Sunday, October 08, 2006

High ho, a merry go, a stealing we will go

It was the day of days for theft. I had enough semi-professional grifters roll through my line to fill a book. But the choiciest piece of work was this one woman Saturday morning.

They stuck me on this evil 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. shift Saturday, so I rolled in looking like death on a cracker. My line got hot fast with people wanting money orders, to cash checks and return stuff - the usual Saturday early bird traffic.

Then, about 8:30 a.m., a very nice, professional woman comes up. She's got one of the EXPENSIVE vacuum cleaners ($288) in the cart and wants to return it.

Her story is "I called earlier. I lost my receipt and they said that if I have ID I can get a credit." Well, the part about getting credit is true, anyway.

I start the return and silently go "WOW" to myself when I see how much the vacuum cleaner is. I didn't even know we sold ones that cost so much. How do you magically "lose" a receipt for a $300 item? I guess if you never had one to begin with ...

Then I ask for her ID. She pulls out the drivers license, which is in one of those little removeable things that come with some women's purses - it has a slot with a clear plastic facing for the license and a few slots for credit cards - and it just slips right into the larger wallet.

Her ID looks sort of funny. At first, I think it's the glare, but then I ask her "Ma'am, can you remove your ID from the plastic?"

I hold it up and get a REAL GOOD look at it, and sure enough, she's changed (or tried to, anyway) the last three on the DL number to an eight with a black ink pen. If I hadn't been paying some fairly close attention, I'd have never caught it. I ask her - "Ma'am, is this a three or an eight?" - because I know what game she's trying to run.

"Oh, it's an eight. It got left in the washing machine." (Um-hmm. And NONE of the other numbers seem to be smeared. And the rest of the print seems to be fine. Yeah. Lying crooked witch.) "Oh, okay," I go.

And when I punch the DL number in, I put the three instead of the eight and sure enough, she's had FIVE returns for a total of a THOUSAND dollars at four different stores in the count over the past two months.

I tell her she has too many no-receipt returns and she can't return the vacuum without a receipt. She stays fairly cool, but she does try to take the paper that has her DL number from the counter, but I grab it before she gets to it. She grabs the vacuum and her husband and scrams.

She's either a professional thief or related to an associate who's taking the stuff out of stock through the back door. Don't laugh. It happens.

5 comments:

L said...

People have no shame anymore! Sad sad!

MavenofMoxie said...

She must have a super old license since most arent coated in plastic, theyre just printed on a plastic card, making it hard to alter.

Thought she was reeeaaal slick, huh?

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who, when I was younger, used to steal quite a bit of things, I would have no surprise if she went to the back of the store, picked up the most expensive vacumm and then "returned" it.

She gets to walk out of the store with a pretty pricy vacuum or the money.

Anonymous said...

I worked five years for Target in Assets Protection... this happens nearly every day... Nice catch. Next time, try to keep the vacuum in the store. Its a fun challenge=-)

i'llnevertell! said...

That reminds me of a scam a guy I knew was pulling for a while (he used to come sit at my bar) before he got arrested for it and sent to prison.

Go to wal-mart when it's busy, buy something big that doesn't fit in a bag (think vaccum, tv, something like that). As you're walking out, hand the reciept off to a partner by the door or in the parking lot, partner goes in grabs the same item and walks out with it. Later, return one of the items.

He got away with it for a while, before he finally got caught. I don't envy your job, but I do like your blog!