"My uncle worked as store security for a department store back in the '80s when he was still a cop.
Two guys attempted to steal a canoe. They just carried it over their heads and tried to walk out the front door.
He had to have a guy arrested after he got belligerent when they stopped him at the door. He came in wearing one over-sized coat but tried to leave wearing four at the same time. He was putting on all the coats in plain sight, right on the sales floor.
Around Christmas, they knew there was a couple stealing coats from other stores in the area. The couple is in their store and clearly shoving a bunch of jackets into garbage bags. They're leaving the store, and my uncle and another security guard follow them out into the parking lot. They tell them to stop, but the guy pulls a weapon. My uncle draws his as well. Now there's a standoff in the middle of a crowded parking lot with families all around. My uncle lowers his weapon as the bad guy did the same. He had to let them go, or risk having somebody get killed. He was fired for refusing to kill, or to be killed, over a few hundred dollars in coats."
"I work retail, and I haven't seen anything too crazy. Most of our thefts are fraudulent returns.
My first year I greeted a bald dude who walked in with an empty cart and he avoided me. I thought it was strange but whatever. Then 15 minutes later, he comes up with a cart full of cat food. I notice the cashier is looking at a receipt and is starting the return process. I'm like uhh what is this?
There were like four managers on that day, and three were in training. I told the manager in charge that the guy didn't walk in with any of that. Luckily one of the others was outside smoking when he came in, and another was blocking the cat food aisle. The guy filled his cart with products to be returned in front of a manager.
The manager that was smoking walked right up to the guy and told him he couldn't return the stuff and he had to leave. He yells, 'This is RIDICULOUS,' and storms off. The cashier was halfway through the return and was confused as ever. We never saw him again."
"I work at a Hollister that gets stolen from quite a bit, despite our policy of putting a sensor on every single item that we receive. We've found items with a lot of damage from people trying to cut/pull the censors off before, but none as disgusting as this.
A lady went into the dressing rooms with a pair of jeans and a shirt and came out a little while later with nothing. Not a big deal, happens a lot, people just leave their crap on the floor all the time. A little while later, an associate goes to let someone else into the same dressing room. Blood. Everywhere. On the clothes, the floor, the walls, everywhere. Apparently, she had tried to bite and pull the censors off the jeans, cutting herself pretty badly in the process, and then had used the shirt to clean herself up."
"I work at a major hardware store, and I have countless stories from over the years.
We once had a person steal a full-size, one-piece fiberglass tub filled with everything he needed to install it. The real kicker is that no one noticed until he was already gone. He just loaded it up onto a cart, walked right out the door like he had just purchased it, and even got an employee to help him load it.
Another time we were having a morning meeting and two men came in while all of the employees were all standing up, at customer service. They went straight to the seasonal department, grabbed two big chainsaws each, and proceeded to march right back out the entrance doors. They were able to do this five or six times, in different hardware stores around the area, without ever getting caught as far as I know.
My favorite is the man who got caught stealing copper and brass fittings. When the loss prevention manager brought him to the back for questioning, he discovered that the man had sewed pockets inside his pants and jacket so he was completely lined with 40 pounds of copper fittings. Even if he was discreet about stealing them, the fact that he was jingling as he walked around the store was a dead giveaway."
"This happened last winter.
The shoes at the store I worked at were all sensored together, meaning people couldn't throw on a new pair, chuck their old shoes in the box, and walk out no problem. This also meant that the shoes couldn't be comfortably tried on unless the customer asked an employee to take off the sensor. On top of this, the employee is supposed to keep their eye on the customer until they decide whether or not they want the shoes
Because it was the holiday season, we were pretty busy. About halfway through my shift, a guy comes up to me with a pair of running shoes and asks me to take the sensor off so he can try them on. I oblige and begin organizing the shoes on a rack in front of him. About a minute after he got them on, another customer came up and asked me where to find a specific type of clothing. I show them where it is and make my way back to shoe guy.
When I get back, he's gone.
Now I didn't initially think he had stolen them, I figured he had put them on and was walking around to see if he liked them. I spend the next five minutes looking for him, but with no luck. I went back to where he was sitting to see if he had maybe left the shoes in another box or just lying around. Again no luck. I did find something else. Someone had forgotten their phone on the bench he was sitting. I picked it up and asked if it belonged to any of the other nearby customers, no dice. At this point, I'm almost certain that shoe guy walked out, but I couldn't believe that he would forget his phone.
I take it to our Loss Prevention (LP) Officer and tell him what happened. He goes back over the cameras and sure enough, shoe guy walked off and out of the store as soon as I left. I feel pretty bad because I basically just handed this dude a pair of expensive shoes. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a customer gesture towards me.
It's shoe guy.
He asks me if I found a phone lying around after he 'tried out the shoes'. Before I answered, I glanced at his feet. He was wearing the shoes he had stolen.
