You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks…Me

shoplifting1I was recently the Keynote Speaker at a retail conference. The audience was very engaged! As a speaker and trainer I like those situations best.

We had many great questions and comments. But there is one that I continue to think about. Someone mentioned that a way that shoplifters are now discouraging you and your staff from providing customer service is by using a cell phone.

Let’s step back. The first key to preventing shoplifting is the liberal application of customer service. Impulse, armature and professional shoplifters cannot ply their evil trade if your staff is customer servicing them to death.

So now enters the cell phone. If the shoplifter is on a call, real or pretend then we are likely, out of courtesy not to approach them. What a wonderful way to keep us away from them in our own store! This is something I had never considered before. In fact what I have been thinking about is that there are other tools they could use to accomplish the same thing.

Listening to music with a head set on, talking on a two-way radio as if it is work related or how about being busy with electronic tablet or phone with email. Again any situation they can create to keep us at arm’s length.

However, there is a well-established solution to this. All of these techniques fall under the category of distraction or diversion. The solution to this tactic is simply MORE customer service.

Those actions by a “customer” are at a minimum rude. It is also a red flag that you should now pay attention to. Being in your store, taking your time and resources and being on the phone is rude. But we do not want to respond in kind. Instead apply an even more generous application of customer service.

Stay with them, keep your eye on them and make sure they know it. A legitimate customer will feel it and get off the phone, device…. The shoplifter will have a different reaction. They will get frustrated. You are frustrating their efforts to obtain a bit of privacy so they can conceal your merchandise.

Frustrating a shoplifter is our goal. Drive them crazy and send them on their way hopefully never to be seen again, at least by you!

You can reach Bill Bregar at 770-426-7593 x101 or at bbregar@LossPreventionSystems.com. Bill has over 35 years of experience in the Loss Prevention industry. He has personally investigated over 2300 employees for theft and dealt with shoplifting all the way from his days of apprehending shoplifters as a store detective to the development of policy and procedure for several major retail chains in the role of Director of Loss Prevention.


Shoplifting Apprehension that Turn Violent

shoplifting5Over the past two years or so, I’ve managed well over 1,000 shoplifting cases. Just like any other job, it starts to become a routine. You watch for selection, intent, pass the points of sale, exit. Approach, process, and on to the next one. It’s strange that in my line of work the daily routine is based solely on someone committing a crime. Well, what happens when the apprehensions is not so routine? What should you, or your team do if a shoplifter becomes confrontational, or even physically violent?

I’ve seen several instances of shoplifters becoming physically violent in the very recent past. Member of my team, including myself, have been physically assaulted and even pepper sprayed by shoplifting suspects. I’ve even see greater acts of violence at surrounding retailers. Is that really worth a $50 item? Absolutely not. We are seeing very often that drug addicts, who are stealing to support their habit are committing these crimes. Their minds are focused on their addiction and they will do whatever is necessary to avoid capture, even if that means harming you or a member of your team. The best defense is always a good offense, and the first step in remaining safe in this climate is to analyze the risk associated with each and every shoplifting detention.

I train my teams to analyze the inherent risk of a stop on two simple factors. 1) What is the item being stolen? Is it on its own a weapon? 2) The perceived state of mind of the suspect. Does your suspect appear to be under the influence of drugs, or alcohol? If you can answer yes to both, then there’s a higher chance of the risk of violence and it may be a better idea to allow law enforcement to intervene. I stress this every single day with my team. They all know that there is nothing in that entire store that is worth jeopardizing their safety. Sometimes, though, violence may come from the most unsuspecting source, and you should know how to react during these instances.

If you find yourself in a situation when confronted at the time of apprehension with violence, you should immediately terminate the apprehension and allow the suspect to leave… with or, without the merchandise. Never should you put yourself, your team or your customer’s safety in jeopardy over store merchandise. If you’re confronted and need to defend yourself, then do so in as safe a manner as possible. Training your LP staff in a basic self-defense course is a great tool that is being more widely adopted at more retailers.

In addition to those common sense steps, your company should also have clearly written and accessible policies regarding shoplifting apprehensions and the use of force. If you are in charge of these policies, you should set a clear expectation of how store personnel should contact a shoplifter, as well as details regarding the use of force. The last thing you want is for an employee to get severely injured while trying to protect assets come back with a lawsuit claiming they were subjected to an unsafe work environment. Without clear, written policies, that could be a reality.

