Shop lifting guide

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Shop lifting guide

Post by DNR »

Suck-o guide to Shoplifting and Retail Fraud.
by a former loss prevention supervisor

Shoplifting is a tough crime, you have to commit several overt acts to get away. You have to remove the item from the shelf, defeat or remove a security tag, and then walk past the cashier on the way to the door while concealing it. Shoplifting cost retailers billions of dollars, and they try to stem the flow of loss to increase profit. Like any company though, security is not discussed in the boardroom of the bigshots, so it gets a small budget. Stores can also claim the loss for insurance money, corporate-to-corporate discounts, so they can still make money on a loss. Shoplifting on the other hand, you hope to bypass people contact, and it is the best way to rob the place without breaking in or jacking it up with a handgun.

Since I am having a cool laid back day with no topic on my mind I thought I write this quick tutorial on how to commit retail fraud, it is a tongue in cheek look, as insecurity can teach you about security.



Know your laws

Go to a library or use the internet to research the penalties and degrees of retail fraud. Here, if you steal more than $200 worth of items, its a felony and I can seize you anyway I can, even as a citizen's arrest (as it is in some employment, the security officer has all liability in a bad stop). If you steal under $200, its a misdemeanor, and most store policies limit methods to detain the shoplifter. In many cases, misdemeanor thefts were, just recovering the stolen item and writing an internal store report. Store policy, and if they disobey store policy they get fired. It is legal CYA (cover your ass) for corporate, they rather let a $199 thief get away, rather than risk a lawsuit over injuries and misarrest. Ignorance is not a valid defense in court.



Know your store

So Know Your Local Laws, also includes, Know the Store Policy on shoplifting. Security personnel are generally prohibited from interacting with fellow employees due to their sensitive work. BTW, if you are employed at the same place you steal from, its automatically a 5 year felony - Embezzlement. It can be a $16 CD = felony charge. If you can, find a security officer's manual or befriend a security or former security person so you can find this out. Store policies more than state laws will determine where you will shoplift. You don't want to rob a store that allows off-duty cops working full rights to bust you. You want to rob the store that has a lax policy - like do not touch, and do not chase.



Store Security Methods

This is based on actual experience and hands-on by the author.

CCTV- this is one of the best and hottest item in combating security. But - only the best stores have them. Many stores have black and white CCTV that display poor detail and light, being taped on a video tape that has been taped over 325 times already. Good store security cameras would be in color (in B/W its easy to mix up shirt color under pressure), provide decent detail, and be controllable to be in the right time and right place. Many stores, even the good ones, have dead spots for video, weather a shelf that is too high, or camera deadzone- because you can't have a camera everywhere. Your greatest threat is video as playback is pretty undeniable in court, the tape don't lie....
The odds you have in your favor are:
No one is running the cameras to observe you, the video tape in the recorder is so old, it skips more than a 98 year old lady's heart. You also hope the equipment is old and not working. I have visited stores that had huge video blackout areas, old. broken cameras, and every employee knew where it was - so they told their friends, those friends told their friends, etc (I swapped bad cameras for good ones and busted people by the truckload in one weekend - they thought the camera was still dead)

Camera and equipment maintence is a security budget item, and no one cares. VCR recorders stopped working, we were told to cycle the tapes anyways until a new one comes by. Video can be watched at the front desk and a back room. You might be able to shoulder surf and see what areas the camera covers, but be aware of a non-published roving camera that could be operated in the backroom. Its generally run on employees.

