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Penalties for shoplifters in Lexington get steeper

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- A state law gives cities the right to increase the penalties for repeat larceny offenders.

Lexington is using that statute to its advantage in a recent program that is targeting shoplifters who won’t let up.

Maj. Robby Rummage says several larcenies happen at retail stores and that police are getting aggressive in stopping them.

Rummage says many times shoplifters are repeat offenders with an extensive larceny record.

Back in June, the department started targeting repeat offenders. After a criminal’s fourth misdemeanor larceny conviction, each time they are caught moving forward, police can start charging them with felony habitual larceny. The felony charge carries harsher penalties, including possible jail time.

In the past six months since the launch of the program, Rummage says they’ve been able to charge 20 people with felony habitual larceny.

In recent years, other cities have decided to do the same thing -- including the City of High Point.