Home News Pickaway County Cracks Down on Retail Theft with Innovative Signage Campaign

Pickaway County Cracks Down on Retail Theft with Innovative Signage Campaign


Circleville, Ohio – February 6, 2024 – In an effort to deter shoplifting and protect local businesses, Pickaway County Sheriff Matthew Hafey and Circleville Municipal Court Judge Elisa Peters have launched a unique initiative. Life-sized cutouts of both officials now greet shoppers at the entrances of Rural King with plans for possible Walmart, the two businesses hit hardest by retail theft in the area.

Standing between the cutouts is a stern message: committing theft carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. This visible reminder aims to discourage potential offenders before they act.

Ink my logo was used to create the standees in order to keep business local

“Theft from local businesses directly impacts everyone,” Sheriff Hafey emphasized. “Increased shoplifting forces businesses to raise prices, affecting the cost of everyday goods. We hope these signs, combined with vigilant store security and swift law enforcement response, send a clear message: Pickaway County has zero tolerance for theft.”

Judge Peters echoed the sentiment, highlighting the deterrent effect of the signage. “Theft offenses are out of control, and these signs serve as a stark reminder that it’s a serious crime with harsh consequences. Ignoring this warning and stealing anyway shows blatant disregard for the law.”

The initiative takes a two-pronged approach. While deterring first-time offenders is crucial, the program also recognizes the need for rehabilitation. In 2023, the Court implemented a Criminal Diversion Program for first-time offenders with no prior criminal record. This program offers education, community service, and probation-like terms. Successful completion leads to dismissed charges.

“We’re committed to working with first-time offenders who demonstrate remorse and a willingness to understand the impact of their actions,” Judge Peters explained. “However, repeat offenders and those from outside Pickaway County face a different reality. These signs are a loud and clear message: shoplifting in our county will not be tolerated.”

Sheriff Hafey emphasized that resources are available for those experiencing genuine hardship. The signs prominently display contact information for the Pickaway County Community Action Agency (PICCA) and the Sheriff’s Office, ensuring individuals know where to seek help.

“The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office is proud to partner with the Circleville Municipal Court on this innovative project,” Sheriff Hafey concluded. “We applaud Judge Peters for her leadership and believe this initiative will significantly reduce retail theft in our community.”

This collaborative effort between law enforcement and the judiciary demonstrates a proactive approach to tackling retail crime in Pickaway County. The initiative’s success will be measured by a decrease in shoplifting incidents and an increase in community awareness about the issue.