My Favorite Cases When I Would Stop Shoplifting – Part 1


Stop Shoplifting – 3                                                                                                  WC Blog 825
Sensormatic Security System – 3
My Favorite Cases When I Would Stop Shoplifting – Part 1

   I focus a significant amount of my writing on my efforts to stop shoplifting. Having engaged in Retail Loss Prevention for about 17 years both as a Loss Prevention Officer and a Loss Prevention Manager you accumulate shoplifting stories. Some are funny, some are scary, some are bizarre and in some cases they are sad. When Loss Prevention professionals say there is no stereotypical shoplifter they are correct. In some cases shoplifters attempt to avoid merchandise that will set off a Sensormatic security system. Others don’t know enough to understand what they are attempting to steal will activate a system alarm. And well, sometimes the shoplifter is too drunk or drugged to know or care anyways. As I was thinking back on some of MY personal favorite shoplifting cases I had my own Top 10 list I thought I would share but not necessarily in any particular order.
1. My very first shoplifter! It was special for two reasons. This gentleman went into a high-end clothing department, selected a very expensive suede jacket and went around a pillar and stuffed it into a shopping bag. It was so quick I had to rewind the VCR and review the video…yes, VCR. Sure enough it went in the bag. Our office was on the second floor of the store so I had to rush down the stairs and catch up to him. As he was walking out our alarm tower, very similar to a Sensormatic security system, sounded. I identified myself and the suspect fled. I contacted our operator and she in turn called the police for me. I chased the suspect to an apartment building and the police arrived and got him out, it wasn’t even his apartment! The jacket was recovered and the suspect went to jail. Later I learned from my father that he was a co-worker of my dad and they were supposed to be on a lunchbreak during a mental health counseling services conference at a nearby hotel. My shoplifter never came back from lunch. My dad and the rest of the group did not know why he did not return, I was happy to fill in the pieces. Someone needed his OWN counseling service after that I am certain.
2. Near the top of my list of favorite shoplifting cases was a couple who were shoplifting clothing together. Not all of our merchandise was protected with clothing security devices to stop shoplifting. In this case the pair were stealing garments that were not protected. I followed them through the store on foot while my supervisor took over cameras. When it appeared the couple was ready to head for an exit I stopped them in the vestibule between the sets of exit doors. The guy ran out but the girl with him who had the merchandise ran back into the store. I locked the outer doors with my key and then walked back in the building. The girl still had the merchandise but did not see me and tried to exit the same doors again to meet with her partner. As she entered the vestibule the second time I locked the inside set of doors. She was trapped. The young man pounded on the outside doors demanding that I let her out. Chivalry died when he heard the sirens of approaching police cars and he fled. I can still picture the anger of this shoplifter as she paced inside the vestibule threatening me if I didn’t let her go. 
3. You’ve heard of a fleeing felon? This favorite of mine, although not so much at the time involved a peeing felon. Our store had a big theft problem with Pokemon cards. The box sets were tagged so that a Sensormatic security system or other anti-theft system could detect if a shoplifter was trying to exit with stolen merchandise. Unfortunately individual packs were iffy since they had foil packaging. There was also the problem of thieves opening packages and just taking the cards they wanted. In this case a young boy perhaps 5 or 6 years old was in the process of opening a package near the back of the store. I walked up on him from behind, asked somewhat loudly what he was doing and startled him. He appeared frozen and then I heard the sound of liquid spilling on the floor. Yes, I scared him that much. I recovered the cards, took him to the front of the store and paged his mother. I think justice was served and released him to her custody.
In Part 2 we will continue this trip down memory lane as I relate some of my most beloved stories from when I worked to stop shoplifting and make our stores more profitable.
Get more information on a Sensormatic security system, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today.

