Have you ever had to deal with this? [client materials stolen at office]

I work for a moving company. We also warehouse for several national logistics companies. As part of my job, I am the foreman for all commercial jobs that require a crew for delivery of goods as well as filling in for/assisting the warehouse manager as needed. Over the past couple of weeks, while loading deliveries for a specific project (remodel of a hotel) we have found items missing. A box of wall sconces:confused:, a television etc. This is something that could cost the company the account with this logistic company, and fiscal concerns aside, the manager and I both really like this company because they are so easy to work with compared to most of our other logistic accounts.

On a personal level, we are both concerned because, well, its “our” warehouse and the warehouse manager is of the opinion it has to be someone in company management with a key to the warehouse who could access the place after hours.

Its a sticky wicket adding extra stress to a stressful time of year and stressful commercial moving season (the good kind, commercial business is up 30% over last year)

So, have you ever had to deal with this type of situation where you work? How was it resolved? How long did it take to figure out and catch the person? How did it affect the morale of the company?

Is there an inventory made of all items?

Do you know what items were put in each box?

Can you trace the loss to a certain time or location?

for most of the items to a specific 24 hour period, for one specific item not at all. this time tracking is why the warehouse manager is of the opinion that it has be someone in management with keys. except for the one specific item, they would have to be able to access not only the warehouse, but access the dispatch office where truck and trailer keys are kept as he doesn’t think it would be possible to steal the stuff during business hours.

When I worked retail management it was a constant battle. Everyone likes to believe it’s customers or some other nameless person. No one wants to accept it’s the guy they talk to every day. The biggest thefts were always someone working there that no one suspected. In tracking down people it’s important to set your personal feeling aside and follow the evidence.

When I was working as an electrician one of the jobs we’d get periodically was to install concealed cameras. It’s a pretty effective way to find thieves.

It will hurt moral if you start hunting, no one wants to be accused of stealing, many people at lower levels get upset when you start questioning them. People at management levels tend to be more understanding and brush off conversations as procedure.

People who steal will continue to do so until caught, it’s important to catch them before they do too much damage. You can rarely recover your losses even if you catch the person/people.

Yeah, forget trying to get stuff back thats gone. Concentrate on security in the future.

BTW, this happens everywhere. I read somewhere that in many museums original items are rarely on display, only duplicates, The good stuff is kept in a safe.

And the thing is when items are found missing, it can go all the way up to the museum director. Thing is certain items are valued so highly by collectors they are willing to pay almost any bribe to get the item. And many a billionaire has a secret room where these items are kept.

So if it is a really valuable item, you might be better off just taking it home or maybe yourself sleeping in the warehouse practically on top of things.

We had a thief at a place I used to work. He was the night cleaning guy and we knew it, but in order to catch him, we hired a private investigator and he set up some hidden cameras for us.

It worked.

We had a similar situation with our warehouse at work. Particularly large and valuable items were going missing right under our noses.

It was fixed when we very publically covered the outside of the building in hi-def security cameras.

We never could figure out how it was happening, so information (provided by the cameras) would be key in the case of future thefts.

Not sure where you heard that, but in general it’s not true.

Unless you’re talking about a country like Egypt, where the real deal has been sold off and replaced with a crappy copy for profit by the Ministry of Antiquities.

Otherwise, what you see is the actual item as advertised.

  1. I work in a store where there are two employees working at any given time. I managed to prove that the guy who worked with me on my shift was stealing.
    Nice guy, liked him a lot, absolutely no question in my mind he was stealing. Sucks.
    Sucks more because I can’t say anything to the other employees about why he no longer works for the company. And I can’t publicly call it “stealing” because he was never convicted. Also the video doesn’t show him taking the money so much as it shows him not putting it where it was supposed to go. (I can’t say for certain where it went.)
    Which brings us to:

