In part two of this series on true stories of dumb criminals I have to consider that it isn’t always the criminal who is the dumb one. Sometimes it can be those of us in Retail Loss Prevention who could be eligible for a “Witless Protection Program”. We can become dependent on anti-theft measures, such as security tags on clothes to protect merchandise and closed circuit television to monitor the store. We can also become too trusting in the customers who shop with us.


I was monitoring our closed circuit televisions one afternoon and happened to see a woman in one of the clothing departments looking around in a suspicious manner. Sure enough, it didn’t take me long to observe her pulling at security tags on clothes and trying to get them off. Some of those garments were placed in the shopping cart she was pushing and others placed back on the rack. She was also looking at clothes that had no Checkpoint tags and concealing them in a large purse she was carrying.  The customer continued her activity for quite some time then after having concealed what she wanted, she walked towards the door. I was somewhat surprised however when she stopped and started chatting with my uniformed Security Officer. It became apparent they knew each other. The woman finally walked to the doors and as she passed through the electronic article surveillance antennas, the alarm sounded and I was there to stop her. My co-worker told me he knew her, she shopped at the store all the time and he was sure there was some mistake. After I got the shoplifter to the office, I recovered the merchandise from the purse and discovered she had not found the Checkpoint tags on all of the items. Who was witless? My co-worker was because he allowed himself to be charmed by the woman who had been shoplifting for a length of time I could not determine. 


From time to time it may be the police who qualify for entry in the “Witless Protection Program”. There was the time a young lady stole a wallet from the department store I worked in. The wallets had hidden Checkpoint tags in an inner compartment and when she left the store the electronic article surveillance antenna alarmed. The shoplifter continued into the mall and my supervisor and I stopped her and brought her back in the store. As we neared the security office the shoplifter started to run and we had to fight with her to restrain her. We both had to physically keep our suspect on the ground until the police arrived. We later learned she was high on crack cocaine which was giving her unusual strength. When the police officer arrived she told us to let the suspect up. We tried to warn the officer that she should be restrained with handcuffs first but the officer was insistent the young woman would go with her. We did as we were told and as soon as we did, the shoplifter started to run again. After a very brief foot pursuit, all three of us managed to catch and detain the suspect once more. The officer decided she might need to use handcuffs after all.  


Finally, I have had my own opportunities to qualify for the program. I was at another store assisting the Loss Prevention Officers and that store’s officers stopped two men who were stealing a large quantity of multipliers.  I assisted in the stop and in the process of trying to make the apprehension one of the subjects pulled out a can of pepper spray and sprayed me in the face. That made me really angry and so I chased him and he sprayed me a second time. Despite being almost blinded, I was determined not to let this criminal get away (I was quite angry now). The suspect got to his car and as he started to enter it I attempted to grab him once more. I was subjected to another dose of pepper spray. Being completely unable to see (not to mention red faced, in pain and snotty) I decided I had had enough. The suspect got away. Yep, I was definitely a charter member of the club.


Loss Prevention personnel can’t always be counted on to make smart decisions but security tags on clothes and Checkpoint equipment can be counted on to prevent theft. Stop the theft of clothing and accessories with Checkpoint tags.


Get more information on Checkpoint tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.