LP Magazine

JAN-FEB 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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by David E. Zulawski, CFI, CFE and Shane G. Sturman, CFI, CPP Zulawski and Sturman are executives in the investigative and training firm of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (w-z.com). Zulawski is a senior partner, and Sturman is president. Sturman is also a member of ASIS International's Retail Loss Prevention Council. They can be reached at 800-222-7789 or via email at dzulawski@w-z.com and ssturman@w-z.com. © 2018 Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc. continued on page 14 INTERVIEWING Random Lessons from the Room: Part Four W e ended our last column with a short discussion of the value of developing a timeline of events to organize the case and help to link relationships. There are a number of investigative link tools to illustrate relationships between people and businesses, which can help to flesh out the timeline of events and give a visual representation to an investigation. These can be easily found with a search for investigation link tools. Develop a Theory of the Case Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes said several interesting things about developing a theory of a case. While the detective was fictional and Arthur Conan Doyle was not an investigator, he was still able to capture fundamental truths about conducting an inquiry. While many cases are not real mysteries, those that are can be solved using Holmes' process to deduce the solution. "It's a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgement." – Sherlock Holmes in A Scandal in Bohemia First, understand the problem that must be solved. Here, we are considering more complex investigations than producing a simple refund or register void. In a complex investigation, there needs to be a complete understanding of the loss and how it was able to occur, and it must be addressed by thinking globally about the implications to the organization including any legal issues. This will potentially require research into the process involved and the culture surrounding it. Much of that information can be mined from company data and interviews with those involved in the process, but the information must be collected in a systematic way making no assumptions. The organization has a tremendous amount of information available to the investigator about process culture and persons, which can be important to reaching a successful conclusion. Collect the Facts "As a rule, when I have heard of some slight indications of the course of events I am able to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my memory." – Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle As we begin the collection of our facts in the investigation, it does not mean we ignore our investigative experience in doing so. Cases tend to evolve in similar ways and circumstances, which can streamline our selection of what is likely to be important. As we begin to collect evidence and understand process and the culture in place, it is important to remember the people that work in the area are there every day imbedded in the work. There is policy and how the company thinks a task is accomplished, and then there is what really happens, which can be a very different thing. "One should always look for a possible alternative, and provide against it. It is the first rule of criminal investigation." – Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of Black Peter What on the surface might look like incriminating circumstantial evidence may mean something entirely different if looked at from a different perspective. Take the time to evaluate evidence in other ways to try to prove the person innocent. "Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing," answered Holmes thoughtfully. "It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different." – The Boscombe Valley Mystery When investigating a case, it is the investigator who is the outsider, the novice, who must be taught by the "experts" how the process works and perhaps its many permutations. It's always better to watch something take place rather than simply being told about it since that is often how the task is most often accomplished. "I am glad of all details," remarked my friend, "whether they seem to you to be relevant or not." – Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Copper Beeches Always probe for the exceptions to what is always done and what happens before or after these exceptions to fully 12 JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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