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So earlier this week, we posted an item about someone’s creative way of stealing beer at Wal-Mart. It turns out that, coincidentally, it’s really part of a bigger national trend.A recent survey says that “shrink” in 2008 increased for the first time in six years, with total losses hitting $36.5 billion. A total of 1.52% of all retail inventory was stolen last year, up from 1.44% in 2007.And the numbers this year could be worse so far. “These are preliminary numbers from 2008 and do not reflect shoplifting and retail theft rates from the first part of 2009, when the recession was considered by many to be at its deepest,” says a University of Florida criminologist.It makes sense that the recession would increase shoplifting, and crime in general. We’d be curious to see if, like in overall sales, there is an increase in the theft of groceries and other necessity items as opposed to luxury goods like fur coats and jewelry.

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