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Shoplifting, Employee Theft, and Flash Robs...Wait, Flash Robs?

Published by Ellen on May 4, 2012 4:06 PM

In order for retailers to protect themselves against threat, they must be proactive about it by improving their loss prevent efforts. Shoplifting and employee/internal theft are undoubtedly the two most common theft practices. However, it's extremely important for retailers to be made aware of other theft practices happening today, especially crimes that may work against one's current security system. Grab-and-go theft, flash mob robs, or flash robs have become the theft du jour. Based on previous crime reports, these acts tend to be committed by large groups of young adults who storm retail stores - usually department stores or convenience stores - and stuff pockets or bags with merchandise in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

How do the culprits get away with such a crime? They're quick, uncontrollable, and obnoxious. They usually run in full force and cause a ruckus. Typical behavior includes knocking items off shelves, spraying water or throwing food at patrons and clerks, or screaming to distract or draw attention. High-risk theft items consist of beer, snack food items, and apparel sold at department stores like Nordstrom and Sears. An example of flash robbers' unruly behavior is displayed in the video below:


Flash robbers usually have a vehicle waiting for them as soon as they exit a store. Otherwise, if they rob a store late at night, they disappear by each running off in a different direction. Majority of these criminals wear face masks to hide their identities. Right as they enter the store, they'll quickly throw on a mask or pull down an over-sized hoodie.

Joe LaRocca, Vice President of Loss Prevention at National Retail Federation has advised retailers to stand aside while flash robbers raid their store, carefully observe their actions, record and save the video surveillance of the robbery, and then cooperate with law enforcement to track them down.

We recommend retailers enhance their overall security and protect themselves against flash robbers by purchasing a high resolution indoor/outdoor IP video surveillance system that delivers high quality images and has superior night visibility. Identify these flash robbers before they even enter the store.

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