A former Target security officer has issued a stern warning to customers who may be considering stealing from the store.
The rep said in an “Ask me everything” thread on Reddit that shoppers are being watched all the time and may not even be aware of it.
The background is that reports of theft at self-checkouts have become more frequent as the technology has been introduced in shops and supermarkets.
Retail workers have invented a new jargon to describe shoplifters’ tactics.
In a “switcheroo,” customers take a barcode off a cheap product and stick it over the barcode on an expensive item.
And in the so-called “pass-around,” self-checkout users fail to scan items at the self-checkout.
The Reddit user (@FormerTargetSecurity) explained in his post that they worked in both undercover and uniformed capacities for the major retailer to fight theft.
The thread creator said they used a walkie-talkie and hid it in a shirt while patrolling the floor to make it appear like they were shopping.
The user went into a bit more detail about his specific role in the business, writing in the comments section: “An IS (investigative specialist) like myself traveled from shop to shop trying to catch big ‘top alerts’ who did this. “ I stole a lot of goods before.
“I had a $50 limit on random thieves. If it was under $50 I would normally send a TPS (United Security Service) to discourage and intimidate the thief into throwing the goods away.”
“If it was a low-priced item, there was too much paperwork and wasted time. However, an APS is an undercover cop in a business who takes what he wants when he sees a perpetrator stealing. You can usually find it in big cities.”
Reddit viewers apparently had enough evidence to believe the person was real.
Several people responded with a question or comment about their experience with Target’s security team.
One person wrote: “I was caught stealing something small from Target many years ago and they banned me from the store until my 18th birthday. I avoided the place like the plague, but always wondered what the chances were that they would actually have recognized me.
The former security guard explained that the amount of goods stolen would determine whether he would be recognized.
“If you stole once and got caught, that particular store probably wouldn’t recognize you after a year,” the user wrote.
“If you went to any other store, they wouldn’t know you at all. But if you’ve stolen multiple times, there was (and I think there still is) a network where businesses could talk to each other about perpetrators who stole and got away with it.”
Another person asked, “Have you ever been confronted by a shoplifter that you knew could use force to overpower you?” And how did that end?”
The former security guard replied: “Almost every time as I’m 1.70m tall and 65kg. Even though I did mixed martial arts training, I couldn’t handle a shoplifter that physically.”
“We had established rules for incarcerating people, but I usually broke them. If I felt a shoplifter was too big or I knew he was going to fight back, I would walkie-talkie to another agent who was waiting outside and would respond when I told him.
“I ended up being 27 out of 30 with successful arrests. It was a very strategic task.”
The former security guard also shared that he is not allowed to carry a concealed weapon at work.
Another Reddit user asked the former security guard, “Is it true that Target’s cameras can zoom in and read the numbers on a credit card in another person’s hand?”
They replied: “Some cameras yes. But most no.”
The US Sun has reached out to Target for comment.