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How to Spot a Shoplifter

NCJ Number
International Security Review Dated: (January 1980) Pages: 54-57
H Gluck
Date Published
4 pages
Warning signs that can indicate potential shoplifters and methods and equipment used by shoplifters are described in this article as well as some specific measures to prevent shoplifting.
Shoplifters may use long coats, shoulder bags, umbrellas, briefcases, cardboard boxes, and hooks as aids to concealing merchandise. They may train children to shoplift or may work as a team so that one team member distracts the salesperson while the other shoplifts. They may be impulsive shoplifters who have never shoplifted before or they may be professionals who know all the tricks of the trade. Suspicious individuals include persons who constantly look over their shoulder, persons who simply stay in the store for a long period of time and go from one display to another, or persons who handle an item such as a package giveaway item for too long a time and then turn away from the salesperson's vision. To prevent shoplifting, employees should be attentive to customers, watch for warning signs of shoplifting, use chained jackets or electronic tags attached to clothing, limit items taken into dressing rooms, check packages, and develop teamwork for dealing with teams or groups of shoplifters. Managers can educate employees in the techniques of shoplifters and can offer rewards to help prevent shoplifting. In addition, they can keep up to date on new shoplifting laws.


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