Criminals will continue to steal, and a percentage will no doubt become violent in some way. In the LP filed, it is an occupational hazard. With the proper training and common sense policies, you can ensure the safety of your teams. Several states are also currently looking into passing new legislation that would enhance the charge for shoplifters who assault an LP agent. Some states also have laws on the books that turn a shoplifting into a strong arm robbery under these circumstances. If these were to become a nationwide standard, we may be able to start reversing this very disturbing trend.


Vendor/Contractor Fraud

theft (2)I want you to sit back and think about something for a minute. Other than your employees, how many other peopled have worked in your store last month? Drawing a blank? Think about those lights that needed replacing, or the compactor that needed repair, or even the new display cases that were installed overnight a few weeks back. While you may realize it, you more than likely have a great deal of contactors coming in and out of your store on a fairly frequent basis. These contractors and vendors have access to everything and employee has and sometimes more.

Not only do you have to consider product and equipment theft, what about data or intellectual property theft? Company sales figures, or closely guarded industry secrets? A single thumb drive and a bit of know-how can get a wealth of information into the wrong hands. Thinking about all of that, you probably want to repair your own sinks from now on…

Just as with any LP process, you have to implement a strategy that allows you to identify and react to theft, all while maintain the trust of the 99.9% of your customers that are honest. A few simple policies and best practices can protect your business from vendor/contractor theft.

First, you should establish a check in procedure. Vendors, or outside contractors should have to check in with the manager and then be taken to the area of the store that requires their services. If the area is a sensitive section of the store, or requires an exterior doors to be opened for an long period, a supervisor or key employee should remain in that area. In addition, a simple package inspection policy should be adopted and all employees, and outside vendor should be made to adhere to that policy. Basically, anyone exiting the store that works for you would have any bag, or box inspected by a store manager prior to them leaving the store.

An electronics policy should also be adopted around sensitive areas of the store. Vendors, as well as employees should be barred from using an external hard drive on any store computer system. Recording devices (cellphones) should not be allowed in sales offices, or anywhere that sensitive data is stored. You should also restrict any store Wi-Fi to store management only, and for the sole purpose of conducting company business.

While it may not be an area that you closely associate with shrink and loss, vendor compliance and control can become a major contributor to lost profits in your store. By implementing a few simple steps and practices, you can sure that you are doing all you can to prevent unnecessary loses to your store and company.


Bad Stops are Bad for Business

theft (1)If you’ve been in the LP profession for any length of time, chances are, you know someone who has had their career ended for making a “bad stop”. If you’ve never heard that term, great news for you. This is the term given when an LP agent makes a shoplifting apprehension outside of set guidelines and detains an individual, who in fact, did not partake in any illegal activities. Sounds like something that should NEVER happen, right? Unfortunately, it does and it can spell big legal trouble for your company. If you detain an individual who has not committed a crime, they have the legal right to file a lawsuit against you, your employee and your company. I’ve personally seen more than I would like in my tenure and they usually end with a large settlement and an employee or two in the unemployment line.

How does this happen? If you have an LP program, or policies relating to shoplifting apprehensions, you may ask how does an agent get to the point where they make such a bad decision. Just with any other job, no one is perfect. As a manager, or business owner, you need to have very strict rules and guidelines that are to be followed in regards to shoplifting apprehensions in order to protect not only the safety of your employees, but the very business you are running. Looking back at the incidents that I’ve personally dealt with, one common theme always stands out. An employee who will try to bend the rules as much as possible. When you develop and maintain adequate policies, you have to enforce them. Letting something slip by won’t do you any good. That employee does not have your company’s best interests in mind, and in your position, you have to make sure that your polices are followed to the letter.

One case that stands out happened a few years ago. One of my top performing agents saw a customer place something in her purse and walk out the store. He didn’t see exactly what the item was, but still made the apprehension. Once in the security office, he realized she had placed a shirt in her purse that she entered the store with. The customer had brought the item to compare colors to a new item she wanted to purchase. Understandably so, the customer was highly upset and sought legal action. After all was settled, my company had to pay a substantial settlement to keep the matter out of court and I had to release one of the best agents that ever had worked for me.

