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Investigation of a Business Crime

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Submitted by Ray Gold, President / General Manager, HTS,

The challenges faced by you- a business owner- can seem endless. You deal with employees, customers, suppliers, landlords, government regulations and more. It’s easy to see how security issues can seem a low priority until an event occurs. Sadly one major crime can wipe out years of hard work. Here are a few situations, based on real events that demonstrate the value of a well-maintained security system.

Here are a few situations, based on real events that demonstrate the value of a well-maintained security system.


A masked armed robber burst into a gas station office late one night ordering the sole clerk onto the floor The robber grabbed more than $1,000 from an unlocked safe, jumped into a car and drove away. He was eventually arrested on an anonymous tip. Police then learned he was a former station employee who picked his target because he knew the surveillance cameras didn’t work.

The station owner quickly made repairs, but he had already lost money and a valued employee who no longer felt safe working there. Surveillance cameras can not only help in investigating crimes, but also in deterring criminals- many will choose another target rather than risk being identified on video. And if the owner had a maintenance agreement with an experienced security vendor, the cameras may have been working when he needed them. Regular tune-ups help keep a video system operating at peak performance, helping to protect employees, customers and property.

False Liability Claims

The owner and employees of a small neighborhood grocery store heard the sound of breaking glass. They ran to the beverage aisle to find a woman lying on the floor, writhing in apparent pain, surrounded by broken bottles of imported drinking water She claimed the floor was already wet when she slipped and crashed into the bottles before falling. The owner helped her to her feet and offered to call for medical help. The woman refused and limped to her car A week later, the owner received a letter from an attorney seeking $10,000 in damages for injuries the woman claimed to have suffered.

This business owner was prepared for a fight. He had a video surveillance system monitoring each aisle. The cameras recorded full time with the video saved for 30 days on cloud-based servers maintained by his security vendor. Logging on with a PC browser, he searched for the time and day of the fall and saw that the “victim” had pulled the bottles off the shelves before throwing herself to the floor. He copied the video and made it available to local police. After being picked up for questioning, the woman admitted to being part of a nine-member ring of slip-and-fall artists organized by the attorney. A little more police work led to all pleading guilty to felony fraud charges.

Employee Theft

The owner of an independent insurance agency was upset that he was routinely missing expensive office equipment and supplies- items that could be easily sold on the Internet. His four employees all denied knowledge of any thefts. Fed up with the costly losses, the owner had a monitored intrusion system installed. Several weeks later several printer cartridges and a laptop were missing. The central station reported that the previous night someone used a proper code to enter the office and soon after rearm the system. The mystery was solved.

There are some smart criminals, but sometimes even smarter business owners.

The employees didn’t realize that each had been given a different code for the control panel, making it easy to know which employee had entered the office that night. Confronted with the evidence, the guilty employee admitted the thefts, made restitution to avoid prosecution and was terminated.

Workplace Violence

A children’s clothing store clerk noticed a woman stuffing boy’s jeans into a shopping bag. The clerk confronted the woman as she headed for an exit. Reaching into her bag, the woman pulled out a canister and sprayed the clerk’s face with pepper spray before running out of the store. The incident required medical treatment for the clerk and caused her to miss a day from work.

That afternoon, the store owner reviewed recorded video of the incident and provided it to local police. It proved helpful in identifying and arresting a suspect. The owner also reviewed the store’s policies and procedures for handling cases of suspected shoplifting. Now all cases are to be referred to a manager or the owner to handle.

Each year in the U.S., 1.75 million lost workdays and $55 million in lost wages are attributed to workplace violence. (see reference #1) That violence can range from bullying to an active shooter event. Security technology and policies and procedures can help reduce these incidents.

The manager of a 24-hour pharmacy ended her night shift in an upstairs office preparing the store’s daily bank deposit. Her estranged husband, armed with a shotgun, walked into the pharmacy and began searching for his wife. He found her in the office behind an unlocked metal door. There, he shot and killed her before turning the gun on himself.

Problems in neighborhoods and homes can spill over into the workplace­ sometimes with tragic results. Determined to not let such a terrible situation be repeated, the pharmacy owner quickly called her security vendor and had an access control system installed on the office door. Now only she and her three managers carry a card key for entry. The door is locked at all times.

Like the anecdotal stories you see here, many challenges can be reduced or eliminated through proactive security planning, and through a partnership with an experienced security provider. Most often that relationship will begin with a thorough security review to identify the weaknesses in your security plans.

For a businesses owner, this assessment can act as a roadmap for choosing security systems and enacting policies and procedures that can make a difference in helping to prevent all types of crime. You’ve worked hard to build your business. It’s wise to protect it.

Ref #1 – Stories included are for illustrative purpose only. Not based on real events.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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