I was recently asked to lend a helping hand to a family friend, who just so happens to run a small grocery store in town. We’ve known the owners of this store for decades. This is the only grocery store in my small, hometown. The current owner and my dad were talking one night and my dad brought up that I do LP investigations for a national retailer. Well, turns out that the grocer wasn’t doing too well. His profits were down and he was getting hammered in theft, mainly alcohol. He asked for my help and I was gladly willing to assist. The first thing we talked about was physical security measures, and what Alpha Security could do for his business.
After spending a few days working in the store, I quickly saw that alcohol theft was a huge problem. Looking over his invoices/deliveries and then his sales, I could see that there was a theft issue. First order of business was to secure all alcohol with bottle lock. It didn’t take long for us to see how the thieves would react.
It wasn’t but maybe a week after installing the bottle locks that I came to the store to check on things. I went to the back office where the owner was at. He was staring at the camera screen. He was watching a thief (try to) steal a bottle of vodka. I had a few minutes, so I watched too. This was going to be good.
So our thief walks over to the vodka, grabs two bottles off the shelf and places them in his back pockets. As he walks towards the rear of the store, he takes one out and begins to inspect it more closely. He’s noticing the bottle lock. With a confused look on his face, we see him approach a stocker. They have a brief interaction and the thief continues on. We later asked the stocker what the guy said. The thief asked if “Alpha Security” was the name of the vodka… Did I mention, he was also pretty drunk?
We continue watching the thief as he attempts to remove the bottle lock. He pulls, pries and even attempts to chew it off. Nothing. As if a light bulb had gone off in his head, he stops dead in his tracks. He begins walking feverishly to the small hardware section of the store. He takes a hammer and starts beating the top of the bottle. Alpha security tags are a bit stronger than you would think and the lock holds up to the light beatings of a drunken thief. Just as we think he’s going to give up, he hits the actual bottle with the hammer, shattering the glass right at the neck.
We both go running down the stairs from the office to meet our thief as he’s walking out the front doors. He’s broken both bottles and has shoved them back into his back pockets. We confront him and he starts to run… only he’s already inebriated so he essentially takes a nose dive into the pavement; vodka spills down his back. As the police arrive on scene, he tries to get rid of the evidence, only to severely cut one of his hands on the broken glass as he pulls it from his back pocket. Not the most elegant thief I had ever encountered.
A few weeks after that I went back to see if the bottle locks were working. There had only been 3 other theft attempts, but each had failed. A recent inventory showed that the store was selling more alcohol than ever, which meant profits were rising. A great day for all.
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