Security Tags- these are the strips you find on small items. They are RF, the tag is like a oscilloscope it reflects RF back to a sender/receiver like a Sensomatic Door sentry. I caught a kid stealing stuff, he had peeled all the tags off the small items, but made one mistake, he stepped on one, and it set off the alarm on the way out.. Tags can now come already inside the product, as the manufacturer is assisting with loss prevention by packaging the tag inside the product at the plant. Security tags can be defeated if you understand how they work. BTW, sometimes the Door Sentry is so bothersome with false alarms, they are not even on! The sensor matic should trip even on valid sales, because the cashier did not properly swipe the tag or remove it , so you should observe it going off.. Do not think you can by pass the machine, going near it can set it off. You need to be devoid of tags or have them damaged enough they won't work. You can search on the internet for providers of security tags for full tech specs! I have also brought some home from a store that forgot to remove them, only to disassemble them (hacked 'em). The fucked up ones are the ones with ink in them, have fun! Security tag defeat is an art to some, a simple needle shoved through a sensor can disable it from setting off the alarm. Its an art, cuz if you do it wrong, you're busted. I told you about the 'hidden' pre-packaged sensor tag? Remember those are put on via assembly line, they will always put them in the SAME place in the box, so a razor blade can slice the package in the right place and destroy the tag.. Again, go online and search for RF tag makers to see the variety of the, some are thin as a sticker, some leak ink if you f-it up. I busted a lady with a aluminum foil lined bag, it doesn't work, lol. Also, watch who is answering the alarms at the door, and exploit them, either they will get busy with a back log and let everyone through, or they will be tied up as not to even react to the alarm. If the person is tied up even 20 feet away, remember, you'll be 20 feet out the door when they respond to the alarm. The security person responding to the alarm is the critical failure of this security feature. I have seen people set off a metal detector, and then point at a belt buckle to security, the security guy only wands the belt buckle instead of checking all over (fat asses don't like to search low, they can't bend their knees to check your socks). Like CCTV equipment if it breaks down, the neighborhood can detect that and have a free shoplift run while a week goes by waiting for the repair tech. Sometimes a whole year goes by, and the whole world know you ain't got security..The sensor tag is only a part of loss prevention, it is only as good as the people watching it and checking, social engineering applies here.

Security Personnel - You may or may not have someone actually watching the cameras, as they have other task to do, like check receipts at the door, unlock a expensive item cabinet, or go on a break. The ideal setup is to have one person on the cameras, and one person on the floor. Sometimes, it is one person on the camera, until they can get a manager to relieve them, so they can go on the floor to catch someone. (managers will sometimes be busy and say "What are they stealing? Thats it? Let 'em go" wave bye bye) Security personnel are usually protected by laws that cover Agent of the Merchant, as an appointed agent by the store owner, you have rights to perform apprehensions. Store policy overrides any laws, such as do not apprehend if the person leaves the front door, or do not touch the person - even if the law entitles them to grab you by force. Best Buy policy was this: If you did not observe the person take the item off the shelf prior to hiding it, it was no good. They could have walked in with the item. If you lose sight of the person that did remove and item and appeared to be concealing or defeating a security tag, it was no good, because the person can pass it off to someone else, or discard it. You cannot stop someone at the door if there is any uncertainty. If I stopped someone and detain them for interrogation, and they did not have any property on them, I could get fired for violating store policy. Being of opposite sex helps, most security are males and have personal and store policy ethics to deal with. Females cannot be searched by a male, (unless there is a threat of weapon, and even then it has to be confined to where a weapon maybe hidden, no I have never found a .25 auto in a snatch) Women have been let go because they got loud and yelling about "touching her privates" and "sex abuse", the manager doesn't care if they have a 54" plasma TV between their legs, they are embarrassed by the scene. Social engineer is very important to shoplifting, especially if you want to return the shit you just stole 15 minutes ago.

Security Personnel part 2 - Some stores employ plainclothes security, some stores have them where easily identifiable clothes. Its a matter of preference over "visible deterrent" or "undercover detection". Some stores don't have cameras, sensor tags, or visible security, they employ plain clothes people, and some can look real good. Some of these plainclothes are part-time cops because of the extra sensitive nature of plain clothes ops. The rule is simple, if someone is watching you steal, it could be a security officer. I looked through shelves to catch an old man stealing software disks, I stood next to people stealing while agreeing with them "This store sucks, yeap, oh BTW you are under arrest!" Store policy dictates what weapons can be carried, if they are not off-duty police officers, they likely do not have any. Pepper spray is a liability issue, lawsuits from mommas and babies coughing on pepper overspray. Flashlights are not allowed, as it could be used to 'beat' someone. Ever try beating someone with a 4" starfire? Many security personnel are on their own as far as hand-to-hand combat, just hope you don't get a jiu-jitsu student. I have seen fights lasting 15 minutes before the police arrived, its not worth it for a few items, not for you or the security officer. Plain clothes officers have high profile duties, usually checking out going receipts at the door and checking when the Sensor tag alarm goes off. These can be the lowest paid person in the store, and maybe given the position because they are too ugly and dumb to do anything. I call those guys, bulletstops, hide behind them in a robbery, they'll stop bullets by virtue of their fat asses.

