Store Employee Explains How They Stole

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Jan 20, 2014

In 2004, Lauren started work at a large CVS in a Washington, D.C. suburb. She says she really needed the job after being unemployed for a while. But after a month on the job, a coworker turned her on to ways she could give friends free merchandise discreetly. Employee theft is the leading cause of shrink at retail stores, according to research from the National Retail Federation. They attribute 44 percent of losses to employees.

What the coworker didn’t warn her about was the three surveillance cameras watching the front of the store and her register. This interview is another installment of our series examining surveillance cases from the other side of the lens, from the perspective of the people who got caught.

How She Did It

  • *** ***** **** ******* ***** ** ********* ****** ** ******** a ***** ****** **** ** *** ********.
  • ** * ******** **** **** *** **** ***** ******, *** would *********** ****/****** *** *********** *** ****** *** *****.
  • *** ***** *** ******* **** * **** **** ***** *** only **** ***** ***** ****.
  • ** * ****** *** ******* *** ***** **** *** **** and *** “**, *** ****** ****!” *** **** ** ** them ** **** ****** *** *** ****

**** ** ***** ********** *** **** ** **** ** *** own, ****** **** ********** ** *** ** * ******** *** month **** *** ***. ****** **** *** ******** ***** *** caught ***** ** ** *** ******** *** *** *** **.

“** ******** **** ** ***** ******, *** * *** ****** enough ** ****** ** **** *** * *** *** **** thing. *’* *** *** **** *** ******. * ***’* **** if **** **** ******* ** **** ** *** ** ** to *** *****, *** ****'* **** ********,” *** ****. **** though *** ******** *** **** ****** ** ********, *** **** coached ***** ****** ** *** ** ** **. ****** **** she ***** *** *** ******** *****.

***** ******* ***** ************ ******* *****, *** *** *** ***** down *** *** ******.

“* ******* * *** ***** ** *** ****, *** **** after * ***** *** ****** * ****, ‘**** **, * may ** **** **** ***** **.’ * *** ***** ** for ** **** **** ** **** **** ***** ** ***** me ** ** **** *** ******* **** ****** **** ****** me ** ****,” *** ****. ***** ****** **** *** *** she *** **** ******** ********* *** *** ** ****.

Missing ***** *** ** *********

*** ******* *** ****** ***** *** ******** **** ****** ** short ** *** *** ** *** ******. **** *** ***** started ******** *** ** *** ********, ** ***** ** * few ******* **** *** *****. *** ** *** *** ******, she ***** **** ****** ******* ** *****. **** ********** ******* its ************* ***** *** ******** **** ** ***** ***** ***** for ***** *******.

“*** *** *** ******* **** ** ** *** **** ** close ** **** **** *** ** **** ********. **** * went ******** **** *** *** **** ********** ****** *****. *** said ***’* **** ******** **, *** ***’* **** ********** * did. * ******’* **** **,” ****** ****. *** ******** ** stealing ***** *** ****** **** *********** ** *** ******* *** the **** ********** **** (**** *********** ***** **** *** *********** ** * **** ********** ****) ***** **** ****** **** “** ***** **” ***** ** her ******** ***** ** ******’* **** ** ******* ** **** items *** ******** *****.

“* *** **** ****** ********** ****,” *** ****. **** *** shots ** *** **** ***** ********* *****: *** ***** ** the ********, *** ******** *** ***** ** *** ***** *** another ***** ******** *** *******.

***** *** ******** ** ********, *** ****** *******, *** *** was ******** *** ***** ** **** ******** **** *** ***** she ****** ***** *** ***** ****. *** *** ***** *** years ********* *** ******* ** *** $**** ** ***********. *** says **** ** ****** *** ****** ** *********** *** ***** she *****. *** ** **** ****** **** ******** *** *** for ****.

******* ***** *** ** *** ******* ****, *** **** *** just ******** ****** **** *** $**** **** ****.

Perception ** ************

****** **** *** ***** *** * ****** ** ** **** and *** ***** *** ******* ****, *** *** *****'* ******** ever ****** *** ******* ** *** *****. *** **** *** always ******* ******* *** ** "*****'* ** ******* *** **** more *** ******."

