While thieves have consistently proven themselves to be an issue for storefronts, the situation has escalated to new heights in recent years, as speedy, organized robberies have begun springing up in metropolitan areas around the country — causing issues for major retailers like Home Depot.
It’s also important to note that, as opposed to standard shoplifting, these “flash mob robberies” involve networks of thieves rushing into stores to rapidly steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
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Measures Like The INFORM Consumers Act Are Directly Addressing The Issue
To learn more about the issue at hand — which has resulted in at least two employees losing their lives over the past year — Justin Carter linked up with John Chiasson, Home Depot’s senior director of asset protection, for TSR Investigates.
During the chat, Chiasson confirmed that these organized thieves are set on stealing anything they can resell for a sweet profit, such as “home electronics.”
He shared, “They are taking anything that is of value to a general consumer.”
John Chiasson went on to note that the thieves often resell the stolen goods on online platforms like Facebook, eBay, and Amazon.
“These are all private individuals selling on these online platforms, and that’s where they’re getting their money from.”
However, measures like the INFORM Consumers Act, which went into place in June 2023, are helping address the issue.
What Does The Future Hold For Retail Establishments In An Era Of Organized Theft?
In an effort to combat the growing problem, Chiasson notes that Home Depot is testing entrance barriers to deter theft.
He also acknowledged that the establishment has begun placing locks on often-targeted products, including power tools and metal wire.
“I would say that it’s a problem for all of retail. … Organized retail crime is targeting every single facet of retail that’s out there, and we’ve all got to work together to help combat this.”
As for the criminals’ general profile, Chiasson says they sometimes have an entrepreneurial mindset about their actions.
“It is tied heavily into the drug industry and what’s happening from there. But also, you just have some people who are also entrepreneurs that say, ‘Hey, I have found a way to gain product at zero cost and turn 100% profit on it.'”
Catch the full TSR Investigates episode down below.