If you are stopped

Don't fight physically, they can revert back to state laws on self-defense and override any store policy. Security will attempt to move you away from the exits and into a back room. This limits your options. If you can run without injuring anyone, its a good idea. They could have you on video tape, but even the police cannot get a name, phone number, address, from a face on grainy video. If you can flee, most store policies restrain people from pursuing. I have seen fat black ladies hollering and pushing at the front door - they did get away. Come back to the store, you'll be busted if they kept the video tape on you, I have done so. Have fake ID, some stores have policy of taking a criminal report and forwarding it to a prosecutor or just keeping it on file. They have no way to verify ID like police do. If you do not have ID, the police will almost always be called, because they can't write a report with no name. I have busted people when they couldn't lie right "How old are you?" "18" "Ok, hmm whats your date of birth?" - Watch them try to do the math age=date of birth, I am like "come on, you don't know your own birthday?"

Try to detect a security force closing in on you, if they haven't gotten close enough, ditch everything. The worst they can charge with is destroying property, malicious destruction, or plain old disorderly and trespass. It looks bad when they haul you in to the office only to find you have nothing on you. If you are caught, figure they have evidence on you, either you had it hidden on you, or they have video tape of you peeling the sensor tag and hiding it in your crotch. Returning the item (under $200?) being cooperative and having identification might get you off with a trespass warning. But don't count on it. Once they get you into a back office, you are trapped. Again, at best, you need to flee the store. For a low dollar crime, cops might not even respond to the store's call for a shoplifter, especially one that has left the scene without leaving a name, address, and social security number. Cops will respond to injury calls, so if you hurt someone running, you've just pissed off the police.

Extra tips on fleeing:

1. Cover the license plate on your car

2. Do not park your car in the parking lot of the store you are planning to stop-n-rob.

3. Following the above rules allows you to drive off in a careful, quiet, unnoticed way. Running down old bags in the parking lot is not considered 'quiet'.

4.Make sure you can open the car door while carrying all the loot you have. I caught one guy in the parking lot because he was careful to set down his stolen puter stuff, while trying to get his car keys in pocket. Otherwise a get-away driver is ideal.

5. Get rid of evidence ASAP, even stash the property somewhere until the heat dies down. If the police don't find it on you, its a done case. They are not going to waste time on a misdemeanor. Ever see a black guy walking down the street wearing a bright color t-shirt? Chances are he has a different color t-shirt on underneath - everyone will be so focused on the one colored t-shirt and forget about the black guy wearing another color..

6. Don't shit in your own backyard, police can drive around and match up your description and at least hassle you. If you rob the store down the street, you can't go back to it, pretending nothing happened.

7. Don't fill out a job/credit application, lose your wallet at the counter, or get reconised by a high school buddy before you run.



Tools of the shoplifter

The most common tools are razors and wirecutters. Wirecutters for the sensor tags you see on clothes, the razors for slicing open product or damaging tags. Sensor tags can be peeled off , but if you are caught, you'll be tossed out right away. Razors are a hazard to the security officer, as it can be used against them. To do so, makes you guilty of a Felony assault, is it worth it for a $26 CD set of Barry Manilow? Possessing these tools can be defacto burglary tools, sometimes a felony in some areas. So getting stopped by a off-duty cop is bad news. Since shoplifting is stealing anything retail, the best theif always comes with the appropriate tool, chisels, hammers, prybars, baggy pants, fake-ass pregnancies, and a good plan. Consider on having a person as a distracter, to distract while you make your getaway or robbery. A lady yelling up at the returns desk works well. "Where is my motherfuxking money?!" Your best tool may be the running shoes on your feet and your brain.

Returns
Researching your store can also tell you if they have a lax return policy. With bogus ID you can easily return items you stole. Peel off the price tag as it has the store ID on it, if you return it to another store, they will notice it. Becoming loud and argumentative helps too, I have have seen so many returns when some lady got up and started yelling. Instand refund, cash.

Well, I hope you never need to steal to live. People should not have to starve or go with out some basic survival shit like a TV or a Ipod. I am also cynical on big corportate money, so f-them anyways. On the other hand if you steal, you are playing a game of cat and mouse, and some days you will be the mouse..

