SAN DIEGO - A local company made an announcement Monday that could help foil thieves across the country and in San Diego County. The invention takes aim at an easy-to-make item that is helping thieves get past high-tech security measures.
In November 2012, a group of five shoplifters hit three stores in the Fashion Valley Mall, stealing thousands of dollars in clothing and other items before undercover officers catch up to them.
It was the third time the men hit the mall and they were using a unique tool at their disposal: a "booster bag," which is a foil-lined bag that can act as a shield, blocking signals and making those anti-theft electronic tags undetectable.
Booster bags are becoming more popular with thieves, who can camouflage them as eco-friendly shopping bags.
Enter Joe Budano and San Diego-based Indyme, which is best known for customer service buttons like those seen at Target.
Indyme just partnered up with a Danish company to create a system designed to take down booster bags.
An antenna embedded in the gate can detect disturbances in the magnetic field. So when someone walks by with something like a foil-lined bag, security can be alerted.
"We allow those security personnel to apprehend those people before they exit the store," said Budano the CEO of Indyme.
Budano believes the product will impact shoppers in the bottom line by stopping thieves.
"When retailers have losses, they're going to pass that down to customers in the form of higher prices," said Budano.
Shoplifting accounts for between $15 billion and $30 billion in losses across the country every year. The losses involving booster bags are not known.