Case Study – Theft of Stock

Investigation Status: Mr. Z was suspended pending further investigation into the concealment of company property into a Game Cube Nintendo carry bag which was later sold to a friend, Mr. Z was subsequently arrested by the police on suspicion of “theft, employee”.

INTRODUCTION

Information was received from the store manager of this store that he had found empty boxes in the stockroom. He subsequently organised a count of those items. The stockcount confirmed that a web cam, graphics card and sound card with a total value of £320 were missing. He had also overheard that his Deputy Manager, was building a computer for a friend or family member.

This store has CCTV installed but every time the Store Manager found an empty box, the CCTV was found not to be working properly.

There is also a blind spot in the stockroom that is not covered by the inhouse CCTV system that all staff are aware of.

INVESTIGATION

A covert camera was installed to cover the blind spot in the stockroom.

The videotapes was reviewed and it showed the following:

* 17:47pm: The supervisor entered the stock room from the shop floor. He was carrying stock under his left arm which he placed on the shelf in the blind spot. He selected a Game Cube Nintendo carrybag and proceeded to unwrap it, discarded the contents. He selected a handful of stock from the shelves in the stock room and placed them into the Game Cube Nintendo bag, He did this three times. A person came to the doorway of the stockroom and he taiked to them in the doorway.
* 17:48pm: He closed the stockroom door and selected another handful of stock which he then placed into the Game cube Nintendo carry bag. He zipped up the Game Cube Nintendo carry bag and placed it on the floor and exited the stockroom.
* 17:52pm: He selected stock from the top shelf and placed the stock inside the Game Cube Nintendo carry bag. As he did this, the deputy manager came into view and leaned against the stockroom door and looked out through the window. This effectively prevented anyone from entering the stockroom and them advance notice of anyone approaching the stockroom. They were facing each other during this time and they appeared to be talking throughout this period.
* 17:52pm: The supervisor picked up the discarded wraper and proceeded to wrap up the Game Cube Nintendo carry bag in it. It now appeared to be unopened. The supervisor handed the Game Cube Nintendo carry bag to the deputy manager and both of them exited the stockoo.

The CCTV in-store videotape recorded on the **th April 200* was reviewed and it showed that an ex-employee was present in the store at 17:30pm. The videotape was stopped by persons unknown at that time and it resumed recording at 18:20pm.

An till printout was obtained and it showed that at 17:55pm, transaction number 49** on the **th April 200*, operator *** put through a transaction of a Game Cube Nintendo carry bag valued at £9.99. It was the only sale of a Game Cube Nintendo carry bag that day.

A loyalty card report was obtained for that day and it showed that the sale of the Game Cube Nintendo carry bag, was bought by him at 17:55pm.

Investigatory Interview with Mr. Z

I interviewed Mr. X on Tuesday *th June 200* in the presence of the store manager who took contemporaneous notes of the interview. Full details of the investigatory interview can be seen in the notes accompanying this report. Below is a summary of the most salient points discussed in the interview.

I asked him if he had been aware of losses in the store. He informed me that he had known about the sound cards and Nintendo wavebird. I also asked him if he built computers and he told me that he knew how to put them together but that he doesn’t build them.

I went on to ask him about his activities in the stockroom on Saturday **th April 200* in the early evening after the manager had gone home. He told me that he had been “tidying up”.

I put it to him that I had covert footage of him in the stockoom taking a Game Cube bag out of its wrapper and that he had placed games into that bag, he denied this. I asked him about “Tin Tin” and he told me that he was a friend. I asked him if ‘TlnTin’ had made any purchases on Saturday and he told me that he had bought a Mortal Kombat game but that he couldn’t remember if he had bought anything else. He also couldn’t remember what had happened to the bag.

I showed him the video footage that showed him re-wrapping the bag after all the gameshad been placed in it, and asked him to explain what had occurred after they left the stockroom with it. He replied that “Tin Tin” had probably bought it. I took him through the footage of the videotape again and asked him to explain his actions and he told me that he could not remember, saying he was just fiddling with the bag.

I pointed out to him that the evidence shows him pufting items into a bag which he had then handed over to the deputy manager who had then sold it for the price of the bag to his mate “Tin Tin”. He replied, “No!” and laughed out loud and told me that he couldn’t remember. I went on to ask him why the in-house CCTV had been switched off at the crucial period of time and he told me that he had probably been looking for something that had happened during the day. He could not remember whether it was him that had turned it off or back on again. He could not remember how long “Tin Tin” was in the store for.

I adjourned at 13.05pm to confer with HR and resumed at 13.35pm where I informed him that having spoken to HR, he was suspended pending further investigation into concealing Company property into a Game cube bag which was later sold to a friend.

CONCLUSION

Although both members of staff denied any theft, covert CCTV footage proved beyond a reasonable doubt they were passing on company property to third parties.

Following their arrest, the Police conducted a “Section 18” house search and seized approximately 570 items which included software titles, hardware, a digital camera and a brand new laptop computer.The approximate value of these goods was £21,000 (conservative estimate).

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