All rights pissed away as the internet is insecure anyways. If you get caught shoplifting it is your own damn fault, and not suck-o's - We told you to get a good get-away driver dumbass.

DNR
Last edited by DNR on 08 May 2006, 07:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Gogeta70 »

Nice guide DNR. I should also add that in some american states, they have something called the 'sidewalk rule'. Meaning that if you leave the property of the store you've stolen from after being chased, they can't chase you after you've left the property. If they do, and then they touch you, punch them in the nuts and run, it's self defence. :P
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It works on my machine...

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Post by Necrix »

Pretty kool guide :)
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LBG

Post by LBG »

gogeta70 wrote:Nice guide DNR. I should also add that in some american states, they have something called the 'sidewalk rule'. Meaning that if you leave the property of the store you've stolen from after being chased, they can't chase you after you've left the property. If they do, and then they touch you, punch them in the nuts and run, it's self defence. :P
Yah, but that hardly ever works:)

A few times in my youth I and my friends were busted shoplifting. Even when we left the property, the cops (or rent-a-cops) still collared us.
Look at it this way: You get busted, go in front of a judge (or whatever), they will believe the cop (or rent-a-cop) over you.

Beware of two-way mirrors. (Got caught once that way 13 years ago lol). Two-way mirrors are built *into* the wall, whereas reg mirrors are secured *onto* the wall.

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Post by Necrix »

LBG wrote: Beware of two-way mirrors. (Got caught once that way 13 years ago lol). Two-way mirrors are built *into* the wall, whereas reg mirrors are secured *onto* the wall.
Haha..yes, my local BlockBuster video store has one of these...it's obvious as hell, but I suppose it's effective. Bah..I don't like BlockBuster, anyway :p.

I was never caught by authorities before, but when I was younger...my mom caught my brother's and I after my oldest brother pilled his jacket with just TOO much Office Deopt supplies *smacks head*
lmao.

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Post by Stavros »

This reminds me of one of my friends. Whenever he goes into Hudson's and anything that he touches seems to disappear into his jacket.

For those who don't know what Hudson's is, it is a second-hand shop where "damaged" goods from shops that have had fires, water-damaged goods and the like. Back when I was a lot younger they used to have way better deals. Now-a-days, they mark it at full price and mark it down like 20% at first, which is rediculous since nothing has a warranty.

Back to the subject. The other 2 good friends have tried stealing shit from there, but they just aren't thieves.

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stealing from your employer

Post by DNR »

I should do a piece on "Stealing from your employer" ?
ok? Here goes..

Basic techiques to removing product from the building:

1. trashing - hide the items in the outgoing trash, subvert the items before the dumpster or come back afterhours. Retail stores that have Trash compactors still have weaknesses - the gap between the building and the trash compactor allows small items to be slipped out through a rubber/canvas bumper, like cameras, ipods, cd's , etc You would come back afterdark to find your loot on the ground by the trash compactor.

2. remove with regular outgoing traffic - you want the impression of normal traffic as not to make anyone suspicious. In a retail store for example, you would have a friend come in the store and buy a inexpensive large item, like a laundry hamper - with your stolen CDs, DVDs, video camera, etc stuffed inside. As a loss prevention officer we spot this because someone tries to dig a box out from under several boxes of the same thing, the one on the bottom is the 'loaded' one of course. We caught an employee trying to buy a CD holder rack, but an officer walked over and picked it up, it was too heavy - full of stolen CDs..

3. Petty cash box - avoid this. Records are kept on petty cash, so missing funds will be detected. I boobytrapped one box with boobytrap powder - it stains your hands deep purple for days..

4. Plan the theft when people are busy or not there. People can be pretty predictable, break times, lunch time, punchout time. People will also be so focused on what they are going to do off work, that you'll be invisible.

5. make sure someone else can be blamed. If a cabinet is left unlocked by another employee, it shifts the focus off you ; ) Make sure other people have access to the area you are going to steal from. Its the company's own fault for having poor physical security and procedures - f-'em.

Embezzelment is a felony in most cases, even stealing a $16 cd will get you at least with a felony conviction. This also violates the 2nd rule of stealing - don't shxt in your own backyard...

