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  Lessons in Organized Crime and how to get your stolen merchandise back!  

   By :  Ravinder
    May 02, 2017    Views: 1404
The Halo Metrics team and I recently attended a terrific Asset Protection workshop put on by the Loss Prevention team at Best Buy including Martin Dempsey, Victor Vilas, and Joe Haddad.  With a room full of Loss Prevention professionals the agenda featured a presentation by Doug Fell from the Vancouver Police Department’s Anti-Fencing Unit.  Doug speaks at many of these events and throughout his lengthy career has accumulated numerous stories and insights on how organized crime works and the impact on retailers.  
 
We also learned what life is like from the point of view of those committing the crimes.  Kevin McArthur from the Hope for Freedom Society spoke eloquently about how mostly young men fall into a life of crime at their weakest moments of addiction and personal tragedies. He admits that there are those who are hardened criminals who will never change. But as in his own example, people can recover and rejoin society as positive and productive members.  It was valuable to hear him speak.
 
We all know theft from shoplifting is fuel for bigger issues related to organized crime.  Police departments and retailers are working together to help stop this through various creative strategies.  Doug’s team has been successful in using Civil Forfeiture laws to hurt organized criminals where it matters the most. In their wallets!
 
Photo: JENNIFER GAUTHIER/METRO
[Detective Const. Doug Fell motions to the baby formula and other goods police seized in early November from an individual who is expected to face numerous charges.]
 
It takes a tremendous amount of effort to catch the bad guys. The success stories end with examples of prosecution of the criminals and recovery of the stolen goods.  We see some of these recoveries on the news when the stolen merchandise is spread out across tables or floor space in a warehouse. These cases take time to come to a successful end.
 
Photo: THANDI FLETCHER/METRO
[Among the stolen items, police seized 3,500 razor blades stolen from local Metro Vancouver pharmacies, including London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart, as part of a large-scale fencing ring operating out of a convenience store in Surrey.]
 
 
Doug pointed out something very simple that can help the police and retailer.  The police are not experts in your product or how it is sold or how you can track it.  When they come upon an individual who has 50 packs of razor blades or 24 containers of infant formula how can they tell if these items were stolen?? That’s where the experience of a retail loss prevention expert comes in handy.  You know the typical life cycle of an item and if someone has way too many for normal use.  You have access to your inventory database and can figure out if the merchandise is missing from your store.
 
But perhaps the simplest thing that one can do to help the police is to simply tag the items with your store logo and location or some other way to uniquely identify the goods. If the recovered items can be identified stolen from a specific store it speeds up the process tremendously.  Better yet, once recovered the items can be returned back to your business!!  The police love returning stolen merchandise once the bad guys have been caught.
 
Photo: RAVINDER SANGHA
 
What happens when they can’t return the stolen goods to the rightful owner? After a waiting period the items typically go to a Police Recovered Goods auction like the one held in Surrey, British Columbia this past weekend.  In an interview with News1130 VPD Supervisor of Property and Evidence Control, Justin Hull stated: “It’s bittersweet because we do have a pretty impressive haul, but that means we’re unsuccessful in getting a lot of these items back to their owners.”
 
It was amazing to see bags full of batteries, razor blades, Tide detergent pods and much, much more! I just happened to attend this auction looking to purchase one of the hundreds of bicycles being sold.  But it really emphasized how much really gets stolen and that this warehouse was just a small sample of that!
 
Halo Metrics has introduced the new 2829s Micro SWAT label to our customers in Canada.  It works with an existing RF based EAS systems but more importantly it is very difficult to remove and leaves behind a mark on the stolen product regardless of what EAS system you use.  This mark can be custom printed with your store information.  See the product details here and watch a quick video of the tag from our partners at Checkpoint Systems here:
 
  
Contact Halo Metrics to learn more about the SWAT label and what other options are available to prevent theft.
 
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