How to Prevent Shoplifting in Extreme Cases

 In recent months I have been attempting to prevent shoplifting, or at least limit it, in a number of grocery store liquor departments. These stores are located in the rougher parts of town where your average shoplifter tends to be a bit more desperate and potentially more violent. The biggest issue has been the “grab and runs”. That’s where the thief decides not to bother with the pesky detail of concealing merchandise, they simply run in, grab what they want and run right back out. It’s kind of like shock and awe.

 As you can imagine, short of posting an armed guard at the door, it can be difficult to prevent shoplifting in this type of case. It had reached the point that we were losing anywhere from $80 – $200 a day from this type of criminal. Something had to be done. In the end we ended up staking out the store like it was a Hollywood movie: One agent in the store, one outside and one in the camera room. When the thief finally came in and grabbed the merchandise he was surrounded immediately. In an attempt to save himself he volunteered the information on the rest of his crew.

 Based on that information the police department searched the apartment they were using to stash their ill-gotten gains. In the end, this group of 3 men between the ages of 18 – 23 had in their possession over $8000 worth of alcohol that they had stolen from different places. They were essentially running a business, selling to friends and relatives who wanted to throw parties, small neighborhood bars, etc. They could afford to sell the liquor for cheaper than the going rate because they had no overhead. In some extreme cases it may be necessary to overwhelm the thief in order to prevent shoplifting.

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