During the termination conversation, I asked him why he made the stop without knowing exactly what was concealed. His response was that he had done it several times in the past, and he was normally right. This was the one time he was wrong, and it cost him and my company in a big way. Due to that incident, we implemented more vigorous training programs and did a better job of documenting training with all LP agents in order to prove, it we needed, that all LP agents were trained according to a set policy and that anything done outside of that was the result of poor performance.

I would encourage anyone with a small business, or managers of small companies to adopt and implement a written policy regarding shoplifting apprehensions. If your store doesn’t have an LP department that has agents in store, your policies should state that only a salaried manager may initiate a shoplifting apprehension and only before going through some type of standardized training. This will protect your store not only from shoplifters, but it will go a very long way in keeping innocent customers from being detained by an ill-trained, or poor performing associate.


Awareness and Steps to Prevent Shoplifting

shoplifting4There are shoplifting rings that target stores all across our country. People get arrested and charged with shoplifting every day. Merchandise is stolen by customers and employees alike. It is quite impossible to prevent shoplifting 100% of the time, but you and your employees can take steps to prevent or mitigate some of the losses. Recognizing and understanding the items that are a clear target for shoplifters can help you establish some type of security around those items. Educating your management and employees about steps to help prevent shoplifting can help you deter possible shoplifters in the future.

Follow the links below for more information about shoplifting.


5 Quick and Low-Tech Tips To Prevent Shoplifting in Your Retail Store

As a small business retailer, it’s not always easy to just throw money at problems like shoplifting and take advantage of all the technology that big box retailers may be privy to. Whether it’s cameras, door scanners, or facial-recognition software, sometimes their big-ticket cost just doesn’t fit with your small business security budget.

But when you recognize facts like shoplifting costing retailers upwards of $13 billion each year, it’s important to identify it as a problem that needs to be dealt with.

So, what’s a boutique owner to do? In this post, I’ll be looking at cost-effective and low-tech tactics that you can start implementing right away.

Let’s dive in.

1. Keep Your Store Organized and Products Well-Placed

How easy should it be to identify whether something has gone “missing” from your store? Empty space on your shelves should be enough of a visual cue to signal something has gone wrong.


How to Prevent Shoplifting With Effective Retail Loss Prevention

Shoplifting occurs every day in retail stores around the world. There are times when the items truly are needed, but others, just have a need to break the law. Retail loss prevention teams and systems are available to prevent shoplifting from your retail store.

You cannot be too careful these days and reduced profits mean that the store is not making enough and the owner is not earning enough to support him or her family.

Plain Clothed Loss Prevention Team

Many retailers are using plain clothed security personnel to help loss prevention. These individuals watch suspicious customers and alert store staff.

The video cameras are closely monitored and if any items appear to be missing from their pile upon exiting the dressing rooms, the plain clothed security officer will detain the shoplifter.


10 Steps to prevent shoplifting

Theft is a serious threat to the bottom lines of retail businesses.  Shoplifting is prevalent due to the fact that is relatively easy to commit and has minimal risk when compared to other crimes.  Shoplifters come in the form of all races, ages and economic status.  In fact, in many cases shoplifters have enough money on their person to purchase the items they are attempting to steal.   Shoplifters look like everyday people.  In the case of shoplifting, shoplifters are everyday people who steal.  According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention   more than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year.   Shoplifting losses affect every retailer regardless of what they sell.  These losses result in profits and increased prices.  Here are 10 steps that retailers can take to prevent shoplifting from their stores.

  1. Post warning signs: Make those that enter your store aware of the consequences of stealing from your store.  Determine your shoplifting policy and communicate it to your customers with posted signs. Signs should warn that shoplifting will result in prosecution.

Preventing Shoplifting

shoplifting1Managers in your store can play an important role in preventing shoplifting. Being aware of the procedures to take when a shoplifting incident occurs protects your employees and your store alike. Shoplifting education programs through the NASP can help organizations prevent shoplifting and educate their employees. The rules and procedures to take by employees when a shoplifting incident occurs can save lives, medical bills and negative publicity occurring from a shoplifting incident. Follow the links below for more news about shoplifting.


Walmart Manager Says He Was Fired After Stopping Alleged Shoplifter

For several years now, Consumerist has reported on variety of stories where a former Walmart employee says they were fired either stopping a shoplifter or defending themselves in an altercation with customers. The latest such incident involves the manager of an Alabama Walmart who claims he was dismissed after stopping an alleged repeat offender from shoplifting again.

