View Full Version : OT - What should he of done?

09-10-2003, 01:17 PM
Just had a mate talk to me today about an incident that just happened to him about 30mins ago.

He told me about a customer who was acting suspicious and knew something was up that he thought he'd just play along, he took down the guys registration number of the car and what it was, as well as a description of the guy and the passengers in the car.

The guy piles on the counter, a lot of expensive items and asking if he could get a box for the items or check whether he has a catalogue for some of the items (just ways of distractions, sending him out back to fetch a catalogue), knowing the guy wasn't going to pay for any of the stuff he just went about it casually. The guy then said he's just going back to his car to get his EFTPOS card. The guy leaves and is never seen again.

My mate then calls the police reports what just happened and the police said they'll note it as a suspicious car but unless he could prove the guy was shoplifting then that's all they will do, he has to find out what went missing and talk about it to his local police station. He just thought if he called them at the soonest, it would have been better, he didn't look for anything missing till after the call and he said he's found a few items missing now and is worried his boss will be unimpressed with the action he took. He could have just hit the guy over the head with a hammer.

He also said that the guy gave a false name and a phone number that didn't work as well as a mobile number that wasn't active, which he had the office lady check, during the guys wandering about the store.

I'm just wondering if he's done anything wrong. I've never been in that sort of situation but if I was I'd probably go for a shotgun under the counter :P but apart from that, he didn't endanger himself and I thought he noted enough information about the person, and now that he's found the items missing, does he really have to travel out of his way to the police to report it, he thought phoning them was sufficient enough but it sounds like they won't do anything about it. I think if my mate sees the guy again then obviously he's going to do something stupid.

09-10-2003, 01:33 PM
Did the store have security cameras? or any witnesses? like others who was in the store?

Chemical Ali
09-10-2003, 01:36 PM
I think he did exactly the right thing -- just goes to show how lazy/unenthusiastic and/or under-resourced the coppers are.
That's a pathetic response from the cops especially given that your mate has given them so much info.

09-10-2003, 01:39 PM
Difficult question, seeing as everyone has different opinions on what is considered acceptable behaviour.

If it had been me in that situation as soon as i suspected something i would have turfed him from the shop.

But, I do have a habit of upsetting people and have even been known to go overboard on the odd occasion…. :D

09-10-2003, 01:42 PM
-- just goes
> to show how lazy/unenthusiastic and/or
> under-resourced the coppers are.
> That's a pathetic response from the cops
And in the absence of any evidence that an offence had been committed, just what do you think the cops should have done ? Get real ...

09-10-2003, 01:46 PM
well he mentioned things have gone missing..
aint that evidence enuf that a shoplift has happened...

it just the fact...was it that "suspicious" guy or was there a shoplift earlier in the day and therefore he came in looking weird etc and doing what he did...and things found missing and point the finger at him coz of his actions...

so yeah it sucks that this happens in nz...just gotta have better security cameras and more honest ppl

09-10-2003, 01:48 PM
> And in the absence of any evidence that an offence
> had been committed, just what do you think the cops
> should have done ? Get real ...

I think the police should have done the job out tax money pays them to do.

Which would have ment finding thet person and car as soon as possible.

If my house gets robbed would i be in the same sitiatuion?...prove it with hard evidence or get knotted?

As much as anything it shows the poor attitude of the police,and a pathetic set of standards.If they can't do their job then fire them.

Billy T
09-10-2003, 01:48 PM
To do anything he must go physically to the nearest Police Station and file a report.

When you think about it, that is a protection for us all as it reduces the number of spurious and/or malicious complaints. Insurance companies also require a copy of the formal Police documentation advising the loss or theft. Keeps down claims for losses that never happened.

Nothing stops a determined fraudster or somebody really out to get you, but the present system helps so I'd advise your friend to go in and report his suspicions. You never know, the Police may just recognise some of the details he gives and be off on the miscreant's trail.

We had a cellphone stolen and duly reported it to the Rozzers. When Telecom gave the Police a log of calls (numbers, names and addresses) made from the phone by the thief, they recognised some known local villains. A surprise visit followed!