I focus a significant amount of my writing on my efforts to stop shoplifting. Having engaged in Retail Loss Prevention for about 17 years both as a Loss Prevention Officer and a Loss Prevention Manager you accumulate shoplifting stories. Some are funny, some are scary, some are bizarre and in some cases they are sad. When Loss Prevention professionals say there is no stereotypical shoplifter they are correct. In some cases shoplifters attempt to avoid merchandise that will set off a Sensormatic security system. Others don’t know enough to understand what they are attempting to steal will activate a system alarm. And well, sometimes the shoplifter is too drunk or drugged to know or care anyways. As I was thinking back on some of MY personal favorite shoplifting cases I had my own Top 10 list I thought I would share but not necessarily in any particular order.

 

1. My very first shoplifter! It was special for two reasons. This gentleman went into a high-end clothing department, selected a very expensive suede jacket and went around a pillar and stuffed it into a shopping bag. It was so quick I had to rewind the VCR and review the video…yes, VCR. Sure enough it went in the bag. Our office was on the second floor of the store so I had to rush down the stairs and catch up to him. As he was walking out our alarm tower, very similar to a Sensormatic security system, sounded. I identified myself and the suspect fled. I contacted our operator and she in turn called the police for me. I chased the suspect to an apartment building and the police arrived and got him out, it wasn’t even his apartment! The jacket was recovered and the suspect went to jail. Later I learned from my father that he was a co-worker of my dad and they were supposed to be on a lunchbreak during a mental health counseling services conference at a nearby hotel. My shoplifter never came back from lunch. My dad and the rest of the group did not know why he did not return, I was happy to fill in the pieces. Someone needed his OWN counseling service after that I am certain.

 

2. Near the top of my list of favorite shoplifting cases was a couple who were shoplifting clothing together. Not all of our merchandise was protected with clothing security devices to stop shoplifting. In this case the pair were stealing garments that were not protected. I followed them through the store on foot while my supervisor took over cameras. When it appeared the couple was ready to head for an exit I stopped them in the vestibule between the sets of exit doors. The guy ran out but the girl with him who had the merchandise ran back into the store. I locked the outer doors with my key and then walked back in the building. The girl still had the merchandise but did not see me and tried to exit the same doors again to meet with her partner. As she entered the vestibule the second time I locked the inside set of doors. She was trapped. The young man pounded on the outside doors demanding that I let her out. Chivalry died when he heard the sirens of approaching police cars and he fled. I can still picture the anger of this shoplifter as she paced inside the vestibule threatening me if I didn’t let her go. 

 

3. You’ve heard of a fleeing felon? This favorite of mine, although not so much at the time involved a peeing felon. Our store had a big theft problem with Pokemon cards. The box sets were tagged so that a Sensormatic security system or other anti-theft system could detect if a shoplifter was trying to exit with stolen merchandise. Unfortunately individual packs were iffy since they had foil packaging. There was also the problem of thieves opening packages and just taking the cards they wanted. In this case a young boy perhaps 5 or 6 years old was in the process of opening a package near the back of the store. I walked up on him from behind, asked somewhat loudly what he was doing and startled him. He appeared frozen and then I heard the sound of liquid spilling on the floor. Yes, I scared him that much. I recovered the cards, took him to the front of the store and paged his mother. I think justice was served and released him to her custody.

 

In Part 2 we will continue this trip down memory lane as I relate some of my most beloved stories from when I worked to stop shoplifting and make our stores more profitable.

 

Get more information on a Sensormatic security system, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today.

 

Not All Training To Stop Shoplifting Is Equal

Stop Shoplifting –   5                                                                                                                   WC Blog 795
Manager Training to Stop Shoplifting – 3

Not All Training To Stop Shoplifting Is Equal

     Is your training for your managers on how to stop shoplifting adequate? How can you even know if it is working as you intended it to work? The thought came to me after an incident took place today at the library where I work. Our department goes through fire training at least once every two years with our campus Assistant Fire Marshall. We learn about the different types of fires we could encounter and when and how to use fire extinguishers on them. We learn how to look for the appropriate markings on the label of the fire extinguisher so we know if it can be used for a specific type of fire. But short of having an actual fire do you really know if you are prepared for it? There’s nothing like a real-life incident to give you an idea if your training was adequate. The same can be said for training to stop theft.  No, I am not advocating that you send your managers out looking for a shoplifter to detain to see if they have absorbed whatever training they have been provided. 