I put on my biggest customer service smile and tell him: 'Yep, you sure did. Let me go get it for you.' I then go back to the LP and say: 'Guess who's back?' The LP now has this grin as I tell him where the guy is, as well as what he wants. LP takes the phone and goes over to shoe guy. Now I wish there was some amazing justice-y end, but unfortunately, there isn't. The guy just got extremely scared when he realized the store security guard was the one handing back his phone and got in line to pay for the shoes."
"I work in a candy store in the trendy part of town, and the neighborhood has a lot of gutter punks. The gutter punks are always super cool and respectful in the shops, but one day, one of the guy's high school girlfriends decided she needed to steal all of the things.
My boss walks outside with the footage of her stealing his iPhone and confronts her. He gives her a lecture on local businesses and says if she needs to steal, to steal from WalMart. In a super cool move, he says he's not going to call the cops. She, in her teen angst, replies, 'Screw you old man, I do whatever I want.' My boss still didn't call the cops. He's a very wise guy. He had every business in the area put her picture on their chalk street sign and write, 'Don't give money to the street kids, they do what they want.' Therefore driving all the gutter punks out of their favorite area.
A week later, they came back and apologized, and we have been girl-free ever since. I think losing all your friends is a better punishment than calling the cops."
"I work in a grocery store, and was talking to one of our many Loss Prevention officers, and he was telling me about an arrest he made.
He started watching a guy that looked like he might steal something and sure enough, he did. This guy ended up stealing 59 cents worth of yeast. Once the guy left the store, the LPO made the arrest and brought the suspect back to the security room and started writing him up and such.
The LPO called the cops, and once they eventually arrived, they searched the guy up on their system and the guy was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for assault and attempted murder. There were a few minor things he was also wanted for, but in short, this guy was dangerous."
"I worked in retail for a little bit and had a few incidences. All these came from Office Depot, and they got away with them all.
In no particular order:
1) Returned printer. When someone buys a printer, there is a green sticker that is put on the seal of the top of the box so they know if the box has been opened. Someone opened the bottom of the box and put a six pack of soda in it with a bunch of newspaper and returned it and got their money back. Since the top seal was not broken, it was assumed the printer was not removed. The second strip of tape at the bottom was the giveaway.
2) Similar to the one above where a customer returned a floppy disk drive by cleaning up the old one and putting it in the box as if it were new. Most floppy drives look identical, so it is hard to tell a new one from one that is slightly older.
3) This one takes the cake as being the most ballsy. Someone took a desktop scanner identical and shoved it in the back of their pants under their jacket and tried to run out the door. The manager was waiting at the front door so the guy ran out the emergency exit, out the side of the building. The manager chased him in store but once he got to the parking lot, he let him go."
"I have a million stories about shoplifters, but this is my favorite:
A man in a roomy sweater approached the counter one night. I noticed he was patting the bottom of the sweater as he set his purchase on the counter.
I told him I could clearly see that he had something concealed in his pants, and he could either give it to me or I could call the police. He told me that he didn't know what I was talking about. I reached out and poked the protrusion from his sweater and said, 'That is what I'm talking about!' He told me he had it when he came in, I said, 'Oh, you usually come into stores with your own drinks hidden in your pants?' At this point, I came over the counter and blocked the door as I was calling the cops. He pushed me out of the way, and ran out to his car and got in and drove away as I was on the phone with the police.
The fact that his car was a lime green convertible with a custom paint job, made it easier for me to be able to tell the cops his license plate number and direction he was headed in. They caught him within five minutes and he refused to admit what he did until he was told that he would be charged with assault if he didn't confess. It all could have been avoided if he wouldn't have tried to get away with stealing drinks!"
"When I worked for Lowe's, I had a guy attempt to steal a hammer drill by hiding it behind some products on a shelf. Apparently, he was going to come back to and try to get from where he hid it.
I noticed he kept walking my department, with no real idea of what he was doing. I had asked him a few times if he needed anything to which he kept telling me no. He was probably in his teens. It was about 8 p.m., so I was already skeptical at that time.
I go about my business, walking my aisles, looking for stolen merchandise/empty packaging and find the drill. I leave it there, and I am approached by another random customer trying desperately to get my attention and get me to go inside with him. He comes up with some pretty weak questions to which it only takes me about five minutes to answer. I ask if there is anything else I could help with and he says no.
I immediately walk back outside to where I had found the drill, only to find two more hammer drills about two bays over from the previous one. I grab a shopping cart I have nearby and load them all up to take up to customer service when the kid chases me down and confronts me.
My manager was already approaching me as I had called him to come meet me so we could check the security cameras and see who might have placed them. The kid, yells at me saying that the drill was his and I needed to give it back to him. I ask him, 'So this is your drill, and you decided to hide it behind other merchandise?' He says I'm accusing him of stealing, to which I reply, 'I have not accused you of anything, I'm only trying to figure out why you would hide a drill behind a lot of other merchandise.' He tells me it was apparently the 'last one on the shelf' and he did not want another customer to take it from him. I ask him why another customer would take something away from him, which he could not give me an answer.
