Most of us have experienced the frustration associated with standing in line, waiting to return something at a customer service counter. Even if the line is short, the employee assigned to help you may have treated you in a less than respectful fashion.

Why are you being treated poorly? Depending on their hiring and training policies, it’s possible the person helping you is simply an idiot. Once we filter out those who should never work in customer service, and the number is significant, what’s left?

Retailers lose approximately 100 Billion Dollars each year from shoplifting. A large percentage of this money is used to purchase drugs. Power Tools and expensive items such as Tide Laundry Soap are fan favorites of thieves and organized crime rings. A minivan loaded down with Tide equals cash.

Many drug addicts, particularly heroin addicts, turn to Shoplifting to sustain their drug-fueled lifestyle. A single thief can make as much as $500 to $2500 daily. Many of these criminals are connected to a crew of sorts, organized rings of shoplifters working as a team to take full advantage of each other’s specific skills and connections. I’ve listed a couple of these job opportunities below. Applications are being accepted.

Smash & Grab or Run Out: One or more shoplifters grab valuables such as Power Tools, Kitchen Appliances, Electronics, or Top Brand Blue Jeans and run out of the store. In most cases, an accomplice is waiting close by with a vehicle. Usually, the engine is running, and the license plates have been changed, removed, or concealed in some manner.

Push Out: One or more shoplifters fill one or two shopping carts with valuables and push them outside to a waiting vehicle. Often, the driver has been selected because both themselves and their car are 100% legal right down to checking each and every light on their automobile to prevent being pulled over for a routine traffic stop. Besides the previously listed items of value, Top Brand Laundry Soap, such as Tide, is a criminal fan favorite.

Where does all of this stolen merchandise end up? Very little will go to pawn shops or flea markets. Those days are all but over. Some will be traded directly for drugs. Most will be returned for Gift Cards or sold online.

Gift Cards are big business. Hundreds of Millions of Dollars from Gift Cards acquired from stolen merchandise will be handed out to criminals each year via companies that purchase Gift Cards. These small businesses pay the seller a percentage of the Gift Card’s total value, approximately 70% to 85%. The thieves are organized and use individuals known as RETURNERS to return the stolen items to the same store or another location. Returners have valid Identification and have polished skills when it comes to dealing with customer service employees. Store Policy usually allows the Returner to receive a Gift Card even without a receipt. An ID is almost always required so the Returner can hit one chain of stores a limited amount of times each year. The same Returner will use their ID to cash in at a dozen different retailers yearly. The Returner makes a percentage of the profits from the cash earned after the Gift Card is sold off. A number of shady Gift Card Buying Stores have been shut down for money laundering.

eBay, Amazon, Etsy, OfferUp, Craigslist, and a few other Online Sites are used for some of the stolen merchandise. eBay is still somewhat of a favorite, although in recent years, eBay Management has begun working with law enforcement to curb some of the traffickings. Facebook Marketplace has become the number one location for moving stolen merchandise. Thieves sell items such as ‘new in the box’ Power Tools, Designer Clothes, and anything else you can think of worth money. The discounts, as much as 50% off Brand New Items, draw buyers in fast. Some of these items draw detectives in fast as well. Law Enforcement cannot even begin to scratch the surface regarding the amount of stolen merchandise sold on Facebook Marketplace. Not only does Facebook not assist the Police with slowing down the trafficking, but they won’t even respond to their emails. Facebook cannot be reached by phone, not even for investigators. Facebook Marketplace is the official number-one site for selling stolen merchandise in the United States.

Stores have policies preventing employees from chasing or pursuing thieves outside the store for good reason. It’s perilous. Criminals have been known to leave one or two associates outside in case of a foot pursuit. Overzealous store personnel can easily find themselves facing Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, Knives, Firearms, or simply an overly large and spooky individual. Even armed security personnel have gotten injured because they decided to give Chase. Because of this, most retailers have opted out of chasing thieves. Losses are written off, and everyone goes home to their families.

Joseph Shanklin

January 1, 2022

3 thoughts on “Shoplifting, Gift Cards, Facebook Marketplace, And Organized Retail Crime.

  1. There’s also a new “law” that states a shoplifter won’t be prosecuted if under a certain amount. I think it’s mostly New York and California, but I think other states are starting to implement it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.