Tis' the season to steal

December 23, 2011 - 4:20 AM

More than spirits are being lifted this holiday season.

Shoppers may be grabbing lots of things off shelves, but many are leaving stores without paying for them.

During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, an estimated $1.84 billion in merchandise will be shoplifted this year, according to The Global Retail Theft Barometer, a survey of retailers worldwide. That's up about 6 percent from $1.7 billion during the same period last year.

Some people always get sticky fingers during the holidays. After all, crowded stores and harried clerks make it easier to slip a sweater under a coat undetected. But higher joblessness and falling wages have contributed to an even bigger rise this year.