AL.com reports that the former manager was blindsided when he was fired a month after he chased and confronted a shoplifter attempting to steal nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise.

The man says the incident occurred during the night shift, when he heard an alarm signaling that an emergency door was open.

When the manager reached the door, he saw a man he described as an habitual shoplifter leaving with a cart full of merchandise.

“When I caught up to the individual he turned and grabbed me, struck me in the face and dragged me to the ground,” the manager says. “I got loose and was holding him down when security personnel from an apartment complex across the street came to help until police arrived.”


VIDEO: Teens ‘Terrorize’ Marysville Grocery Store

MARYSVILLE-

Five teenagers entered a Marysville Save Mart around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday and “terrorized the store,” police say.

A Marysville Police spokesperson told FOX40 four teenage girls and one teenage boy vandalized the store aisle by aisle, shouting out gang slogans and throwing grocery items on the ground. One of those items, according to police, was a bottle of oil, which caused a 64-year-old man to slip and fall.

The retired Air Force veteran was taken to Rideout Medical Center and treated for a potentially fractured elbow, according to police.

Store managers told officers on scene that employees tried to stop the teenagers, but one punched the manager in the face. At some point, police say the teenagers went to the liquor aisle, opened a bottle of alcohol, and started drinking.

The two officers who responded to the incident have minor injuries after one of the teen’s resisted arrest.


Arrests made in two Kroger shoplifting incidents

Two shoplifting incidents were reported Thursday at the Kroger grocery story on U.S. Highway 29, according to Athens-Clarke County police reports.

In one incident, Mary Ashley Moss, 22, of a Johns Creek, Ga., address was charged with shoplifting after swapping price tags on some items and concealing other items as she checked out of the store. According to a police report, Moss told Kroger managers “she did not think it was stealing since she was paying for something in the process.” According to police, Moss was attempting to take $50 worth of hygiene products. She was released from the Clarke County Jail after posting a $1,500 bond.

In the other incident, William Joseph Adams II, 47, of Timber Ridge Lane in Colbert, was charged with shoplifting after allegedly taking $75 worth of meat from the store.

Adams left the store in a blue Ford Fiesta that was stopped shortly after the incident, headed toward Madison County, by Athens-Clarke police. Adams was released from the Clarke County Jail after posting a $5,000 bond.


Profit and Loss – It’s All About the Basics

theft (11)Most people don’t mind doing what they should do when it’s easy or when it doesn’t get in the way of what they want to do. However, it takes discipline and maturity for people to do the things that should be done, whether they want to or not. Discipline and maturity are usually the differences between a successful manager and an unsuccessful one.

Successful managers know that being conscientious about preventing shoplifting is an on-going process of training and vigilance, which is why most unsuccessful ones don’t do it. Ineffective managers don’t develop and monitor the effective daily habits, for themselves and their employees, required to prevent shoplifting loss.

It’s unfortunate, because the margins between loss and profit are usually so tight that unaddressed loss can mean the difference between the business staying open or closing. There are many quick and practical ways that managers can help their employees develop the daily awareness and habits required to limit the opportunity for customer fraud. One of the most effective is also one of the most basic.

Most people are quick forgetters and they need on-going training (print, video, classroom style, one-on-one) to help them remember the company’s loss prevention plan. Once, during the orientation, is definitely not enough. Training modules which are short (about 15 minutes), monthly and topic specific (i.e. shoplifting techniques, proper confrontation of suspect, store’s prosecution policy) can be very productive.

Productive training makes sure everyone receives the same information and reinforces the company’s expectations and policies. It will, also, instruct, remind and reinforce the employee’s responsibility in preventing loss. Education and understanding is built on repetition, so repeatedly hearing who, what, when, where, how and why people steal can make workers more conscientious.

However, this is where the maturity and discipline of the manager is vital. If not conducted properly, training can hinder rather than help. The training time and materials shouldn’t be used for managers to pontificate, story tell or criticize, they should be teaching moments only. After all, it’s the failing of their managers when employees are expected to know things that they haven’t been told.

Nicole Abbott is a writer and psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in the fields of mental health and addiction. She’s an educator, consultant, lecturer, trainer and facilitator, who has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, college classes and seminars.


