Free retail theft check service uncovers employee theft costing a small business $100s a day

Mark on February 5, 2014 6:24 AM

For many years Tower Systems has offered a free Theft Check service to retailers using its Point of Sale software. We have advised lawyers, police, insurance companies as well as our retail customers. Our goal is top help retailers cut the cost of theft, especially employee theft.

A theft check that uncovers evidence of theft will result in a detailed report. Here is the text of a recent email to a customer from one of our theft expert witnesses advising what their research found. Attached to the email was detailed evidence:

Please find attached results of you theft check.

I have attached the following,

A PDF that summarises by hour the total number and value of Cancelled sales and deleted sales from January 2013 until January 2014 for the hours you specified.
A spreadsheet of the raw data used in construction of the table for further analysis if you require.
3 links Spreadsheets detailing the transactional flow for the period in question. It is in this format to reduce the size of the overall table.

I have analysed your data and can see considerable numbers of Cancelled Sales and Deleted Sale Items. Both of these transaction types are of similar nature. Cancelled sales are when an entire sale is removed uncompleted from the POS screen. This is done by pressing the CTRL+F2 button on the keyboard or corresponding Touch Screen or Programmable keyboard button. A sale items deleted is when individual sale items are deleted from the the POS screen using the F5 key. This is different from the Cancelled Sales button as it removes items one at a time rather than line by line.

I refer you to the summary PDF. The most concerning aspect of this is how similar the the values are per day for both cancelled sales and deleted sale items.

Average Value per Sale Item Deleted $11.91
Average Dollar Value Per Day Sale Item Deleted $100.55
Median Value of Sale Item Deleted per day $78.40

Average Value per Cancelled Sale $15.39
Average Dollar Value Per Day of Cancelled Sales $97.30
Median Value of Cancelled Sale per day $113.40

The nature of these similar values suggests that the staff in question are targeting an amount of approximately $200 per shift. However this figure could be slightly inflated due to the fact of staff using these facilities to price check items in the POS screen, for example when excise increase require cigarette prices to be increased. Also you need to take into account accurate use of this button for actual sale that were cancelled.

Also you can see the hours of the day that are targeted more frequently. Nearly 60% of all the transactions cancelled or that have a sale item deleted occurred in the period of 1pm – 2pm and 2pm – 3pm. This indicates that that perhaps during this time the staff was at the counter alone or had little supervision.

In looking at individual sales I refer you to Thursday 19th December on the attached spreadsheet, as a good example of suspicions behaviour being performed. The best way to look at this is to view the audit data is to view it in-conjunction with the sales that have been performed. This gives you the best idea of transactional flow. Between the hours of 12 and 4 pm there were 26 Sales that had sale items deleted or had sales cancelled. Looking specifically at Audit events created 2:50pm I note the following

  • There are 2 sale items deleted, one second apart. This means that the Sale Item deleted button was pressed consecutively indicating that the items were one sale.
  • There is no sale before this time for a six minute period.
  • The proceeding sale is 30 seconds later and contained none of the items that have been cancelled.
  • The proceeding sale contained no similar items, which indicated that it was just not an incorrect scan
  • The items that have been purchased, drink and cigarettes are convenience based items, and would be unlikely that customers decided against purchase.

If you apply the logic above to the other transactional that happened in that day a pattern emerges to sales throughout the period you indicated.

It is clear that you have a serious problem, that will require from you a further investigation. I terms of determining an exact quantum this will need to be calculated by you using some of the evidence I have provided. If you would like more information of have nay questions please let me know.

We are proud of the free Theft Check service we provide and the value it delivers to our retail partners in terms of savings, prosecution and asset recovers.

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