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LITTLE VALLEY -- Cattaraugus County Sheriff Ernest J. Dustman is offering shoplifters free rides in the department's patrol cars.

Dustman said he is initiating an anti-theft program by providing signs to any business that agrees to prosecute those who steal from stores.

The businesses can post red and white signs with the message: "Free rides in sheriff's car if you shoplift from this store."

"It is theft, plain and simple. It is illegal," Dustman said. "It is wrong, and we are paying for it."

Shoplifting is classified as a petit larceny if the value is under $1,000. The crime is punishable by a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both, Dustman said.

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