If you read part one of this two-part blog series, you know that shoplifters are as varied in appearance as the contents of a cornucopia (even more-so). You are also familiar with the story of the pregnant woman who stole the shoes from the store after asking for help from a store employee. This second part of this brief blog series is to finish telling the story by dissecting it and analyzing a couple of the behaviors that this woman displayed that allowed us to catch her in the act and to prevent shoplifting once again.
The first suspicious behavior that caught my eye was her quickness. I don’t mean that because she was walking quickly that I knew she would steal. What I mean is that when she decided to start “shopping” she acted far from the normal shopper. Normal shoppers take their time when looking at merchandise. They pick up items, examine them carefully, usually look at their price and maybe size, and if they meet that person’s particular criteria, they will select the item. The pregnant woman walked up to the shoe box, pulled it off of the shelf, and moved right along. This was highly suspicious.
Secondly, the pregnant woman started looking in all directions but down. Next time you see people shopping in a store, pay attention to where their eyes and heads are. They are faced toward the merchandise they are trying to buy! People shopping don’t gaze over their shoulders or at the ceiling. When people do this, they are typically looking out for people and surveillance cameras. This was another bright red flag that something wasn’t right and that we were going to have to prevent shoplifting that night.
She went into a dark, secluded corner. Shoplifters don’t want to be seen committing the act—it means they are likely to get caught. Being in a dark, secluded corner is the perfect place to slip merchandise into a shopping bag, purse, waistline, baby stroller, or shopping cart! Normal shoppers browse the merchandise where it is displayed. They have no need to take the item away from where it is supposed to be, unless they are heading to a register. When you combine this behavior with the previous two, your odds that the subject is thinking about shoplifting are extremely high.
The next part isn’t always typical for a shoplifter. Many times, they will avoid any contact with employees, especially if the shoplifter is an amateur. The pregnant woman went to ask an employee a question. What people say to store employees can be considered verbal behaviors that should be carefully considered. For example, a customer asking for a fitting room with clothing in hand seems to be legitimate. However, when the customer says something like this woman did, (“Where is the register closest to an exit? Don’t worry, I’m pregnant. It’s not like I would steal or anything…”), it should be blatantly obvious that something isn’t right. Normal customers don’t even think about shoplifting. What’s more, it is obvious that the shoplifter was trying to mask her intentions with a blatant lie.
At this point, it should be painfully clear that this individual is not in the store to be a paying customer. They are there to take what they can without paying, and to not get caught. Remember, thieves come in all shapes, sizes, and gestational status. Train your employees to look out for strange behaviors, and to address them appropriately.
For more information contact us: Prevent Shoplifting or call 1.770.426.0547