How Checkpoint Labels Sealed The Fate of a Large Retail Theft Operation – Part 2
I’ve learned over the years that I will never stop shoplifting completely. I can deploy camera systems, invest in additional Checkpoint Security Systems, or even hire armed guards. Sometimes, that’s still not enough. In order to prevent a theft, and really combat the problem, you have to stop it at the source. Sometimes that’s training your store teams. Sometimes that’s making smart merchandising choices. Other times however, you may find yourself battling a professional group of individuals whose sole job in life is to steal from you. I am so grateful that I found a career field that allows me to aggressively go after these types of people.
I wasn’t prepared for how much work would go into this case. I’m used to closing a theft case pretty quickly. Most times, cases are simple. Someone comes in, rips an anti-shoplifting device off a product, conceals it, exits, and then goes to jail. I know, as well as anyone else in this industry, that stolen goods are often funneled somewhere. Just like a street level drug dealer doesn’t give up his supplier, a booster will keep where the goods are going a closely guarded secret. In both instances, that level of secrecy is what, in fact, keeps the money in their pocket.
At this point, it was several weeks since a joint investigation with a local police department had uncovered a store front dealing in stolen goods. On the outside, it was your typical corner market. Once inside though, it was clear to people like myself, what was really going on. There were cases of tide detergent, NFL jerseys, branded product… there was no way they were acquiring this legally. Some of these manufactures wouldn’t sell to my company, so I knew they couldn’t possibly have a purchase order with this tiny store.
As the weeks progressed, several retailers and their LP departments became involved in this case. The police department would request certain items and an undercover detective would sell the product to the store. We needed to make certain that the items appeared to have been stolen. Here’s where a simple Checkpoint Label made a huge impact in this case. We provided a certain type of branded cap to the undercover detective. That cap had an anti-shoplifting device attached to it, in addition to a Checkpoint Label with my company’s name and logo. Any normal person could assume that the merchandise, presented in the way it was, had to have been stolen from a merchant.
They took the bait. The store was more than happy to take the caps from the detective. The store clerk even told the detective to make sure that all the security tags were off the hats “next time”. It was a remarkable piece of evidence, all thanks to a very simple tag. A few more weeks went by and the store was eventually raided. The store and a warehouse belonging to the owners were found to contain about $250,000 in stolen goods from several different retailers. We did, in fact, make the front page the next morning!
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