Gulfport PD Conduct Theft Experiment at Local Shopping Area
As part of Operation Good Samaritan, Gulfport Police placed a purse packed with money unattended in local public shopping areas. Of the 43 people who picked up the purse, only three committed theft by stealing the purse. The overwhelming majority, 40 out of 43, sought the owner or brought it to a nearby merchant so it could be recovered by its owner. The Gulfport Premium Outlets is one spot where the operation was conducted. Although outlet leaders weren’t aware that the operation was going on, they tell News 25 they’re not surprised by the positive outcome.
Rhonda Roberts, Marketing Director for the Gulfport Premium Outlets, says, “We really weren’t surprised. Being a shopping area, people lose things all the time and we have a lot of items turned in. Most people don’t think to go check lost and found, but there are a lot of honest people out there that turn in a lot of lost phones and purses and all kinds of items.”
Operation Good Samaritan was a two week long operation, targeting theft at retail establishments. Gulfport Police Chief, Leonard Papania, says he’s pleased with the outcome, calling it a "true measure of the character of our community."