Just how many laptops will fit into one’s pants? That is a question that you don’t see on many trivia game shows but it was a question I and my staff became interested in not too many years ago. We were continuously losing laptop computers on our cycle counts for some time and it became clear that they were not just evaporating once we started doing some tape reviews. A man, who was actually pretty good at disguising himself from the camera was getting away with laptops on display, secreting them on his person and getting out the door without activating our anti-shoplifting devices.
He was finally caught when Checkpoint tags were inserted in the battery compartment of every display laptop as well as on the exterior. He was careful to remove the exterior tag of the four laptops he removed next but he didn’t even think about there being an interior tag. He managed to stuff the four laptops down his very baggy cargo pants and head for the exit where he promptly activated the Checkpoint security system and the chase was on! Our security staff chased him for over a block with him trying to hold his pants up as laptops were falling to the ground, finally cornering him with a patrol vehicle and a uniformed security officer. He tried resisting but was quickly talked out of it with the snap of a collapsible baton opening. After he was helped to his feet, handcuffed, and allowed to hold his pants up, he was taken back to the store and the police were called to take him into custody. The four laptops were scuffed up but not damaged but we did not recover the eight others he had stolen on other occasions.
There are many anti-shoplifting strategies that one can use to try to prevent serial shopliftings like these from occurring. The Checkpoint security system utilizing electronic article surveillance (EAS) was our saving grace. Closed-circuit television is instrumental in many a retail theft prevention incident; however, it requires someone to be watching the right thing at the right time; otherwise, the incident can only be investigated after it has already occurred. During busy store times when sales help is busy and security is tied up doing its customer service duties is the perfect time for a would-be shoplifter to do his or her thing. The “laptop bandit” knew that and was careful to avoid detection by cameras as well as disguised himself in case he was seen by the camera on subsequent review. He just couldn’t get by little 2-inch Checkpoint tags stuck in the battery compartment.
Checkpoint systems has many solutions for various merchandise. As a wise retailer, you want to employ both visible deterrents and invisible anti-shoplifting devices to aid in the apprehension of the shoplifter who tries to defeat your retail theft prevention strategies. Visible deterrents include strong signage and public viewing monitors for your closed-circuit television system as well as visible EAS antennae with responsive staff. Your invisible strategies can include the secreted Checkpoint tags in places shoplifters won’t expect or won’t look. If you put a tag on the outside, they are likely to stop looking after they defeat that one and not bother to look for the one hidden somewhere else in the device. This is that much important with display merchandise that is left out in the open to be handled by your customers. It is too easy for someone to walk off with that display camcorder—or in our case, a laptop.
Our goal for retailers is to make life difficult for the potential shoplifter. Their job should not be easy which means ours is not either. We have to work at protecting our merchandise; otherwise, you might find yourself trying to count how many laptops really do fit in a pair of cargo pants!
For more information on Checkpoint Systems contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 or www.antishoplifting.net.