It was one of those hot, miserable New Orleans days. Middle of August and the humidity was probably around 300%. One of those times I enjoyed working inside along with the central air. I was working a joint investigation with local police and a few retailers. This task force was assembled with one goal in mind, prevent shoplifting in our parish. With the help of some area stores and a strong partnership with the police, we had set up shop at a local pharmacy since they were constantly targeted for household items, such as detergent and soap. We were in place and we just waited. 3 hours in and sweat dripping down our faces, a familiar face walked through the front doors. We knew this guy. He was a booster with a criminal record a mile long. Sure enough, he walked right over to the laundry detergent.
Believe it or not, laundry detergent is one of the highest theft items right now. Boosters can easily walk out the doors with this product and turn it incredibly quick at flea markets, or less than honest brick and mortar stores. In this store, their LP team had secured most of their detergent with an Alpha 3 Alarm Hard Tag. For most, it’s a great physical deterrent. It will trigger the EAS upon exit, alarm if the cable is cut, and my favorite part, alarm for about 10 minutes after going through the towers. Getting back to our booster… he walks over with a buggy, loads 5 up and simply walks out. The EAS Tower Alarms and the Alpha 3 Alarm Tags start wailing. Doesn’t faze this guy one bit. He casually walks over to his vehicle, loads them in the trunk and drives off. The purpose of our operation was to find out where the product was going, so we let him leave and we, along with police, followed behind.
About two blocks down the road, he pulls into a neighborhood grocery store. Cameras were rolling as he very casually unloaded the detergent and brought it inside. After a few minutes, our friend emerged and detectives affected an arrest. He immediately denied any wrong doing, not knowing we have watched, filmed and followed his every move. We went inside the store to receive our stolen goods, but the shop owner claimed to have no idea what we were talking about. The detective asked a few of us to come inside to see if we could identify any of our store’s product that may be on display. After a few laps around the small store, I didn’t see anything that could belong to me, so I began walking towards the front when a faint, chirping sound caught my attention. I called the detectives over, to what appeared to be a supply closet. I knew this sound. It was the Alpha 3 Alarm Tag still chirping from when it had been triggered at the EAS tower.
Long story short, the owner, trying to weasel out of trouble agreed to open the door and cooperate. Inside was roughly 3 dozen bottles of detergent, most still with the retail anti-theft device still attached. And there, in the corner, still chirping away were the 5 that our booster had stolen from us. You couldn’t ask for better evidence than that!
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