It was finally spring time and I couldn’t be happier. The long, cold winter was finally behind us and baseball season was right around the corner. It was a transition time for the stores, as they worked to move the post-holiday goods out and began to fill with all the new baseball items for the season. It wasn’t long before we were receiving high end bats and gloves, and well, pretty much anything else you could ever need to make your game a winner. It also presented a unique challenge to prevent shoplifting in this category.
As the Loss Prevention manager for my store, I often conduct audits on the store’s point of sale system to ensure we don’t have a dishonest employee and to also look for indicators of external theft. A few refunds for the week caught my attention. There were several refunds for a four hundred dollar baseball glove. I knew we hadn’t sold that many, so I needed to look a little further. I pulled the videos of the refund transactions and saw that the same person had conducted the refund each time. Furthermore, during each refund, the Alpha 3 Alarm tag, meant to prevent shoplifting, was still attached to the glove.
I went to the glove display area to check the inventory counts. To my surprise, I wasn’t missing a single glove. In fact, I was over on the book inventory by the same number of refunds. I really couldn’t figure it out. How could I be over on the books when I was certain that this individual had stolen the mitts that were refunded? It would be a no-brainer to me now, but back then, I was relatively new to the Loss Prevention world, so I had to fumble my way through this one.
I started investigating, but I was perplexed by the Alpha Security Tag that was still on the product. I looked at the alarm record that the door greeter keeps and didn’t see a log entry for an alarm activation during the time period before the refund. If the subject came into the store with the glove, it surely would’ve activated the Nano Gate. I had to dig a little further. I went backwards on the CCTV system and found when the subject entered the store. I was shocked when I saw that she had entered the store with nothing in her hands. I followed her through the store and saw that she had went to the baseball aisle, selected the glove and simply brought it to the return desk.
I looked at every other time a glove was returned for the week and the MO matched every single time. I was not happy with the store team. How could they process a refund with a security device still attached to the product? How could the same cashier do this for the same person multiple times in one week and not get a manager involved? It brought to light some training opportunities in the store that were quickly addressed. We also were able to implement several refund polices that were aimed at eliminating this type of activity. It just goes to show that even with the most sophisticated security systems in place, there is no substitute for a well trained and alert store employee.
For more information, contact us: Prevent Shoplifting, or call 1.770.426.0547