Retail Theft

By: Will Jones
By: Will Jones

This one of the busiest times of the year for stores, but it is also one of the most expensive as more people try to use the five finger discount instead of cash. But now, store workers say they can't depend on their customers to deter shoplifters.

Ed Derderian owns the Coffee Bean on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston. He says his business has been lucky.

“We have been here since May in 2005 and we haven't had any issues with theft of any kind,” said Derderian.

Shoplifting cost retailers $37 billion dollars last year, and it only increases during the holiday shopping season. With all those shoppers around, you would think it would be difficult to get away with shoplifting, but most shoppers don't care.

The only person we found who would tell a store clerk if they saw someone stealing had one big stipulation.

"It would depend on their size,” said Sharon Mullins, a shopper. “If they were bigger than me, I would probably be afraid that they would catch me later."

It’s that outlook that doesn't surprise Derderian, but he says he doesn't worry about shoplifters.

“You have to give them the benefit of the doubt, you can't worry about every little thing that can go wrong,” said Derderian. “You have to trust that the majority of the people are not trying to steal from you."

Retailers don't have to just worry about customers stealing from them. They also have to keep an out on their employees. Nearly half of the $37 billion dollars that companies lost last year came from employee theft.

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