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Huggies heist sign of recession crime, experts say

A couple shoplifting $18 worth of diapers from a Spokane Safeway this weekend is what experts say is a sign of desperation crime caused by the current recession.

Shoplifting has increased by nearly 80 percent in Kootenai County, and in Spokane County authorities have seen an increase in property crimes that exceeds any numbers in the past 10 years.

An economic downturn leads to more people committing crimes to meet necessities, Richard Rosenfeld said last month. The professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is a national expert in crime trends.

On Saturday, the man started yelling “sorry” when a 28-year-old security guard stopped the two walking out of Safeway on Francis Avenue at North Monroe about 5:30 p.m. with Huggies in their cart, authorities said.

Then the man punched the security guard, leaving a mark on his cheek, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office press release.

The security guard grabbed the man’s shirt to stop his escape, but the shirt ripped off, said Sgt. Dave Reagan. He ran from the area.

Meanwhile, the woman continued to the car with the Huggies, Reagan said. After the security guard ordered her to stop, the woman got into the passenger side of a silver SUV and acted as though she’d wait for deputies. Instead, she slid into the driver’s seat and fled the area.

Police are trying to locate the couple.

The Washington plate on the vehicle was similar to 546YBG, Reagan said.

Anyone with information about the suspects is encouraged to call Crime Check at 456-2233.