LP Magazine

NOV-DEC 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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pair of shoes, they still have to post a $3,500 bond," said Garcia. The agency has used social media to get the word out to potential shoplifters and backs it up with a willingness to prosecute. Employees also are warned during orientation. "The hardest part I've had is changing the culture and public perception of donated goods as something they can take because someone else is giving it away," said Garcia. "It's changing but gradually." Data reflects the progress. They've increased sales, for example, and internal theft, which resulted in ninety employee apprehensions during Garcia's first year, has trended down to thirty or forty per year. Still, two recent theft cases involving cashiers—caught failing to ring-up merchandise—had values over $7,000. "Unfortunately, it's a really tough thing. Even with orientation, training, and prosecutions, some employees still take the bait knowing that we're limited in [our ability to track inventory]." External theft is equally stubborn. "A lot of the issue I have is with resellers, other thrift businesses, flea markets. We're a prime target of those type operations," said Garcia. Working with law enforcement has been extremely beneficial, but cooperation was hard earned. Even with his law enforcement background, Garcia said he found police initially unreceptive to requests for help in stemming after-hours donation theft. "At the beginning, they felt like if it was outside on a public sidewalk, then it was property that was open for whoever wanted to take it." Area law enforcement is more supportive now and regularly works hand-in-hand with Garcia on sting operations. It has helped that they took law enforcement's suggestion to improve signage at donation points to make it clear that left property is the property of Goodwill. It also helped to provide law enforcement with access to HD store cameras via a website and mobile app. "They can set up in our parking lot and dial in to see our cameras. It helps them if they're working on a credit card fraud case or following someone, for example." Finally, it doesn't hurt that he has a law enforcement background and that the sheriff in Corpus Christi is a former Goodwill board member, Garcia acknowledged. For all its progress, LP at Goodwill of South Texas remains a small operation. Garcia carries the title of director, but he is a loss prevention department unto himself. Strictly limited in manpower, he leverages hotline tips from the public to focus his investigations. "We have a lot of good customers who are very protective of our mission," he said. Central Florida Like several others, Larry Hartman was attracted to the idea of using his LP experience to support a good cause. Also like others, his respect for Goodwill Industries is growing as he gains exposure to the full range of charity work it performs. "As I am learning about the inner workings here and what they do to help people in need…it really is a very special organization," said Hartman, who joined Goodwill Industries of Central Florida in August after a long stint at Burlington Stores, and Home Depot and Kmart before it. "And this was the right time in my career for this and the right fit for me personally." 20 NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM "The hardest part I've had is changing the culture and public perception of donated goods as something they can take because someone else is giving it away. It's changing but gradually." – Carlos Garcia, Goodwill Industries of South Texas MISSION DRIVEN

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