     If the manager training to stop shoplifting is done well your management team will recall the information when they need to use it. Preferably, it will come as second nature and become an automatic reflex. Take for instance a scenario in which one of your managers sees someone filling a backpack with merchandise. What is the reaction going to be? Do they know how to approach the person filling the bag and what should and should not be said? Are your managers going to make an accusation that can get the store in trouble? Will your managers try to act like a Security Officer and follow the suspect though the store until they get to an exit door and then jump in front and try to detain them? All sorts of bad images come to my mind as I picture people with inadequate training trying to stop shoplifting and not having the skills they need.

     You may laugh at the scenarios but I have seen managers attempt to play Loss Prevention and it was not pretty. They have almost gotten themselves hurt and in a couple of situations nearly contributed to me being injured. In these cases the managers had good intentions but instead of listening to my direction as Loss Prevention Manager they reacted out of emotion. One of the first things we teach new Loss Prevention Associates is NOT to take things personally and that if a situation gets out of hand to disengage. Do YOU teach this in your manager training to Stop Shoplifting? 

     People are going to react to high-intensity situations differently but one thing that has got to become second nature is not allowing emotion to dictate how a situation is handled. Panic, fear, anxiety, even excitement are all emotions that are experienced when we observe someone we believe is in the act of stealing. Proper training will teach managers how to control those emotions, approach the individual and address the situation without getting into an argument or making accusations. The feelings will still be there but they will be kept under control.

     So what does all of this have to do with my fire training in a library? The other day a student employee reported to me that two patrons had reported that smoke was coming from a power outlet in a study room. A co-worker and I went to the room to investigate and there was smoke as was reported. I directed my co-worker to call our campus emergency number and I had the students leave the room. I located a fire extinguisher outside the room and checked to be sure it could be used on an electrical fire (as our training had taught us). I pulled the pin on the extinguisher and waited by the outlet since there was no fire and my co-worker waited for fire officials to arrive. There was no immediate threat of flames so I made the decision not to pull a fire alarm. The fire Marshall and an assistant arrived, took over and said we had done everything properly. No, I am not a fire official but I had good training and was able to put it to use.

     Training from someone with experience in a particular field who knows how to address situations is always going to be rewarded with better results than training from a book or someone who has not worked in a job or task. Manager training to stop shoplifting is important and can keep your staff safe and greatly limit the potential of making bad stops or making false accusations. Do your managers a favor and get them the right training from the right people.
For more information about manager training to stop shoplifting contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 

Is your training for your managers on how to stop shoplifting adequate? How can you even know if it is working as you intended it to work? The thought came to me after an incident took place today at the library where I work. Our department goes through fire training at least once every two years with our campus Assistant Fire Marshall. We learn about the different types of fires we could encounter and when and how to use fire extinguishers on them. We learn how to look for the appropriate markings on the label of the fire extinguisher so we know if it can be used for a specific type of fire. But short of having an actual fire do you really know if you are prepared for it? There’s nothing like a real-life incident to give you an idea if your training was adequate. The same can be said for training to stop theft.  No, I am not advocating that you send your managers out looking for a shoplifter to detain to see if they have absorbed whatever training they have been provided. 
     

If the manager training to stop shoplifting is done well your management team will recall the information when they need to use it. Preferably, it will come as second nature and become an automatic reflex. Take for instance a scenario in which one of your managers sees someone filling a backpack with merchandise. What is the reaction going to be? Do they know how to approach the person filling the bag and what should and should not be said? Are your managers going to make an accusation that can get the store in trouble? Will your managers try to act like a Security Officer and follow the suspect though the store until they get to an exit door and then jump in front and try to detain them? All sorts of bad images come to my mind as I picture people with inadequate training trying to stop shoplifting and not having the skills they need.
     

