There is a current case in the court systems right now as to the sentencing of a organized retail crime ringleader. He has been convicted of the thefts of over $400,000 dollars worth of merchandise from various stores. It took a task force over 6 months to identify and track down this ringleader and over 180 accomplices.
The case is currently debating the ringleader’s sentencing. He was given jail time as well as has been instructed to pay back the full $400,000 dollars in restitution. Obviously the ringleader didn’t want to pay for the merchandise the first time around, so it is no surprise that he doesn’t want to pay for it now. He is appealing to have the restitution pro rated amongst all of the accomplices.
This case creates several interesting points relevant to the retailers from which the merchandise was initially stolen. The first is that any physical merchandise that has been held as evidence will continue to be held while the restitution is decided upon. It further reiterates the thought that once merchandise is stolen, do not plan on getting it back anytime soon, even if you know who stole it.
Next, once restitution is decided as to who will be responsible for which portion, how will those payments be divided up amongst the victimized retailers? Restitution is generally made in set payments, over a specific period of time. It is similar in principle to what one would pay if they had taken out an installment loan.
Those payments are based upon a realistic dollar amount that could be paid every month. For some, it could be several hundred each month; others may only be paying ten or twenty dollars at a time. If the $400,000 is split between 180+ people, each with their own repayment schedule, and each of those payments broken down by a portion to be allocated to each retailer, it can be a very long time before anyone actually sees enough restitution come back in to offset any of the losses. This could easily be years, or even decades later.
I had a case once where the restitution was set at $100 dollars a month for 35 years. That was 15 years ago. The store has since closed down, so they did not recover even half of the stolen dollar amount.
The best bet is to stop shoplifting before it happens. Even if your criminals are not stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars, what kinds of losses can you live with without planning on recouping any of those lost profits? For many businesses, even a few hundred dollars in inventory losses can start to put a real cramp in their operating budgets.
Operate your anti shoplifting programs to eliminate inventory losses before they leave the store. Once merchandise is gone, there is no guarantee you will get it back, or see a restitution check fast enough to offset those particular inventory losses. Even though the ringleader is currently on the hook for $400,000 in restitution, it is the retailers that are currently paying for all of that merchandise.
Visit the Loss Prevention Store to purchase Anti-Shoplifting devices and your Electronic Article Surveillance or EAS system from Checkpoint Systems to stop shoplifting in your store.
For more information on Anti-Shoplifting, Checkpoint Labels, a Checkpoint Security System, Checkpoint Security Tags, Checkpoint Systems, or Checkpoint Tags and how they can work with your Electronic Article Surveillance or EAS system contact us at Retail theft prevention to Stop Shoplifting in your store or call 1.770.426.0547