"*** *** * *** **** ******* *** [** *******] **** you *** **** ****," *** ****.  *** ****** ******** **** in ****. "**** ***** *** *** **** ** ** * lot **** ********* *** ***** **** ***'** ***** ** *** times, ******* ***** ******* *** **********. * ***'* ***** **** not ** **."

CVS ****

*** ******'* ****** *** ********* ******** ** **** ********** *** technology, *** ******* **** *********.

"***/******** *** ********* ******** *** ********** *** *****-**-***-*** **** ********** technology ** ***** ** ****** *** ******* ***** ** *** stores, ******* ** ** ** ******** ** ******** *******. ********* *** also ******** ** ***** ** *** *******'* **** ** ******* and ******** ********* ** *** **** ** *** *********. ** do *** ******* ** *** ******** ******** *** ********** ******* ** do *** **** ** ********* ****."

*** ******** ******* *** *** ** ***** *** **** ********** today ** ** *** ** **** ** ***** *** *** technologies ********* **** *** *********** *** *********-***** *********, *** ***** she **** **** ****** ****** **** ***** **********? **********, ****** says *** ****** ******* ******** ****** *** ********** ***** *** scheme. *** **** ** ***** **** **** ** **** ****** if ** *** ****.

Comments (8)

Could CVS have had one of the earliest BRS Labs installations? It's hardly surprising that CVS declined to provide specifics. Congratulations, IPVM, for breaking the first confirmed story of precrime loss prevention enabled by video surveillance.

"In 2004, Lauren started work at a large CVS in a Washington, D.C. suburb."

"The arrest happened in 2003."

We'd be very interested in implementing similar capabilities if it were affordable.

Good catch. That should be 2004.

One other quick correction: Exception Based Reporting (EBR), not recording.

I'm pretty certain that CVS is using EBR along with video analytics to augment their LP efforts.

The irony of this is that Lauren seems to base her rational for stealing on not getting caught, even being pissy that the coworker who got her started was probably a set up.

Another example of "integrity is about what you do when no one is watching". I say three cheers to cameras everywhere keeping employees honest, especially since they are responsible for such a high percentage of store losses that means higher prices for all of us.

She would still have her job and a good record if she had done the right thing in the beginning. When you steal, you steal from yourself.

Recorded video is the second tool loss prevention reaches for, after the first tool - exception based reporting identifies a store employee with higher refund, void, register variances etc and raises it to the level of visibility. Even with only a few dishonest transactions on video the investigator knows how thefts are being accomplished, the frequency and average loss and thus is armed for a successful interview outcome. We once investigated and prosecuted a new clerk who stole $40,000 in her first 60 days of employment in a VA suburb of DC. Due to poor new employee orientation and supervision she raking it in via voids and underringing sales to neighborhood acquaintances. Just 2 days of video made that a clean, quick investigation.

Retail LP has relied on discrete investigative video for 30+ years because its a tremendous tool capable of documenting dishonesty and making even an investigator trainee successful in interviews. The great blessing is now we don't need a luggage cart to carry reel-to-reel video recorders around!

What is it about Washington DC????

This is a fascinating story, Carlton. Fascinating that a major retailer could possess an LP entity and still allow for all that to happen. And I agree with all above - the P in LP stands for Prevention. As in, all the technology and reporting tools they've mentioned.

But, if you were to rate levels of employee theft skills 1-5 (with 5 being high), I'd give her a ~1.

And if I had to rate the CVS LP crew in her store/region/corp, I would give them a similar grade...

I'm sure that low level employees might sometimes point out, especially in off-handed conversations with each other, some of the more obvious flaws in their stores LP set-up that could allow 'someone' to swipe a candy bar or lipstick on occasion - they are there alot and have eyes.

It's the craftier-thinking ones (notice I did not use the term 'more intelligent') who see these obvious flaws and then, over time, push the envelope further and further, leveraging anything learned over that time for more $$ - until the store simply can't ignore the escalated behavior. A kindergartener might know that they could steal a nickel or a dime off daddy's dresser without him noticing, but if they snag the whole money clip daddy's got to notice. I mean duh.

It sounds as if, at least in 2004 in that particular area, CVS employed 'none of the above' in reference to all of the technologies mentioned by previous posters in this string.

