CAMPBELL, Calif. (KGO) -- The busy holiday shopping season is upon us.
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It should be a great time for small business owners but some say shoplifting is a real problem. It's hurting their bottom line and honestly, their feelings.
The owner of Bombshell Boutique in Campbell, Brooke Ramirez, said she's been encountering professional thieves.
One woman seemed like a regular customer and practically befriended her but it turned out she was stealing all along. Ramirez followed her out of the store one day and got a picture of her license plate. She said Campbell Police told her the woman was a known shoplifter in the area.
The owners of Redemption in Campbell were so fed up with thieves, they installed an elaborate system of cameras in their store.
Now when they catch someone stealing on video-they post the person's photo on Instagram.
There's also a Facebook page dedicated to catching shoplifters. It's called Downtown Campbell Crime Awareness.
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, a retail employee (at an undisclosed shop) was so discouraged by thieves-she posted the following rant on Claycord.com:
"I work at a local retail store and just wanted to let you know how bad theft has gotten and will get until Christmas is over.
We now check receipts at the door because people are trying to sneak out with our merchandise. Most of the time that doesn't even work. It seems like at least five times a day or more we have people darting out the front door with expensive items.
We are told not to confront them and even security is told to stand down. What's the point of having security?
Today a man had a full cart full of items and just ran out the back door, setting off the alarm in the process. There was a car waiting in the back for him.
People know nothing will happen to them so they just run out. I have worked here for several years and it's never been as bad as it's gotten these past few years. I have been threatened several times by the thieves and 90% of the time we don't even call the police when someone steals something.
I hate the fact that our lawmakers are putting the publics' safety at risk by making these only minor crimes. I use to love my job but now it's left me on edge all day thanks to our useless lawmakers who think people shouldn't be punished for the crimes they commit."
Back in Campbell, Ramirez said one thing people can do to help is to support their local small businesses.
Bay Area business owners say shoplifting is a scourge especially near holidays