WOODBURY - Nassau County has started a new pilot program to process suspects who are caught shoplifting.

If a person is caught stealing items less than $1,000, they are detained, processed at the scene and given an appearance ticket.

Suspected shoplifters will not be driven to the precinct. Nassau County police say the move will keep officers on patrol and reduce overtime costs.

The program is currently in place at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City and Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream.

Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter says shoplifters will still have to face a judge, just at a later time.

James Carver, president of the Nassau County PBA, however, says the program sends a bad message. He says the process of putting a person in handcuffs and having them seen by other potential thieves serves as a deterrent to crime.

"This is going to turn into a disappearance ticket and then you'll never see this perpetrator again," Carver told News 12.

Suffolk police say they have had a similar policy of ticketing shoplifters in place for decades.