Theft in the Workplace

Theft in the workplace

Theft in the workplace is not something that every company has experienced, however, not experiencing theft doesn’t mean that the company is not at risk of it. Between 2018 and 2019 statistics show there was over 9,800 thefts in the workplace across the UK and that figure only includes those which where recorded. Sometimes the evidence is clear and a company can resolve the matter internally, however, there are times whereby an employer won’t have the evidence, time or resources to investigate and ultimately stop the problem.

A well established electrical hardware company contacted us *about a potential theft issue within their company. Their suspicions started when they did a quarterly stock take and there was a discrepancy between what stock they had on their systems and what was physically in their warehouse. There were no obvious perpetrators or suspicious activities associated with the theft meaning they didn’t know where to start their investigation. Unsure of how to go about investigating the problem, a member of the Human Resources department contacted us.

Establishing your objectives through consultation
We visited the company at their HQ and wanted to know their objectives for the case. There are some cases whereby the individual is known and the company is simply after proof to help with disciplinary or criminal proceedings, however, cases of theft can be complex where there is no indication of a guilty party. In these cases, companies will want to know the employee(s) behind the theft, however, identifying how the theft is being carried out is just as important in preventing it. The company provided us with 3 objectives they wished to achieve, this allowed our team to build a process which would best work for them;

– Identification the employee(s) responsible for the theft
– Identify how the theft is being carried out
– Identify the reason for the theft

Aligning your expectations with our requirements
Upon identifying the objectives of the investigation, our team looks to understand what the company is expecting from both ourselves and the investigation. Our client was looking to use what evidence we could find to both discipline the employee(s) involved as well as preventing any further company theft through risk management. The Operations Director told our team that he expected the employee responsible to be selling the equipment but by having nobody in mind as a suspect, admitted that he had no idea where to start looking. He also told the team that both the employee(s) involved and the process of how it was happening was of equal importance to the company which meant we knew the right approach to take in regards to the investigation.

Discovering the reality of the situation
Looking at the items that had been stolen, our team were quick to point out the resale value which lead them online. After a thorough online investigation, we found similar items on a very well known auction site. After purchasing a few of the items, our team built a rapport with the seller and asked if we could make a bulk purchase. With more items required, we was asked to collect them from an address. The surveillance team picked up the items from the sellers address and obtained photos and video footage of the individual and the items being sold.

We took the footage to the company and asked them to identify the individual, which they confirmed as the night manager who works at their depot. Once the individual was confirmed, our surveillance team was stationed at the warehouse during the next delivery day, monitoring the warehouse manager. Once the warehouse manager finished his shift, the team followed her to a self storage unit where she unloaded more items from her company vehicle. After ordering more items from the auction site, our surveillance team monitored the self storage unit to see if the order coincided with the warehouse manager picking items up from the unit.

Presenting evidence to a professional standard

Once the surveillance team discovered this to be the case, a report was put together which included the items purchased, the online account, photo and video footage of the individual at home and accessing the self storage unit and delivered to the HR director. This was delivered face to face by the account manager for the case, which included potential recommendations moving forward and enabled the company to take action against the employee by terminating his employment. Following this, they took legal action against the employee and with our evidence provided being admissible in court, were able to build a strong criminal case against her. The individual was fined £20,000 and had to compensate the company to the value of what she had stolen from them.

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