With such a weak story, my manager and I knew what he was up to, so we give him the drill, walk away, and ask another employee to keep an eye on him. He tries a second time to hide the drill - this time under a pallet of sod. My employee grabs the drill and walks up to customer service with it until the kid finally leaves trying to look his meanest flipping people off. I will never understand that night. Honestly, they could have much more easily just run out the door with them."
"I used to work at a Menard's, and I was a cashier.
This lady, probably in her mid-30s had a cart full of stuff ranging from groceries to lumber. If you don't know the layout of Menard's, once you enter the store, the only way out, is by passing through one of the open cash register lanes. So I spotted her standing on the opposite side of the registers with her full cart looking around all confused, avoiding eye contact with me when I was like 10 feet away from her.
After a few minutes, she started to push her cart through my line. I started my routine, asking her how she was, but she didn't stop. She looked forward and pushed for the exit. I was so confused but there were two managers at the door who noticed her being an idiot. They asked her to see a receipt, but she pushed right past them. They started after her and grabbed the cart and that's when she just ran for the hills, leaving the cart full of stuff behind her. And I'm talking full-on sprint. It was pretty funny how she thought there was any chance she could get away with it."
"I worked at a Safeway over a decade ago.
This one time these two ladies came in and got two carts full of products: steaks, frozen dinners, you name it, they had it. They just walked out the door and started shoveling the food in the backseat of the car. One of the managers went out and saw her walking towards them, and they took off, down the bike trail, leaving their driver there.
The manager called me out to start shoveling the stuff back into the carts and she was questioning the driver. He claimed he knew them because they lived in the same neighborhood. He didn't know what to think when they started putting stuff into his car.
Anyway, I think he got let off and I don't know what happened to those two women. At least I got away from the front end, as I had to put everything back on the shelf."
"I've got two stories.
The first story:
I used to work at Best Buy during the winter season. The Best Buy here sees a lot of people from South America touring and buying electronics. We used to have everything out and unlocked - things ranging from accessories to Macbooks.
On the day after Black Friday, some guy walks in and spends a lot of time in the computer department. The usual trying to figure out the password to the laptop, toying with settings, going on the Internet. Nothing out of the usual.
One moment to another, I hear over the walkie-talkies: 'He's running, he's running!'
I turn around and there I see the guy with a giant Mac computer box heading for the doors as fast as he could. I'm unfamiliar with Mac computers but it was one of those desktops with the huge monitors.
As he's hauling to get out of the store, the security guys are waiting for him. I wasn't sure how they planned on stopping him seeing as they were just standing at the doors saying nothing. Next thing I see is the box flying up and the guy falling flat on his back. The one security guard at the front of the store entrances managed to clothesline the guy, and there he laid in necktie handcuffs waiting to be picked up by cops.
The second story:
There was a guy who used to work at the front store cash registers. He had been working there for about four months.
One day, he comes to my department and asks for four iPod Touches. Even though it's discouraged to sell the items out of our department, he stated the customer asked for them at the register since he couldn't find anyone to take them out for him. The iPods were handed to him and he went back to his station.
He rings the iPods up, without a customer there, and puts the sale in as cash. Then he closes the register and bags the iPods for himself. He signed in with his information and did the transaction. At the end of the day, the managers noticed that there was about $900 missing from the register. They checked the transaction history and lo-and-behold, the iPods came up and showed they were paid in cash. Since the guy had finished his shift they couldn't do anything about it.
The next morning the managers called him in with the excuse that they needed him to cover someone else's shift.
As soon as he walks through the doors, the police are waiting for him, and he's promptly arrested."
"I feel like a Retail Vigilante, but this has been going on for like two months. I work in a grocery store, and we have some really strict guidelines on how to 'catch' a thief.
A) You can't catch them if you didn't see them put the item in their purse, shirt, or pants.
B) When you know there is a repeat offender, but you can never know when they enter the store because our checkout lanes are around the corner from the actual entrance. Thus, the thief can enter, find his mark, and hide it, without us realizing they were in the store.
A few months ago, Thief #1 was caught. We had dubbed him the 'Cookie Monster' because his favorite method was taking a couple of cookies from our cafe, ascending into the upper cafe area, where there is no supervision, and he'd eat the cookies and then toss the wrappers. He was finally caught when one of our supervisors from the registers saw him while on break, followed him, and then witnessed him toss the evidence.
We meet the mightier of the adversaries. I've dubbed him, the 'Cracker Jacker.' He was first spotted when a coworker and I rung up his order. She noticed a distinct bulge under his shirt as he walked away. Looking closer, we could tell it was a box of crackers. He left, and we asked the supervisors.
This 'Cracker Jacker' keeps coming back and telling us his member number, which gives us his name. We can't say anything at all unless someone actually sees him do the deed. This is why it's infuriating because he comes up, and schmoozes with us, making small talk, but most of us KNOW he has another box of crackers tucked under his arm. And we just can't stop him because of a stupid rule."
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