How Checkpoint Labels Sealed the Fate of a Large Retail Theft Operation – Part 1
It was another Monday morning. I get into the store and begin my week by running a couple of reports from over the weekend. As the district LP manager, I was responsible for quite a few stores. I was looking specifically for refund fraud. This scheme involves a shoplifter stealing from one location, then bringing that merchandise to a sister store down the road for a refund. The store would issue a gift card if no receipt was present. This was a lucrative fraud scheme. If I could prove the merchandise was stolen with video evidence, I could cancel the gift card. I figure, if I can stop shoplifting as it happens, I’ll at least recoup some of the store funds from those ill-gotten gift cards.
It didn’t take long before I found a case. I was able to find video of the theft, so I contacted a detective I knew. She was my go to for these cases. Since we took a photo copy of a driver’s license, we knew our suspect and they were very easy to close. A few days went by and we met up and I provided her with the case details. This particular case was a guy who was able to remove the anti-shoplifting devices from several pairs of high end ski gloves. He returned those gloves at another store down the road after stealing them from the first location. With an ID in hand, a warrant was issued a few days later and my detective friend was able to make an arrest a few days later. Here’s where things snowballed.
It quickly became evident that this was a much bigger case than I could have ever expected. A search of this guy’s house and car revealed about 20 return receipts from my store over the last few weeks, in addition to a device used to remove the Checkpoint Security Tags we used on those high end ski gloves. The detective stated that she was going to interview the guy prior to him being released to see what details he would offer into his actions. Maybe even implicate someone else.
What we learned was stunning. This guy had several shoplifting convictions and a rap sheet half a mile long. He was willing to talk in exchange for some leniency. The DA agreed and he told us of his fence. A fence is a name given to a person, or business that is a front for stolen goods. It could be an EBay seller, or a brick and mortar store front. Our suspect told us he was selling the gift cards, in addition to stolen goods to this fence. He told us it was a convenience store on the outskirts of the city limits. Once this information was gathered it was clear what had to be done. If we were going to stop shoplifting in our store, we had to take out the fence. A plan, over the next few weeks, was developed. My stores would assist the local police in shutting down a major retail theft operation. Front page news here we come!
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