Boot Scootin’ Larceny: DX Witnesses Thefts

Boot Barn with Fort Worth Officers
Boot Barn with Fort Worth Officers | Image by Kellen McGovern Jones/The Dallas Express

The Dallas Express witnessed a theft at Boot Barn in Alliance Town Center in Fort Worth while interviewing management about an attempted theft that occurred just moments earlier.

The attempted theft was purportedly committed by a pair of repeat offenders known to the store’s management. The would-be thieves were described as two black adult females in their 20s or 30s. According to store personnel, the women had come in before, sometimes with a third woman of a similar age, and successfully stole merchandise.

Police said that if the women were caught trying to steal again, the employees should call 911 immediately, store management told DX. As instructed, managers called officers to the location on April 14 when it became apparent to staff that the women were attempting to walk out with two pairs of caiman boots, collectively valued at $1,100. When the police arrived, they did not make an arrest, claiming they could not act unless they saw the theft in progress as well, management told DX.

The duo did not make off with the boots, however. Through a seeming maneuver of tactical wit, a manager convinced the women to surrender the boots by making them think the police were already outside. The manager who confronted the thieves told DX they verbally threatened her.

“We’ll meet you outside tonight in the parking lot,” the criminals allegedly said. The manager relayed this statement to police, but the officers did not view the comment as a threat, management told DX.

As management related this story to DX, a hue and cry was raised. Another group of thieves had walked out with another set of boots, a pair of black caimans valued at $600. The suspects were a trio of white men.

Staff said they had been suspicious of the men since they entered the store. They told DX that they suspected one man was keeping a lookout while another man put on the boots — leaving another pair of cheaper shoes behind — and a third man waited in a car in front of nearby Dick’s Sporting Goods as a getaway driver. Their suspicions were proven correct when the man walked out with the boots.

A second call was placed to the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) less than 10 minutes after the earlier thwarted theft. Despite the FWPD North Division being located one mile away, it took police 10-15 minutes to respond.

A manager said this was exceptional, adding, “On average, it takes [police] roughly two hours to respond.”

On this occasion, officers filed a report and took security footage.

As previously reported by DX, police response times have also been a serious issue in Dallas, where a longstanding police shortage has left the Dallas Police Department with only around 3,000 officers even though a City analysis advised 4,000 were necessary to maintain public safety and bring down police response times.

Store staff said they were caught in a tough spot when it comes to thefts, which they claimed have occurred about once or twice a day for the past two years. Store policy forbids staff from exercising force to stop or detain shoplifters. The majority of store staff and management at this location are female, and, as previously mentioned, the thieves are sometimes groups of men, and the police have been slow to respond.

The thefts on Sunday were not the most expensive in recent history at Boot Barns in North Texas. Last week, a couple was arrested in Wichita Falls for stealing $1,400 in merchandise from a Boot Barn, and another duo stole hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise from a location in Port Arthur.

Similarly, a warrant was recently issued for a man who grabbed several boots and other merchandise and rushed out the door at the Boot Barn in White Settlement. Previously, a thief used an ax to break in and steal all of the size 8.5 men’s boots at the same location, Alliance Boot Barn staff told DX.

Crime has been on the rise across DFW. Shoplifting in northern Dallas has surged, DX previously reported, and in a number of other places. This rise in crime follows a period when Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot maintained a non-prosecution policy for thefts valued at between $100 and $750. This caused the district attorney to be dubbed “Let-em-Go’ Creuzot” by his opponents, and eventually, he reversed course.

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