I am reading reports on recent wine thefts from grocery stores and some I find rather amusing for example one headline reads, “Police: Man guzzles stolen wine in grocery store bathroom, steals sushi in pants”; another headline reads, “Woman stole wine to follow boyfriend to jail”. On the other hand there are some headlines that make me nearly choke as I read them, “More than $250,000 worth of wine stolen from Branford distributer” and “Thief steals $2k-worth of rare wine from N.J. store, cops say”. As I continued to look at videos of shoplifters stealing wine and liquor, I noticed that where I could see clear images of the bottles I did not notice bottle locks on the merchandise! One video from November 2015, was from a news team interviewing a liquor store owner about a shoplifter who has been stealing from his store. The store owner points to a $119.99 bottle of Patron liquor (the shelf label was clearly visible) and describes how the shoplifters are stealing from his store. Absolutely no liquor bottle security measures, aside from cameras, were visible from what I was seeing.
Though these are not my stores, and I am no longer actively in the Loss Prevention field, I get frustrated when I see these types of reports and I know that there are steps these owners could be taking to prevent these types of thefts. The simple addition of bottle locks would prevent a large amount of the theft these stores are experiencing. Bottle locks are placed over the bottle cap and lock in place so a thief can’t open the bottle. These locks are secure enough that if someone were to attempt to pry one off of a bottle they are likely to break the bottle. If a liquor store owner installs an electronic article surveillance system (EAS) at all store entrances, bottles with locks on them passing through the antenna will activate the EAS alarm system. Liquor bottle security doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor and it can save big bucks in shortage.
Store owners who rely on closed circuit television for security fail to realize that these are passive tools unless monitored by security personnel or store staff. When looking through videos posted online, most of them refer to shoplifters caught on camera. This is because someone noticed, after the fact that merchandise was missing and they went back and reviewed video to look for footage of possible suspects. he downside is the shoplifters are usually long gone and police are seeking assistance from the community to identify suspects. Using bottle locks does two things for the store owner/manager, first if an alarm is triggered when a locked bottle gets to the door, someone can respond to the alarm immediately and possibly recover merchandise. Second, if a shoplifter were to activate the alarm and run, even if they get away police can be called right away and video review can take place immediately, not hours or days later. The ability to respond as soon as a theft or attempted theft takes place gives police a much better chance of catching a thief.
The question arises, why bother with liquor bottle security and locks if someone can still steal a bottle or bottles? From my own experience and from reviewing these online incidents, I can tell you that many of the high dollar shoplifting cases are the result of repeat shoplifters. These thieves hit the same stores over and over because the opportunity is available to them. Merchandise is readily available, no measures are in place to deter them and I would speculate that there are not enough employees available to give the level of service needed to remove the opportunity to steal. The bad guys don’t want attention, so as long as nothing will set off an alarm or alert employees that a theft is taking place, they are comfortable returning to the same stores.
Bottle Locks, EAS system and closed circuit televisions will drive theft down. Don’t be an easy target for shoplifters, invest in liquor bottle security, and see your profits grow.
For more information on Bottle Locks, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547