At this point, I have lost count of the amount of shoplifters I have caught throughout my career, but I still remember most of the stories that came from the shoplifters. In order to prevent shoplifting in your store, it’s sometimes good to look back and learn from past experiences. Shoplifters say and do the strangest things. Some of the experiences you can learn lessons from, and some are just entertaining.
I have actually had more than one person try to talk their way out of trouble by saying that the medication they are taking makes them steal. Keep in mind, these shoplifters actually cut open packages and removed retail anti-theft devices from the products they were stealing. After talking to them for a while, they both said that they were making up their stories. I’ve heard of some crazy side effects of medications on television commercials, but I don’t believe one of them was shoplifting.
One of my most memorable experiences was a teenager I caught stealing and he asked me if I liked my job. I told him that I did, and he then proceeded to tell me that he could get me a better job if I let him leave. At this point I laughed a bit, but tried to stay professional and finished listening to his sales pitch. He then said that his father has a lot of money and he could easily get me a better job making more money. So then I let him go…no not really!
Another situation I have seen on multiple occasions is someone asking their parents or spouses if they can purchase something, and they don’t like the answer they receive. You may already have guessed it, but yes, they then steal the item they were denied. One time they even went into the very next aisle over and put the merchandise in their pants. What’s interesting is that when they are stopped for shoplifting, they say that it’s the other person’s fault because they didn’t let them buy the merchandise. Needless to say, this didn’t seem to make their parents or spouse very happy.
No matter what you do to prevent shoplifting from happening, thieves are still going to try to come up with crazy ideas to get away with stealing. I had a shoplifter years ago that though he was really smart, but then realized he wasn’t at all. He walked over to the area with electronic merchandise and found a home theater system that someone forgot to put an anti-theft device on, and put it in a shopping cart. On his way out of the department, he grabbed a small shopping bag from the register. Then he passed by the toys and picked up a small toy and placed it into the bag before walking out of the store without paying. Apparently, the idea was to try to make it appear as if he made a purchase by bagging the small toy that was only about $3. What he didn’t realize until after we stopped him, was that the home theater system was just a penny under the felony amount for the state, and bagging up that toy turned a misdemeanor into a felony. There’s no way he could talk his way out of that one.
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