I’m a strong believer in small business in this country. No matter your race, creed or background, with a little hard work and dedication you can make a good living for yourself if you have what people want. I come from a long line of small business owners, and because of that, I often go out of my way to shop at those “mom and pop” stores, in lieu of the mass merchants. One thing that I’ve seen through the years is how easily a legitimate, family run store, can slip into selling stolen goods. It’s also a great reminder that if you sell alcohol, you should definitely have some type of bottle security in place.
I was working a theft investigation one week and, through the course of this investigation had gathered information of a fence operating in the area. A fence is what we call a store front operation (whether it be brick and motor, or an online market place) that boosters can unload their stolen goods quickly. That fence then sells the stolen goods for a profit. A much, much higher profit than what they would get if they bought the product from a legitimate vendor and not a thief. To my surprise, it was a small corner store not too far away from my childhood home. I knew the owners somewhat and I couldn’t understand how they had gotten into this.
I worked closely with the local police as we pursued the case. I had several boosters that were targeting my stores almost daily. They were targeting the lower end liquor, which was not secured with a Bottle Lock. These ran anywhere from $9 to $11. To us, it didn’t make sense to secure them since it wasn’t really the target of most thieves. As these thieves would boost our liquor, we would then be able to track the bottles back to this store. We had markers on the bottles where they couldn’t be easily seen. Local police would then make undercover purchases at this store, and would match up the markers to our product, proving the goods were ours to begin with.
A few weeks of this operation went by and police were ready to make a move on the store. I asked if I could ride along since I had known the owners for quite some time. They agreed, and even let me be a part of the interview. I found that the owners were going through some tough financial times with the business and they were enticed into selling the stolen alcohol by a family member. Turns out that most of the boosters in my investigation were relatives of the owners. Instead of paying a legitimate vendor, say $3 per bottle, they were paying the booster $1, for example. This helped them out to an extent and once they saw how easy it was, began requesting all sorts of merchandise. Before long, they were in a downward spiral that they couldn’t control.
It was tough to watch a legitimate business owner turn to what I consider, the dark side. After this case was closed out, we revamped our strategies surrounding liquor bottle security. Now, no matter the dollar amount, every bottle of liquor in our stores in secured with a bottle lock. This is the easiest way to protect our assets and remain profitable. It also makes it more difficult for those who want to make a profit from your loss gain easy access to your stock.
For more information, contact us: Bottle Lock, or call 1.770.426.0547