DNR
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Post by Xonet »

some nice hints i didnt think off, ill be more carefull in the future ;)
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Post by FrankB »

Brilliant topic DNR :-)))

That will socialize a bunch of people here ;-)


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Post by FateSquared »

Two thumbs up! You did a good job explaining the details. I advise people to pay instead of steal. If you are really good in this art, then be prepared for the worst. No matter how good you are, there is always someone better waiting for you to slip.

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Post by Tep »

haha well i have decided to resurface on suck-o again =P its been a while lol

i recently picked up a graffiti addiction :lol:

so "racking" or stealing paint had become a regular thing for me

And i just recently got caught =/

so just some tips i think would be helpful to the would be thief:

Know who you are stealing with. If you get caught with someone who is banned they will have Criminal Trespassing as a charge which just got raised to a felony here so the police will most likely be called

Most large stores will just ban you from all of their stores and affiliates for life without calling the cops or prosecuting

i.e. Wal-mart if that total of what your taking is less than 25 you'll get a friendly escort to a back room or maybe even one by the front doors (good time to run is when the guy is unlocking the door to the office) talked at for a bit then have to sign a paper agreeing to never enter a wal-mart world wide!

you can obviously go back into walmarts i wouldn't recommend the one you stole from however its not like they have a most wanted list and even if they did the employees do not get paid enough to keep a look out

just dont get caught stealing from them again or it will involve the police for you and for whom ever is with you


also look at stealing as a matter of WHEN you get caught not IF.

over confidence will make you sloppy and probably not notice the guy following you around the store on you way out or something else of that nature

but you can also be to paranoid
roaming about the store aimlessly and constantly looking around would sure look suspicious

so have an idea of what you want and the best way to conceal it

also in wal-mart if it under 20$ USD no RF tag unless its something like a CD or anything in Electronic for that matter

i donno just my 10 cents that felt might be useful =/

Also with the Security tags

well the ones that dont have ink in them can be deactivated by a strong magnet

ever notice when you buy a CD or Game the cashier runs it across a certain thing(sorry for being so broad here i am unsure as to what they call it) on the counter 3 times

the same effect can be accomplished with a strong magnet ran across it three times

EDIT: Wow i apologize i didn't take the time to notice this was posted in 06 sorry for the neckropost
Last edited by Tep on 23 Feb 2009, 13:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by DNR »

welcome back Tep, thanks for adding to the Shop Lifting thread.
Don't get caught any more :wink:

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Post by Still_Learning »

A very very long time ago I got busted for lifting some music cd's from the store by the video camera in the ceiling.

Another good idea is to use tin foil to disable the thing from going off when you walk threw the door (RFID chips in the merchandise?), perhaps lining a shopping bag from another store in the mall with tin foil or inside of your jacket or pants,ect.. when my parents kicked me out of the house at 17 i got a little studio apartment with like 4 or 5 of us living in there, to get food sometimes they would grab a baseball bat or hockey stick and everyone gang up together and just walk in the grocery store and take whatever we wanted and the store people were too scared to stop from walking out of the store because they knew what would happen to them. They could call the police but they would be gone by the time they got there. I personally dont shop lift.. (except for that one time i was busted when i was like 14) but have seen people have to do it to survive, like say going in to steal a cuban sandwich from the store or whatever.. would not steal from an employer because that means you allready have a job and have no need to shoplift :D esp with now a days you can just download most of all that stuff for free no reason to actully shoplift it from the store
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Post by Gogeta70 »

The foil doesn't work. Didn't you read the initial post?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It works on my machine...

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Post by Still_Learning »

gogeta70 wrote:The foil doesn't work. Didn't you read the initial post?
Have you ever tried it for yourself? Why do they make RFID signal blocking wallets out of foil then?

Code: Select all

http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/security/8cdd/
maybe their foil was not properly in place or lined correctly. The way (people i used to know) did it was pretty much just strong arming everything.. or another idea is go in the day after christmas, rip the tag off of something expensive maybe like a sports jersey then bring it directly to the returns cashier and say you got it as a christmas present and you want a refund.. instant 100$ cash there is a bunch of ways to steal from stores its like hacking (allthough now a days I am more white hat) beleive in Karma so I dont steal from people, unless they deserve it
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