars there, I mean that's how long they were there. to shop… Asset Protection let us know that these guys were in the store a week earlier stealing computers, which was an unreported theft, to make a long story short, we set up. a tactical operation so that when they came out, we made an apprehension and secured their vehicle in advance. We waited for them to come out, and as they came out, it was me and. the only suspect we were looking at about 10 feet apart I looked at him, “Shall we go left, shall we go right” I thought he was going to run like most people. if they committed grand larceny. I looked, and he was wearing flip-flops…you know, he's not even interested in running. to flee in case he was apprehended. It was just one of those big indicators of “man, we have a real problem on our hands…” Apprehension means nothing to them.

Baxter was frustrated by the incident, saying numerous arrests by the Monroe County Retail Theft Task Force led to the suspects' release on appearance tickets. According to Baxter, of those released on court tickets last year, about 38 percent failed to show up to court. Baxter added that this year, that number is closer to 50 percent.

“My job is public safety, law enforcement and it seems like there's no more teeth in the system, there's no more fear of being apprehended, there's no consequence of your criminal activity And it's even more frustrating for me and it must be frustrating for people. who work in stores to watch the shopping carts pass right by them.

“A lot of stores just don’t call,” Baxter said. “We've been seeing this for a very long time. These (thefts) are underreported at a number you wouldn't believe. I mean, people just aren't calling. People should be frustrated…The public should be asking a lot of questions right now when you have a marked patrol vehicle in front of a store and there's still a theft going on, it just shows you that the criminal element doesn't care.

Baxter further explained the burden placed on the Sheriff's Office for defendants who fail to appear in court.

“We're making hundreds of arrests. (We) have to have witnesses to these arrests. It's a burden on everyone, that's what I don't think people understand. They think that the ” “bail reform” is a burden on society as a whole. it's a burden on these stores, it's a burden on these people who have to go to their stores… They (the court) can issue a warrant for their arrest. Now we have to go get them again; we already had handcuffs once. I mean, people have no idea how serious this is. It's not just theft and petty theft, there's a whole system that is exploited here.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office Retail Theft Team, comprised of several other law enforcement agencies, continues to combat retail theft. So far in 2024, he has recovered more than $11,000 in stolen merchandise and made 72 arrests.

“We are asking for a few additional tools to keep the community safe,” Baxter said. “Millions of dollars are lost here in New York, right here in Monroe County. Millions.”

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