The Case of the Disappearing Bats
It never fails. Every year as spring rolls around, baseball season really gets into full swing. For us, as a sporting goods retailer, this means long days and a high influx of traffic to this section of the store. But, it never fails. I should be more specific… people who want to steal my baseball bats. Last year alone, I lost about $10,000 in product that I narrowed down to external theft. More alarming is that 95% of that was taken by just one individual.
A few years back, we began using O-Tags to secure the baseball bats, in addition to a locking mechanism on the display feature. As the season progressed, I noticed that merchandise was missing, along with the O-Tags, but I didn’t have a single sale. They were all high end items that retail for anywhere between $300-$500. I thought I had an internal problem, but couldn’t develop any leads. I changed gears and looked at vendor shipping errors, but again came up dry. It wasn’t until I noticed some bent locking arms one morning that I found my culprit.
It was early Saturday morning and my staff was pretty light. This shoplifter slipped in virtually undetected. He was wearing what appeared to be a very nice suit. He had a female accomplice with a long flowing dress, with a large Sunday hat. The pair looked as if they were on the way to church services. Within two minutes, the male had removed 10 baseball bats from the arms and handed them to the female. It was as if I were watching a street magician. With one smooth motion, the bats disappeared under her dress. One by one by one, they all made their way… somewhere. 30 seconds later, they walked out the door, but the O-Tags set off the door alarm. Based on their appearances, and lack of any bag/purse, the manager on duty at the front doors simply apologized and let them on their way. Kind of ironic now that I think about that apology. This pair hit me 3 more times during the season, and to this day, I’ve not made an arrest.
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