You may laugh at the scenarios but I have seen managers attempt to play Loss Prevention and it was not pretty. They have almost gotten themselves hurt and in a couple of situations nearly contributed to me being injured. In these cases the managers had good intentions but instead of listening to my direction as Loss Prevention Manager they reacted out of emotion. One of the first things we teach new Loss Prevention Associates is NOT to take things personally and that if a situation gets out of hand to disengage. Do YOU teach this in your manager training to Stop Shoplifting
     

People are going to react to high-intensity situations differently but one thing that has got to become second nature is not allowing emotion to dictate how a situation is handled. Panic, fear, anxiety, even excitement are all emotions that are experienced when we observe someone we believe is in the act of stealing. Proper training will teach managers how to control those emotions, approach the individual and address the situation without getting into an argument or making accusations. The feelings will still be there but they will be kept under control.
     

So what does all of this have to do with my fire training in a library? The other day a student employee reported to me that two patrons had reported that smoke was coming from a power outlet in a study room. A co-worker and I went to the room to investigate and there was smoke as was reported. I directed my co-worker to call our campus emergency number and I had the students leave the room. I located a fire extinguisher outside the room and checked to be sure it could be used on an electrical fire (as our training had taught us). I pulled the pin on the extinguisher and waited by the outlet since there was no fire and my co-worker waited for fire officials to arrive. There was no immediate threat of flames so I made the decision not to pull a fire alarm. The fire Marshall and an assistant arrived, took over and said we had done everything properly. No, I am not a fire official but I had good training and was able to put it to use.
     

Training from someone with experience in a particular field who knows how to address situations is always going to be rewarded with better results than training from a book or someone who has not worked in a job or task. Manager training to stop shoplifting is important and can keep your staff safe and greatly limit the potential of making bad stops or making false accusations. Do your managers a favor and get them the right training from the right people.

 

For more information about manager training to stop shoplifting contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 

 

Security And Storage Space Solutions With Sensormatic Safers


Sensormatic Safers – 4                                                                                                         WC Blog 819
Retail Anti-Theft Devices – 3

Security And Storage Space Solutions With Sensormatic Safers

     Sometimes I wonder why big retail stores make some of the merchandise protection decisions they do when they could use a Sensormatic Safer and just be done with the waffling. A perfect example of this is observed in a national retail chain with which I am very familiar. This company sells jump drives (thumb drives for some of you) and they used to protect all of them with electronic article surveillance retail anti-theft devices. Not long ago, they started changing up their strategy and had some of the lower price point jump drives displayed on peghooks with no protection. To a certain extent I understand the move. Is it worthwhile to protect everything? Are payroll dollars being wasted tagging/protecting merchandise that is not being stolen? It seems that it must be worthwhile in hindsight because now all jump drives are protected again regardless of the price point. Maybe I am a bit critical but there are a couple of points that jump out at me with the current strategy.

     First, the company could have gone with the Sensormatic Safers for all of the merchandise in this category and it would have avoided the confusion of whether to protect or not. The current retail anti-theft devices in use are bulky and greatly reduce the amount of merchandise that can be displayed on a peghook. That means store personnel have to replenish this merchandise from stockrooms much more frequently than if more was on the floor in the first place (maybe I should tell Sensormatic that could be the logo for their Safers, “More on the Floor”, but I digress). The problem that goes hand in hand with a limited amount of stock and the need for more frequent replenishment is that someone has to stay on top of empty peghooks and shelf spaces. Failing to have a manager monitor this means you are relying on store personnel to take the initiative to check to see if there is more in stock. If there is more in stock then the merchandise has to be pulled from the stockroom and filled and that means more reliance on employee initiative. That is not always the best method of filling a floor.

         Second, unlike some retail anti-theft devices, Flexible Safers are not unwieldy to use. I have employed many different styles of electronic article surveillance protection tags and labels. Some can be a bit difficult to apply to merchandise. Some have latches that can occasionally get stuck and are then terribly stiff to open. Trying to fight with them to put merchandise inside or worse open them at the register to get the merchandise out for a customer to buy is annoying. Sensormatic Safers are easy to use and still provide the electronic article surveillance protection that other protective containers offer. 