Billy 8-{)
[pre][b]It is not always easy to do the right thing, but
you or your friend may get some quiet satisfaction
from trying to prevent similar thefts at other stores.

09-10-2003, 01:55 PM
The absence of evidence is the problem, and who knows, do the cops really get calls that mean sh!t to them? Every call I would hope to them they take seriously, I can see why he called them, as he can't just visit the local station which is in another suburb from where he works to explain his case, but it looks he may have to just to get the results he needs.

I don't know, I have my problems with authority now and again, and I don't know whether he needs to gather a lot of evidence in such a short time just to explain his case, he did say he called them straight after the car sped off and that if he just lied about witnessing it they probably would have taken action then, but why should he have to lie?, how much more evidence is he going to need? The guy for starters lied about what he was about to do, do people go into stores say they are going to get their EFTPOS card out of their car, jump in and speed off?

He's already recorded the items that are missing prior to the guys dwindling in the store and now he has to do his own investigation. I don't think he should blame himself though, or worry about his boss taking his head off. I would just tell him that his boss should have better security measures in place but obviously they don't.

Maybe we should not worry about the police investigating things like this? Maybe we should just let them be the traffic controllers they love to be, at least we have less drunks on the road or speedsters now aye? Criminals aren't a problem in NZ.

09-10-2003, 02:11 PM
Well I don't know about getting satisfaction, as I remember preventing a car thief and ended up being accused of it because I decided I would tell the owner what I witnessed.

09-10-2003, 03:05 PM
Does the store have any policies for what to do in that situation? The store I work at has policies of what we're meant to do in an armed robbery and we've been told some guidlines as to what to do with shoplifting.

The best idea is to not let the theft happen in the first place. The person had no right to be in the shop in the first place your friend could have turfed them out when they thought they seemed a tad dodgy.

At work the other day one of the managers saw someone looking like they were going to grab one of the shavers from the cabinet, he looked away briefly and sure enough the guy had moved somewhere else. Manager just went over and stood by him then walked away after around a minute. Turns round and what do you know, there is a shaver sitting on the toasters.

Billy T
09-10-2003, 03:09 PM
Well Kame, we all have our brushes with the law, and I have had mine in past years (and again on the weekend when I got leadfooted on an empty road early Sunday morning when all good coppers ought to have been either asleep or at church, but that's another story :8})

Those experiences haven't stopped me from recognising the need for law and order, or from understanding that Police officers are human, with all the weaknesses and frailties that implies, so if I see something wrong I report it. You just never know when being a good citizen might save a life, and if it was your own nearest and dearest at risk you would sure want anybody nearby to get involved.

Your car theft experience sounds pretty hairy and distressing, but maybe the owner got a different view. From the sound of it you sorted it out OK but the aggro does live on after those experiences. That response is pretty much burned into us all in childhood because it is hard to grow up without being unjustly accused (and convicted) at some stage or other of something we didn't do. Siblings are the worst accusers and forgetters of the truth, followed by so-called friends!!


Billy 8-{) :|

09-10-2003, 04:21 PM
Well lets look at it at their view, so they don't have means of getting upfront evidence, I'm sure we never use to rely on security cameras a few years back, if he had checked what went missing first and then reported it? Could have taken a few minutes to find would they act differently? As they now have an idea of what they are looking for.

The items missing, well they can easily be sold now, but he does have serial numbers on a few items so that's a good thing.

I just thought, false name, a phone number that didn't work, a mobile number that wasn't registered would brighten a light in someone's head over there but none of that applied, another thing is, the guy dumps a whole pile of items on the counter and gets in his car and leaves. He said it would have been nice if they sent someone out to take his report as he can't get to the nearest station to report it and I understand that, and he has to front up to his boss what happened or if he doesn't he could be accused from his boss that he took it, and would his boss need evidence? He told me this is the first time something like this has happened to the company.

I may have to add more to the companies situation, they are small business, a few staff, himself, the office lady and the managing director. The company has only been in business for a few years. He's got a lot of responsibility, in fact too much to me for him to handle by himself yet until the business becomes bigger he's helping out. Now I don't think he wanted to throw the guy out because he said the guy was 3 times his size and didn't want a situation to start, since the police can only do so much what else could he do, surely the police can do more than what he could?