Shoplifting Programs and News

shoplifting5If you own a retail store or are managing one, shoplifting is a crime you have to deal with in a daily basis. Shoplifting and employee theft are two of the most damaging crimes for a retail store’s bottom line. If your store has policies regarding shoplifting and employee theft, such policies should be visible; they may serve as a deterrent to shoplifters entering your store, or employees thinking they can get away with stealing merchandise. For more news about shoplifting follow the links below.


Dover calls new shoplifting mugshot program a success

A controversial approach to reducing shoplifting by posting suspects’ arrest photos has been declared a success in Dover, despite complaints about violations of civil rights.

The four-month pilot project called the “Shoplifter Notification Program,” which started in August, produced a 19 percent drop in such crimes, city police said.

“That was huge,” said Cpl. Mark Hoffman, Dover Police Department’s public information officer, who suggested the project after seeing similar efforts on other forces’ webpages.

The drop in shoplifting was especially significant, he said, because the project period included the end-of-year holidays.

“That’s our busiest time of year for shoplifting,” Hoffman said, adding stores also are their busiest and youngsters with school vacations and time on their hands tend to raise the rate of merchandise thefts.


Davenport denies lawsuit claims of police brutality in shoplifting incident

The city of Davenport denies allegations of police brutality in its response to a lawsuit filed by a woman videotaped being hit by an officer after she was accused of shoplifting at Von Maur.

Brandie Redell, 36, of Davenport, filed the civil rights lawsuit in Davenport federal court last July, alleging she was beaten so severely she was hospitalized with a concussion and suffered vision loss.

The suit, filed against the city and Davenport police officers Scott Crow and Vincent Jacobsen, claims the police department makes a habit of “using excessive force against police suspects” and fails to properly discipline offending officers.

In a response filed last week, the city said the officers were justified in their use of force.


Man busted for shoplifting on motorized shopping-cart

SOUTH EUCLID, OH –It’s a miracle! A man on a motorized shopping-cart managed to stand up and run away when security guards tried to stop him from shoplifting at an Ohio Walmart.

An off-duty officer working security at the Walmart in South Euclid, Ohio noticed the man enter the store riding on the cart which is usually reserved for customers who need assistance walking.

A short time later, the man rolled out of the front entrance and set off the alarm. The officer began asking the man if he had any unpaid merchandise.

That’s when the man jumped out of the cart and high-tailed it out into the parking lot.

“We are so lucky to be police officers because every now and then we get the opportunity to


Prevent Shoplifting

theft (13)Many retail businesses invest heavily in the security of their stores. Security guards afford an undeniable benefit to the protection of the goods in the store, although, they are not the only solution in many instances. Small businesses that cannot afford to hire full time security guards have to rely on video surveillance or other measures for protection against theft. Keeping your business safe from shoplifters or employee theft has become a security problem many retailers seem to have, and no solution has presented itself. For more information about how to keep your business safe and other news follow the links below.


Keep Your Business Safe: The Latest in Retail Theft Prevention

It’s not easy being a shoplifter these days. According to the 26th Annual Retail Theft Survey from Jack L. Hayes International, retailers are catching more thieves and dishonest employees than ever before. As apprehensions and recovered dollars increase the world of retail benefits, what’s contributing to these improvements in the industry? What tools and security measures are helping stores catch crooks faster and more effectively?

To help answer these questions, let’s take a look at some of the advanced security measures in place for retail theft prevention today and what they could mean for the coming year.

Video Security

As anybody in a high-cash-volume environment can testify, it’s hard to have eyes everywhere at once. Enter video security. With a digital video monitoring system, retailers have a way to see what’s happening at all times. If someone tries to swipe a product or if an employee tries to steal from the cash drawer, video surveillance makes it easy to catch the perpetrator and recover lost funds.


“Operation – Bundle Up Washington” Reduces Crime

While many of us were bundling up against winter weather, 20 7-Eleven stores in the Tacoma and Federal Way areas of Washington State were wrapping up a 30-day crime spree – thanks to a tremendous coordinated effort by the 7-Eleven, Inc.  Asset Protection team, franchisees, sales associates and local law enforcement agencies.
From Nov. 26 until Christmas Eve, one man committed crimes at 20 7-Eleven stores, as well as at other retail establishments in that area.  But on Christmas Eve, his luck ran out.  Thanks to consistent communication from 7-Eleven, local law enforcement and our retail partners were on the lookout for the perpetrator.  When he struck again, he was immediately identified and taken into custody.