     An advantage of using Safers over the bulkier security devices is that that they require less room to store. I know how much space can be taken up when an adequate supply of security boxes is on hand. Now if you own a building with an immense stockroom with space to spare then this is not a concern for you. If on the other hand you are like many small and even medium size retail store owners space is a premium. You might even share an employee breakroom with part of your stockroom. Owning a small store means it is more important to fit as much merchandise as possible on the salesfloor. Use the wrong security devices and you could be forcing merchandise to the backroom than is necessary. Stockroom space filled with protection boxes and merchandise that would not otherwise have to be in the back is a waste of space and productivity.

     You can decide if you need to protect all of the products your store carries. It may or may not be necessary. What is important is that you use Sensormatic Safers and tags for the best electronic article surveillance protection available. From detection range to space management the value of Sensormatic systems has a positive impact on nearly every aspect of your store operation.

Sensormatic Safers are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.866.914.2567and let’s talk.
     

     

Sometimes I wonder why big retail stores make some of the merchandise protection decisions they do when they could use a Sensormatic Safer and just be done with the waffling. A perfect example of this is observed in a national retail chain with which I am very familiar. This company sells jump drives (thumb drives for some of you) and they used to protect all of them with electronic article surveillance retail anti-theft devices. Not long ago, they started changing up their strategy and had some of the lower price point jump drives displayed on peghooks with no protection. To a certain extent I understand the move. Is it worthwhile to protect everything? Are payroll dollars being wasted tagging/protecting merchandise that is not being stolen? It seems that it must be worthwhile in hindsight because now all jump drives are protected again regardless of the price point. Maybe I am a bit critical but there are a couple of points that jump out at me with the current strategy.
     

First, the company could have gone with the Sensormatic Safers for all of the merchandise in this category and it would have avoided the confusion of whether to protect or not. The current retail anti-theft devices in use are bulky and greatly reduce the amount of merchandise that can be displayed on a peghook. That means store personnel have to replenish this merchandise from stockrooms much more frequently than if more was on the floor in the first place (maybe I should tell Sensormatic that could be the logo for their Safers, “More on the Floor”, but I digress). The problem that goes hand in hand with a limited amount of stock and the need for more frequent replenishment is that someone has to stay on top of empty peghooks and shelf spaces. Failing to have a manager monitor this means you are relying on store personnel to take the initiative to check to see if there is more in stock. If there is more in stock then the merchandise has to be pulled from the stockroom and filled and that means more reliance on employee initiative. That is not always the best method of filling a floor.
         

Second, unlike some retail anti-theft devices, Flexible Safers are not unwieldy to use. I have employed many different styles of electronic article surveillance protection tags and labels. Some can be a bit difficult to apply to merchandise. Some have latches that can occasionally get stuck and are then terribly stiff to open. Trying to fight with them to put merchandise inside or worse open them at the register to get the merchandise out for a customer to buy is annoying. Sensormatic Safers are easy to use and still provide the electronic article surveillance protection that other protective containers offer. 
     

An advantage of using Safers over the bulkier security devices is that that they require less room to store. I know how much space can be taken up when an adequate supply of security boxes is on hand. Now if you own a building with an immense stockroom with space to spare then this is not a concern for you. If on the other hand you are like many small and even medium size retail store owners space is a premium. You might even share an employee breakroom with part of your stockroom. Owning a small store means it is more important to fit as much merchandise as possible on the salesfloor. Use the wrong security devices and you could be forcing merchandise to the backroom than is necessary. Stockroom space filled with protection boxes and merchandise that would not otherwise have to be in the back is a waste of space and productivity.
     

You can decide if you need to protect all of the products your store carries. It may or may not be necessary. What is important is that you use Sensormatic Safers and tags for the best electronic article surveillance protection available. From detection range to space management the value of Sensormatic systems has a positive impact on nearly every aspect of your store operation.

 

Sensormatic Safers are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.866.914.2567and let’s talk.