Just Breathe…and Communicate – Stop Shoplifting
For those of us who work in retail and loss prevention, we unfortunately have to deal with shoplifters in our stores on a regular basis. When you stop shoplifting suspects, sometimes it’s easy to let your nerves and adrenaline get the best of you in these situations. You don’t want to let the shoplifter know that you are nervous, so the best thing to do is be calm and keep your mind on what you are trying to accomplish. You also want to be able to make sure they don’t become agitated, so it’s important to keep the line of communication open throughout the process and give the shoplifters straight forward direction.
I remember a time that I was standing in one of the music CD aisles, watching someone at a distance in the electronics department. The next thing I know, a guy walks right next to me and picked up several of the exact same CD and placed it into a shopping cart. This was earlier in my career, so needless to say, my adrenaline was through the roof at that point. Many things were going through my head at the moment and I was thinking how lucky I was to have seen that happen right in front of me. I also knew that I now had to be extra careful because the shoplifter has now seen me, so I can’t let him see me again or he will become suspicious. The CDs at the time had large plastic anti-shoplifting devices on them, and I also noticed that he had a backpack in his shopping cart.
I stayed calm, took a breath and walked away to watch him from a distance. He continued picking up CDs and placed them into the shopping cart. Then he went into a different department where he started looking around and popped the anti-shoplifting cases off the CDs with a screwdriver. Naturally, his next move was to put the CDs into his backpack. After concealing them into the backpack, he headed out to the garden area and exited the store with the stolen merchandise. When I approached him and identified myself, he recognized me from being there when he first picked up the merchandise, which he actually laughed about when we got back to the office.
During apprehensions when you stop shoplifting suspects, you have to remain cool and collected. Another time composure and communication helped me was when I caught a guy pushing out a cart full of beer. The cart of beer wasn’t the surprising part, it was what happened during the actual apprehension of the subject. I watched the guy load up a cart with cases of beer and starting pushing it toward the front of the store. Once he got near the registers, he took off running with the cart out the exit door. I was not expecting this, and wasn’t close enough to him when he exited to stop him. I knew it was against policy to chase him through the parking lot, so I decided to stay on the sidewalk and call out to him. By this time, he was almost to his getaway vehicle, so I could not believe my eyes when he turned around with the cart and came back to talk to me. I couldn’t believe that it actually worked, but it did, and I got all of the beer back to the shelves where it belonged.
For more information contact us: Stop Shoplifting or call 1.770.426.0547