I once worked in a store that had a problem with a group of shoplifters coming into the store and stealing wine, beer, and cough medicine. The group would come into the store and fill their backpacks with wine and beer, putting as much in the bags as they could possibly fit, while others from the group kept watch at the end of the aisles. We also started finding cases of beer with the boxes ripped open and some of the beer missing from the package. This made it easy to see that a theft had been committed. At the time, the store didn’t have any amount of bottle security to speak of, only a camera that observed the area from a long distance away. It wasn’t even meant to look at this area, it was focused on other merchandise and the wine just happened to be seen in the background on video.
After finding open beer cases and reviewing video, we found that we were losing the items during the weekends. You may have guessed it already, but these were underage shoplifters. Most of them were considered adults, just not old enough to legally purchase alcoholic beverages. The store was located in a large shopping center, where young people would hang out and congregate on the weekends. The wine problem could have been easily solved by placing bottle locks on the wine bottles if they were available to us in the store at the time, though it would have taken a huge amount of locks to cover all of the bottles in the store. The beer issue was a little more difficult, so we decided to increase employee presence in this area and increase customer service as a deterrent.
In a perfect world, all stores would segregate all of the alcoholic products in a secured area, where anyone under the legal drinking age wouldn’t have access. If this were an option, it would have been great, but it was a large store with several different departments and this option was not realistic for the business. Instead, we did everything else we were able to at the store level. We started limiting the amount of product we put on the shelf for the cough medicine. We also began tagging some the boxes of product that were on the shelf, and placing other boxes in hard plastic keepers like those from Alpha Security, so they wouldn’t be as easily accessible.
Once we figured out when they were coming into the store, we made sure we were there at the times they would come in, and eventually caught some of the group. They said that they were using some of the products themselves, and selling the rest to other people that weren’t old enough to purchase it themselves. This information was not surprise because I had heard of this type of thing happening at other stores, but it was still troubling to hear.
Thefts like this are going to happen, and retailers should take every precaution to reduce the chances of it happening in their stores; including ensuring that they have some form of bottle security measures in place. This should happen with any alcoholic products that are accessible to minors or underage patrons.
For more information contact us: Bottle Security or call 1.770.426.0547