  2. Cameras. How does your warehouse not have cameras? At some point a bunch of boxes for that hotel remodel were brought in, and you should be able to see every time anyone went near those boxes, or at least the room they were in, until the hotel guys came to remove them.
    A cheap system from Sam’s Club will give you 16 cameras to cover public areas. More money gets more cameras or better cameras or both.
    In my (limited) experience with surveillance camera systems, I have found the following features to be super helpful:
    a) every spot covered by at least 2 cameras. Cameras at both ends of a hall, so if someone turns away from one camera, the other camera can see what they are doing.
    b) it only records when something moves in its field of view (plus a few seconds). This will save you from watching hours of nothing happening to find the one time somebody went near that door (or whatever). Some high-end systems will let you define an area of the screen and then scan for something moving in that area, which is much the same thing.
    c) a search that will let you look at the first frame from every hour of the day, every minute of an hour, and every second of a minute. VERY helpful for trying to find exactly when something changed (like, “When was that bottle taken off that shelf?” or “How long has that car been parked there?”).

This may be locking the barn door after the horse escapes, but there will be other horses. (That is, installing a camera system won’t help you figure out who took what has already been stolen, but it will help deter thieves in the future and catch the ones it doesn’t deter.)

I edited the title to (hopefully) add more description. guestchaz, for now I think this makes more sense in IMHO than MPSIMS.

You really only have 3 options:

  1. Communicate broadly that the losses are known, management scrutiny is high and hope it stops - could work, but not likely.

  2. Surveillance - DIY or hire a PI. This will help catch the thief this time, but does little to prevent future occurrences.

  3. Security Cameras - This option will help catch the current thief and deter/catch future occurrences. If you go this route, I would recommend that the cameras and monitors be professionally installed. Monitoring really only needs to happen when a loss occurs.

Good luck, this type situation is never fun.

I suppose cameras aren’t the only option: for instance, you could have a key-card system that logs exactly when each door was opened, and by whose card.

I think your company needs to think seriously about warehouse security and come up with a better system than you have. Then implement it. You don’t need to tell everyone why or admit anything was stolen before, just say that you’re putting in improved security and you’re sorry that a couple things will be more of a pain in the butt than before, but it’s important, so do it.

Depends on the type of museum. Natural history museums often display casts rather than the real fossil. Fossils can be fragile, most specimens are incomplete and are very heavy.

Good museums indicate what’s real and what’s a cast.

My office is not dealing with theft, but rather a different affront to the community. Someone has been repeatedly crapping in inappropriate spots in the men’s room on one of our floors. It sounds comical, but it’s an indignity to the cleaning people and something of a mild horror to anyone who encounters it, and it’s a really anti-social statement.

The first time it happened, we preferred to think it must have been some visitor, like a bike messenger. Now, of course, we’ve realized that it has to be an inside job, and that’s a bit dispiriting.

Cameras are out of the question, of course.

A friend caught a thieving employee using cameras. The employee was a model worker, always hustling and finding something to do during lulls. Turns out he was slipping stuff into the garbage, then taking bags out to the dumpster. He returned after hours and dumpster-dove.

Why do you say “out of the question”?

Unless this men’s room is a single room with an unenclosed toilet you can easily put camera(s) watching the door and public areas, and other(s) at a low level watching the entire floor. So you’ll see the back of anybody using a urinal and the shoes of anybody in a stall. And the face of anybody coming in or out.

Nobody’s privacy is violated, especially if you place prominent signs in the bathroom. And you’ll catch, or stop, your Mad Dumper.

Even if the bathroom is a single undivided room with an exposed toilet you can still put a camera in the hallway that records everyone as they enter or leave. By process of elimination (heh! :slight_smile: ) soon enough you’ll sniff out your culprit.

I do not understand people who do things like that. If you hate your job that much, look for another one, or just quit. You’re going to get fired anyway when you get caught.

Once is a joke. Twice is Stickin’ it to The Man. Three times is evidence of mental illness.

And once we’re dealing with mental illness, trying to ascribe rational motivations to those folks is not relevant.

A non-disabled adult deliberately leaving bodily waste in places other than a toilet is evidence of mental illness in itself.