I've got a pretty long list of stories regarding in-store theft. While a good portion of the theft I've witnessed has come from employees, I'd have to say that the majority came from customers. Some were stupid, some were brazen, some were slick, and some were planned.
But nothing tops the story of the harness.
I wasn't present for these events, so I can only tell you what I was told. I can say that a piece of me has always wondered if this story was true. But after seeing a recent episode of Worlds Dumbest Criminals, I have been convinced.
Basically, a large woman stole a demo computer from the next CompUSA nearest to our own. The theft was discovered when inventory control associates did their weekly counts of computers and laptops. When they found they were missing a desktop computer from the demo shelf, they loaded up the surveillance tapes.
The video shows a rather rotund (very fat) woman and accomplice enter the aisle. While the accomplice stands at the end of the aisle watching for employees, the woman can be seen yanking the plugs out of the computer (this was before we put alarms on desktop units), pulling it off the shelf, and shoving it...
...under her dress.
Then she waddled out of the store like nothing was wrong, her accomplice close behind. I'm sure the way she was walking might have raised eyebrows of some, but I don't think the average person would've thought, "Hey! She's got a computer between her legs!"
She was caught, if I remember right, though I don't remember how. I just know that the report later revealed that the woman had a harness between her legs that she was able to fit the computer into so that she wouldn't have to hold it with her hands as she left the store. It was definitely the most creative theft I'd ever seen or heard of.
But again, I questioned it because it sounded too crazy.
Not anymore. Go to Youtube and look up videos of the TV show "World's Dumbest." There's an episode where a woman steals a giant case of beer by slipping it between her legs under her dress. Then she just walks out. Crazy stuff.
Shopping Tip of the Day for 4/30/11: While stealing is always a bad idea, you highly increase your chances of being caught by stealing from your own workplace. Don't think for a second that you're safe; you're not. Don't assume no one will suspect you; they will. And most retail stores will prosecute employee theft further than external theft for the simple fact that these companies put trust into their employees and they don't appreciate your spitting on that trust.