I thought his quick reaction would have alerted the police in time before the guy got away, but none of that was done.

Billy T
09-10-2003, 04:53 PM
Fortunately, most of the time in our society Police cannot apprehend or detain without good cause or reasonable suspicion. Given the short time frame and lack of evidence of theft, even to your friend, there wasn't enough reason for Police to get involved

Sounds like your friend got caught in one of those no-win situation where everybody else has 20-20 hindsight about what he orta/shoulda/coulda done.

Let's hope he has learned from the experience. If he was suspicious enough to get the office lady on to checking the phone numbers, next time he'll get her out front pronto to watch the counter while he walks around the shop with the customer in best *helpful expert* style. Many shops have a bell push to summons back-of-shop staff forward when required. Suggest it!

If high value pocketable items are on open display, the owner of the shop needs to review his security procedures. Out of interest, I have twice gone into DSE to buy something after first checking on-line that they have the stock and on both occasions the shelf was bare and the computer showed a stock level of four.

Thieving bastards are everywhere. X-(


Billy 8-{) :|

09-10-2003, 05:06 PM
At the end of the day an offence has to occur or there be reasonable evidence of an offence to lead to an arrest of an accused. Think of it this way ... would a judge or jury convict the accused on the strength of evidence provided? Doesn't sound like it.

Commercial insurance doesn't cover shoplifting. There has to be violent and/or forceful removal of property to trigger most theft/burglary insurance policies. Shoplifters are generally welcomed onto the premises (at least until they steal!).

A Police Complaint Acknowledgement Form is required by insurers to coonfirm that Police have been advised. This doesn't mean an offence actually has taken place of course, but to lodge a false complaint with Police is fraud, with it's own repercussions.

Police may choose to investigate further and if the accused is found in possession of goods without reasonable evidence to support their gain then that would lead to further action. Convincing the Police that giving a false name and leaving things on the counter warrants investigation would be difficult.

Why did he give his name anyway? If the sale wasn't concluded it really wouldn't matter what name he offered, but I do admit that his actions were odd.

I was in retail for 12 years and saw plenty of unusual goings on. People like to have fun with the lowly sales assistant, believe me, but nothing was ever an offence in law.


09-10-2003, 05:06 PM
Well for that business, they have regulars who work/live in the area. Those are more trustworthy than the ones who pop in and start piling a lot of things on the counter, he say's he hasn't come across a moneybags person yet who actually visits the store. He's just worried that his actions had no effect at all.

He said it was a slow day today, and only possibly 10 people came in, and out of those 10 he knew 9 as regulars, the so called shoplifter was the only one he didn't know. The time he came in he would have been possibly the 3rd person, but he says most regulars head to the same area of the shop as it's what most people come in for so he's saying it's in a different section of the shop to what the so called shoplifter has taken so it rules them out, also most regulars spend ages talking to him and asking him about items, not telling him to fetch a box or catalogue, so he's always around them and not giving them a chance to shoplift.

He tells me this company has a long way to go to comb through the problems.

09-10-2003, 05:13 PM
About the name (should I tell my mate to go off msn and relax?) he gave it because he also asked him to order something in, so he takes his contact details down but he said he passed it straight onto the office lady to check out to see if it exists, my mate then told him that a deposit would be needed of 15% before it'll be ordered, and the guy agreed and instead of paying wondered around the shop more.

I'm starting to think it's a really difficult situation and a shotgun would have been handy :P

09-10-2003, 05:24 PM
It sounds fishy alright.

I would suggest your mate puts it down to experience and maybe develops a form to be filled out in future for customer orders ... along with a field to enter identification details. This is a legitimate request when ordering goods. Not too many shoplifters would be keen to offer that info AND come back to collect their order! Checking a name 'exists' could prove difficult - he could have said Bruce Buckman!

The addition of a security system or 'dummy' camera with warning signs would also help in some way. Either that or watch the stock like a hawk.

I guess your mate can't treat every customer with suspicion, especially when there is a potential large sale. You cannot always judge a book by the cover, but gut instincts often run true.


09-10-2003, 06:06 PM
I know what Clint Eastwood would have done,saves a lot of argument.;)