“Franchisees, store managers and sales associates all played crucial roles in this case by quickly reporting incidents to the Asset Protection Hotline,” says Mike Aldridge, 7-Eleven Asset Protection Specialist & Law Enforcement liaison.  “The faster an incident is reported, the faster the Asset Protection team can respond and help bring resolution.”
The Dallas headquarters-based 7-Eleven Asset Protection team reviews all robbery incidents reported to the company’s Asset Protection Hotline.  The team analyzes surveillance video and images from each incident to help solve the case and prevent future incidents from occurring.


NOMi and March Networks deliver first integrated loss prevention and retail analytics solution 

NEW YORK CITY, NY, January 11, 2015 –– NOMi, the dominant in-store marketing and analytics provider, and March Networks, a leading provider of intelligent IP video solutions, today announced their first fully integrated solution for advanced loss prevention and retail analytics. This solution combines high definition (HD) streaming video from NOMi’s recently launched Brickstream 3D LIVE analytics sensor with March Networks’ new Searchlight video-based business intelligence software. It offers a single, easy-to-use platform that loss prevention, operations and marketing groups can use to improve store performance and profitability. March Networks is also the first NOMi alliance member to leverage the new Brickstream 3D LIVE sensor for loss prevention purposes.

Using Searchlight’s browser-based software interface, retailers can access the Brickstream 3D LIVE ONVIF compliant HD video, as well as integrated transaction data from the retailer’s point-of-sale system, to identify instances of potential theft and reduce investigation times from hours to minutes.


Employee Theft and What’s Ahead For The Retail Industry

theft (12)Well trained personnel in a retail store can be an asset for your business. Employees that are poorly trained and poorly rewarded are very unlikely to look for the best interest in your store. Employee theft is common, and a poorly rewarded employee with lots of responsibilities is likely to feel taken advantage of and not feel an obligation towards you or the business. Investing in your employees and the security of your store should be a goal for your business this year. Follow the links below for more information about the state of the retail industry and other stories.


The NRF BIG Show: What’s in Store for Retail in 2015?

Over the past several days the retail community has converged on New York City for Retail’s BIG Show 2015. More than 27,000 industry leaders were on hand at the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center to welcome the 2015 retail calendar in grand fashion.

“The retail industry continues to race forward with innovative models, more tightly integrated channels, and fresh ideas to win over consumers,” says Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “But no matter what’s shaking up the industry, one thing doesn’t change: Retail’s Big Show is always a showcase for what’s new, a place to build partnerships and a look into the future of retail.”

The EXPO Hall

Approximately 700 solution providers and other vendors blanketed multiple levels of exhibition resources in the EXPO hall with the latest in new products and programs. There were fascinating demonstrations throughout the hall demonstrating everything from marketing tools and customer service products to analytics solutions, robotics, and an innovations center where many of the latest products were demonstrated.


Police: Serial shoplifter tries to steal thousands in clothes from Kennewick store

A Hermiston woman with a history of shoplifting arrested is suspected of trying to steal thousands of dollars of clothes from Macy’s at Columbia Center mall.

Jessica M. Reddick, 31, tried to leave the store Monday night with $2,000 worth of clothes, police said. She is banned from all Macy’s stores after several incidents where she allegedly stole items from various Tri-City stores.

A security officer stopped Reddick as she tried to leave through the men’s department, police said. She was arrested and booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of theft and burglary.

Reddick also reportedly had four felony warrants out for her arrest — all related to theft or shoplifting.


Behind your back: How retailers can curb employee theft

Shoplifting is what makes the news but, according to the National Retail Federation, the number one source of retail theft in the United States is committed by a retailer’s own employees.

Respondents in the group’s U.S. Retail Fraud Survey ranked cash theft as the second biggest area of store loss, bookkeeping and other administrative errors third, and shoplifting the fourth. But the first? Employee theft, experienced by 38% of those surveyed.

Theft by retail employees costs companies $14.9 billion annually, more than 46% of losses, according to the ADT/ University of Florida study.

“Employee theft is often a more serious problem than customer theft, especially in retail and food service,” says Forrest Burnson, inventory management researcher at software review company Software Advice.