They finally were forced to open an investigation (and probably installed covert cameras on her register specifically) which showed all of the above-mentioned behaviors. I'm surprised everyone in the store wasn't fired once they realized how easy it was to do all that she was doing.

...or maybe they already knew?

CVS overall has an outstanding loss prevention group and program. You simply can prevent all inappropriate behavior in all locations by using only preventive programs and tools. Some folks are going to misbehave regardless of how well trained, how developed the culture of integrity, or how well appreciated they are. It simply will happen and its no reflection on the corporation.

Technology such as the arena IPVM is focused upon brings more effective tools to the task of prevention by deterrance and investigation of those who simply don't care to comply.

Wow Loss Prevention should have been watching the register areas constantly to begin with. Someone from the team should always be alert to cash register activitiy.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports on Retail

ADI's Financials Revealed + W-Box Growth Priority on Oct 15, 2018
  ADI is one of the most powerful distributors in the security industry but how big are they? How much profit do they make? How much do they sell...
Ligowave Wireless Profile - Ubiquiti Competitor on Aug 27, 2018
Ubiquiti has become the most common choice for wireless in video surveillance (see Favorite Wireless Manufacturers) but not without controversy and...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
FST Fails on Jul 17, 2018
FST was one of the hottest startups of the decade, selected as the best new product at ISC West 2011 and backed with tens of millions in...
Arecont Acquisition By Costar on Jul 11, 2018
Arecont Vision acquisition by Costar Technologies has been approved by the court, concluding the bankruptcy process triggered by Arecont's...
UK VSaaS Startup Ocucon on Jul 03, 2018
Decreasing exposure to fraudulent slip-and-fall insurance claims and lawsuits is one of the oldest selling points of video surveillance for retail....
March Networks Targets Cannabis Market on May 10, 2018
Will the next March Networks customer appreciation event be held a steakhouse or at a Taco Bell at 2 am? Can March sell the types of systems to the...
Failed Retail Video Analytics Startup Analyzed on Dec 19, 2017
Most manufacturers in this industry try hard to cover up failure. But an industry startup backed by Silicon Valley's most prestigious accelerator...
This Manufacturer Shuns IP Cameras on Dec 14, 2017
One manufacturer has chosen a bold strategy in avoiding getting caught up in the race to the bottom: shun IP solutions. We spoke with an executive...
Delayed Egress Access Control Tutorial on Oct 04, 2017
Is it ever legal to lock people into a building? The answer is: Yes... under specific situations. With so much of access control driven by life...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Best Alternatives to Banned Dahua and Hikvision on Oct 17, 2018
With the US government ban and a growing number of users banning Dahua and Hikvision, one key question is what to use for low cost? While Dahua and...
Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Knightscope Winning Investors, Struggling With Growth on Oct 16, 2018
While Knightscope's new financials show the company only winning 11 new customers in the past 12 months, the company continues to win new...
Integrator Laptop Guide on Oct 16, 2018
This 18-page guide provides guidance and statistics about integrator laptop use. 150 integrators explained to IPVM in detail about their laptops,...
Huawei Admits AI "Bubble" on Oct 16, 2018
A fascinating article from the Chinese government's Global Times: Huawei’s AI ambition to reshape industries. While the Global Times talks about...
ADI's Financials Revealed + W-Box Growth Priority on Oct 15, 2018
  ADI is one of the most powerful distributors in the security industry but how big are they? How much profit do they make? How much do they sell...
Dahua Face Recognition Camera Tested on Oct 15, 2018
Dahua has been one of the industry's most vocal proponents of the value that AI creates: As part of this, Dahua has released a facial...
Amazon Touts Home Security Market Disruption on Oct 15, 2018
Amazon is coming for ADT and all of home security. Indeed, Amazon is advertising this as, in their own words, calling home security a: Inside...
Higher Power PoE 802.3bt Ratified, Impact on Security Products Examined on Oct 12, 2018
Power over Ethernet has become one of the most popular features of many video, access, and other security products. See our PoE for IP Video...
"New Zealand Govt Uses Chinese Cameras Banned In US", Considers Security Audit on Oct 12, 2018
Newsroom NZ has issued a report: "NZ Govt uses Chinese cameras banned in US": This comes after the US federal government banned purchases of...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact