PDA

View Full Version : Employee Theft!


barefoot
04-09-2007, 02:10 PM
I own a coffee shop…it's a cash based business. I was doing the numbers last week and noticed the cash drop is off. OK, strange…count the money again. Sure enough, it’s off. Not by a little, by a lot. I call the weekend manager to see what’s up. She’s a long tenured employee and judging by her response, I’m assured she didn’t do it. By this time, I have a suspicion who it might be. I call my other weekend people. I narrow it down to two people, but don’t know who it is for sure. I calk up the loss to someone mis-keying an order, but everyone knows I’m watching.

This weekend we were closed for Easter Sunday. I came in last night to do a few things…one of which was closing out the register. Count the money…We’re off….the same f*cking amount as last weekend. Friday numbers were dead on. Saturday’s numbers…off. Now I’m pissed. I have no qualms about firing people….especially because of this.

So here’s where I’m at…I know it’s happening and it’s definitely happening internally. The part that’s eating me is that it’s one of two people…but I can’t say, at this point, who it is for sure. Past history with one particular employee leads me to believe the other is the culprit. I don’t want to terminate the wrong person, but at the same time, it can’t keep getting robbed like this.

So I’m looking for advice. Who’s got it?

CarlosCabanas
04-09-2007, 02:16 PM
Set a trap!! Catch them somehow! Employees are the main source of theft for most enterprises! Good luck

P-hat_in_Cincy
04-09-2007, 02:19 PM
Do they, or can they, work different shifts/days? If so, you could isolate who it is by the date of the occurance.

mpm32
04-09-2007, 02:19 PM
Put up a camera, or if you know who's doing it, tell them you have footage of them and see what happens.

Or put up a camera(s) with the full knowledge of all employees and your theft should stop. However, you'll still be stuck with the thief.

I'm looking to buy a cash based business. It has 2 cameras. I'm looking for a way to have those cameras broadcast over the internet so I could watch from where ever I am since I will not be onsite.

I know that there are systems out there specifically made for broadcasting over the internet. But, I need to find something that will work with what is there - the 2 cameras, a monitor and a computer.

cbryan70
04-09-2007, 02:23 PM
we had a similar situation where i used to work in a fast food place. The boss put a camera in the ceiling tiles cut a little hold and faced it strait down to the cash register.

Mag_Red
04-09-2007, 02:24 PM
Why not be present at the end of the day or when the cash is counted?? Other option is fire em both and tell them why.

cbryan70
04-09-2007, 02:25 PM
or start schedualing them seperatly and see when the money disapears

krra1
04-09-2007, 02:28 PM
MPM 32
I am involved with shopping centers and we have cameras at all of them that can be viewed from the internet. I am not located near you but if you would like the name and phone number of the company PM me and I will provide it. At the very least they can get you pointed in the right direction.

djhuff
04-09-2007, 02:28 PM
Why not be present at the end of the day or when the cash is counted?? Other option is fire em both and tell them why.

That is my suggestion. If you have facts to narrow it down to one of the 2 employees, fire them both, let them know why.

Mag_Red
04-09-2007, 02:29 PM
how about this..............I hear it's done in some countries.......cut one finger off the right hand of the two suspect employees. Tell them if any more $$$$$ is missing.......you're cut off another one:D

barefoot
04-09-2007, 02:29 PM
Do they, or can they, work different shifts/days? If so, you could isolate who it is by the date of the occurance.



Yup...that's what's happening this week!

Mag_Red
04-09-2007, 02:30 PM
put up a fake camera............although I'm partial to my last recommendation...........I HATE THEIVES!!!!!

#47of100TeamMC
04-09-2007, 02:31 PM
I would take both of them asside seperately, say you have reason to believe that they are stealing from you. One of your co-workers ratted you out. You have 2 options... 1) give back the money you stole, you will no-longer work here and I won't report you to the police. but hope you have learned a very important lesson! or 2) you insist you haven't done anything, I call the police right now, have them take you in. Which will it be?

This should easily snuff out the culprit... and then you'll have ample time to apologize to the innocent victim. and thank them for helping you catch the real thief!

Jwhitsett1129
04-09-2007, 02:32 PM
I managed a coffee shop years ago and money started to disappear. As it turned out here is what was happening:

Regulars would come in everyday and order the same thing. Most of whom knew how much their drink was going to be and would bring in exact change. The employee would hit "No Sale" on the register so it looked as if something was being rung up and once the customer walked away he would simply pocket the cash. Doesn't sound like it would be too lucrative, but at $4-$6 per transaction the fella was making out with at least a couple of hundred bucks in "tips" every week. On the books it just appeared as though business had slowed, but this guy was turning a pretty decent profit.

Then Starbuck's set up shop right around the corner and the place went out of business really quickly :rolleyes:

dmayer84
04-09-2007, 02:38 PM
We just fired a guy at the pizza shop I work at for stealing food and money. Camera is the best way to go, or just talk to the other employees working. Shouldnt be too hard to find out whos taking it.

helton333
04-09-2007, 02:44 PM
I own an insurance agency - we deal with a lot of money - I have an office manager - she is responsible for our money - if can be her tail on the line if money is missing - Probably pretty hard to fire everybody, and not wise to do that either.

Is there no way to narrow it down?

Upper Michigan Prostar190
04-09-2007, 02:46 PM
how about this..............I hear it's done in some countries.......cut one finger off the right hand of the two suspect employees. Tell them if any more $$$$$ is missing.......you're cut off another one:D
who are you? Jack Bauer?;) 8p

OK, I totally hear you! My parents went through this with their grocery store. Bad problem to have for sure. I dont think its right to fire 2 employees for this, put yourself in the innocent persons shoes. I do think that you can figure it out with some basic detective work on your part. I recommend trying the switching shifts that someone else recommended. people who are dumb enough to steal are dumb enough to get caught. If that dont isolate it, I would try to install a camera WITHOUT them knowing. come in and install it at night when nobody is around and clean up really well so they dont know anything has been done. video tape the suspected persons on their shift and go back and watch the tapes.

Datdude
04-09-2007, 02:50 PM
A friend's brother owns a bar and was going through a similar situation. He had a camera installed and caught the person within two weeks......problem solved.

I would also take both employees(seperately) aside and ask them questions about the missing money. Their reaction to questioning may give them away as well. Good luck

Maristar210
04-09-2007, 02:56 PM
Sit all of them down at once or in a group of two and tell there is a thief amoung them. Chances are someone besides the thief knows it is occurring and is scared for any number of reasons to rat them out. Then tell them you are installing a video surveillance system and do so. You need one anyways. Good luck... Steve

bigmac
04-09-2007, 02:57 PM
Apparently you know what the take was supposed to be, and it's coming up short when you reconcile at the end of the day. So, the thief is ringing up all the sales, but just grabbing some bills from the cash drawer during the course of a shift? Hmmm..I'd be looking hard at the more stupid of the two employees. It would be smarter to not ring up the sale at all - then the only thing you'd be able to reconcile against is inventory and that would be a lot harder.

Cameras are fine, but make sure you understand the legal implications of using them relative to your state's laws, federal law, and your employment agreement and employee handbook. Such surveillance is a cumbersome tool in this circumstance and may provide a lot of work, expense, and no answer. I'd be more inclined to separate the two suspects shift-wise, then do random cash register reconciliations during each shift.

pilot02
04-09-2007, 02:58 PM
I think you just need better control of your register. Limit who's in the register during each shift to one person and run an "x" tape and then have the mgr verify the countdown with the associate. End of the day, do a normal cloesout "Z". Shouldn't take long to find out who's coming out short.

PendO
04-09-2007, 03:09 PM
Start each person with a till that is 25-50 bucks long (don't tell them), see what happens, if both come up with an even till at the end of the night ... (I assume they reconcile their own tills?)

Apparently you know what the take was supposed to be, and it's coming up short when you reconcile at the end of the day. So, the thief is ringing up all the sales, but just grabbing some bills from the cash drawer during the course of a shift? Hmmm..I'd be looking hard at the more stupid of the two employees. It would be smarter to not ring up the sale at all - then the only thing you'd be able to reconcile against is inventory and that would be a lot harder.

Cameras are fine, but make sure you understand the legal implications of using them relative to your state's laws, federal law, and your employment agreement and employee handbook. Such surveillance is a cumbersome tool in this circumstance and may provide a lot of work, expense, and no answer. I'd be more inclined to separate the two suspects shift-wise, then do random cash register reconciliations during each shift.

Yeah, these are the smarter version (2.0) ... we used to have this problem when I worked at some resturants for my dad in highschool

I managed a coffee shop years ago and money started to disappear. As it turned out here is what was happening:

Regulars would come in everyday and order the same thing. Most of whom knew how much their drink was going to be and would bring in exact change. The employee would hit "No Sale" on the register so it looked as if something was being rung up and once the customer walked away he would simply pocket the cash. Doesn't sound like it would be too lucrative, but at $4-$6 per transaction the fella was making out with at least a couple of hundred bucks in "tips" every week. On the books it just appeared as though business had slowed, but this guy was turning a pretty decent profit.

Then Starbuck's set up shop right around the corner and the place went out of business really quickly :rolleyes:

cbryan70
04-09-2007, 03:18 PM
The till thing may work. At my previous job, at the end of the day we had to countdown each register. Perhapes making only one person on the register at a time then counting down there till at the end of there shift me work. I dont know how the company works as this may be hard if it gets busy, and it will make you work a little bit harder. But catching the person and keeping your hard earned money would be well worth the reward obviously

barefoot
04-09-2007, 05:19 PM
Apparently you know what the take was supposed to be, and it's coming up short when you reconcile at the end of the day. So, the thief is ringing up all the sales, but just grabbing some bills from the cash drawer during the course of a shift? Hmmm..I'd be looking hard at the more stupid of the two employees.





Can you believe it?!?! That's what erks me the most...It’s so unsophisticated, it's stupid!

bigmac
04-09-2007, 05:22 PM
Can you believe it?!?! That's what erks me the most...It’s so unsophisticated, it's stupid!Well, it's so stupid that it would probably make me look harder at the possibility that it's some kind of accounting error or a problem with till entry.

Ric
04-09-2007, 05:26 PM
this is a cool thread!

Upper Michigan Prostar190
04-09-2007, 05:30 PM
this is a cool thread!
I have no idea what that means Ric, but I am laughing out loud at my desk after reading it. You are a freakin card!:uglyhamme

Ric
04-09-2007, 05:31 PM
I want to see how it ends!

ski_king
04-09-2007, 05:35 PM
I agree with what you are doing. Seperate the 2 and see what happens.

Now I am confused. You stated you own a coffee shop, but you list your occipation as chemicals?
What do you put in the coffee?

Upper Michigan Prostar190
04-09-2007, 05:38 PM
I want to see how it ends!
Tune in next week to: "As the coffee shop turns" ;)

Upper Michigan Prostar190
04-09-2007, 05:39 PM
Now I am confused. You stated you own a coffee shop, but you list your occipation as chemicals?
What do you put in the coffee?
he puts laxatives in the coffee because he has pay toilets in the rest rooms. :D :D :D

Hrkdrivr
04-09-2007, 05:47 PM
This might be a bit naive, but have you considered talking to the police? They might not be interested in a small-time (to them :)) theft problem, but I bet they'd be able at least to give you a vector on how to figure out who's doing it, if they're not willing to help.

Be careful...this has the makings of something you hear about on the evening news. That's why I'd recommend letting the professionals handle it, if they're willing. That's why we pay our taxes, right?!?

bigmac
04-09-2007, 07:50 PM
I have no idea what that means Ric, but I am laughing out loud at my desk after reading it. You are a freakin card!:uglyhamme

I'm guessing it means that it's the opposite of a gay thread...;)

trickskier
04-09-2007, 07:58 PM
Apparently you know what the take was supposed to be, and it's coming up short when you reconcile at the end of the day. So, the thief is ringing up all the sales, but just grabbing some bills from the cash drawer during the course of a shift? Hmmm..I'd be looking hard at the more stupid of the two employees. It would be smarter to not ring up the sale at all - then the only thing you'd be able to reconcile against is inventory and that would be a lot harder.
I agree with you bigmac.............If the thief took the same amount both times and rung up sales they're not too intelligent........I also agree that they should be seperated to see if the pilferage continues. It's possible that they could be working together............:rolleyes:
Good Luck!!!

TMCNo1
04-09-2007, 08:40 PM
I bet House could figure it out!

trickskier
04-09-2007, 08:42 PM
I bet House could figure it out!
Only if you had enough drugs to pay him...............:uglyhamme

TX.X-30 fan
04-09-2007, 08:43 PM
[QUOTE=bigmac]. It would be smarter to not ring up the sale at all - then the only thing you'd be able to reconcile against is inventory and that would be a lot harder.


This would explain why my doctor cuts me a great deal for cash. 8p ;)

Upper Michigan Prostar190
04-09-2007, 08:57 PM
Bigmac, you may be right about Ric!

Leroy
04-09-2007, 08:58 PM
How long have you had this place Barefoot? Stolen property is deductible on your taxes I believe.....

BriEOD
04-09-2007, 09:21 PM
Sorry to hear it Barefoot. Deal with criminals everyday....

Again, sorry don't have time to read 39 pages of posts. But, my first question is what is your desired effect? Termination, prosecution, return the money?

I hear what people are saying about cameras and it is a good idea. That said, if you hope to re-coup the money SUBJECT(s) have taken, you need to establish a pattern. Getting it on tape one time gives you grounds for termination, but I seriously doubt prosectution--maybe. I assume we aren't talking thousands of dollars, so most likely it is a misdemeanor. If it were me, I'd set them up. Either mark the bills, or even better mark them and make a photo copy of some of them (if you do this make sure you enlarge or shrink don't want to get into counterfeiting issues). Then near the end of the shift grab a few employees and tell them what happened and have them turn out their pocket money. That said, make sure you let a few employees in on this before you do it. Once the culprit sees the others complying they won't want to be the odd one out--trust me they never do. Find the marked ones and show them the photo copy. You haven't violated anyone's rights and they voluntarily allowed you to inspect. If they refuse, tell them you installed a hidden camera and you are going to turn it over to the police if they don't come clean.

Good luck

suedv
04-09-2007, 09:38 PM
I don't have new ideas on the "how to catch a thief" part, but I would suggest that if you aren't already doing this, document the problems and what you are doing to figure out who is the thief with dates and as much information as you can fill in. Like Bigmac said, make sure you understand the legal implications.

I once had an employee that was a human resource nightmare. I'm so glad I documented incidents because when I had to fire her it prevented a lot of problems for me.

atlfootr
04-09-2007, 09:58 PM
if you know who's doing it, tell them you have footage of them and see what happens.Dangerous idea if there's NO CAMERA already there, because they may call his bluff and then he's totally screwed :rolleyes:

BriEOD
04-09-2007, 09:59 PM
Also, not sure what the laws of your state are. However, I doubt they vary greatly from Federal Law.

As far as a camera, I cannot see any glaring legal issues. You are installing it in a public place where SUBJECT has no expectation of privacy. Therefore, you do not require consent from him/her. That said, ensure it is only a video feed and not audio. The interception of real time oral communications is a whole other ball of wax. It is a PITA. Additionally, as I have said many times, many of the laws covering surveillance and civil rights apply ONLY when one of the actors is on behalf of the government. In this case you are a private buisness and and an employee.

JimN
04-09-2007, 10:07 PM
It's not always the dumb one who gets caught, or steals, for that matter. Watch the people who are constantly going into the till when they aren't making a sale. If someone is constantly making change and counting the money, that's the first one I would suspect. I worked with someone like that and he was definitely taking money but he wasn't very careful after a while and we found his gas bill on the back counter, for almost the exact amount we were short that night. He had a coke habit and that was part of how he paid for it.

If there is a person who was passed over for a raise or promotion, has developed a bad attitude (or theirs has gotten worse), their hygiene has gotten worse, more often late to work/calling in sick/needing to leave early, they're on the list.

How about including a note with everyone's pay check that says that there has been a problem with the till and you know who is responsible. The guilty one may just stop coming in.

Personally, if I had a business that took in mostly cash, I would have cameras, anyway. For the record- they don't broadcast on the internet, you need to go to a specific address or site to see what's happening but you can be literally anywhere internet access is available. Access to your cameras would be granted during setup, via password or IP address.

JimN
04-09-2007, 10:09 PM
IIRC, in Wisconsin, one person needs to know the recording is taking place for it to be legal.

jaysus
04-09-2007, 11:22 PM
I have a new name for your store....

"counting beans"

jimmer2880
04-10-2007, 06:41 AM
I don't know about your state. But, in MD, if your looking to fire this person for theft, the police need to be involved and the thief needs to be procecuted. Otherwise, they can come back at you for unemployment benefits.

This happened to me when I was working at a publishing company. We knew the person (only person working those nights) was stealing, so I popped in one morning at 5:00 & caught her in the cash box (had no reason being in there. Fired her on the spot for stealing some of the cash. However, she came back later through unemployment saying we terminated her unjustly since we never procecuted her. If it wasn't for the fact that she also had a ~cough~ "friend" with her that wasn't supposed to be there, she would have won.

Ric
04-10-2007, 10:14 AM
I'm guessing it means that it's the opposite of a gay thread...;) you are correct sir. so far this is still not a gay thread

Monte
04-10-2007, 11:04 AM
Is it possible that both of the suspects are in on it? Maybe one is "looking out" while the other does the deed?

barefoot
04-11-2007, 05:29 PM
You guys are good. I’m gone for a day and a half and I come back to all these responses. A lot of great advice...And Ric, for you, I’ll keep the thread alive to let you know the outcome!

I believe that I have built adequate safeguards into our system to keep things like this from happening, which is why I believe that it’s theft. I’m sure that every major retailer has experienced theft in their organizations. No matter how sophisticated their systems are, it’s prone to happen. Overall, my sales are in line with where they should be in terms of the day. There were no red flags with the hourly sales figures. The customer count is what I consider average. The ‘no sales’, on the other hand, were on the high side. I would like to believe that it’s a mistake, but I think it would be a little foolish to think that the same mistake happened two weeks in a row.

One question I keep thinking to myself ‘what do I want the outcome to be?’ It would be great to get the money back, but I don’t think it’s likely. The recurring thought is that if there is someone stealing, I don’t want this person to be a part of our team. So I’m wondering how much of my hand to show. I could write an employee memo that said ‘the register was off by XX amount of money two weekends in a row. I believe that it is not the product of a mistake because of X, Y, and Z. The reports printed from the register shows A, B, and C, which leads to suspect that it is employee theft. The police have been contacted etc, etc, etc.’ If the outcome was that it scared the person enough not do it again, would I find justice in that? I guess then maybe I could consider it a mistake or to know that the problem has been flushed out.

What I have done is rearrange schedules to see if I can isolate the incident. I have a meeting with my local police district to make them aware of the problem and see if they can offer solutions. But overall, I hope this stops so I can call it resolved.

M-Funf
04-11-2007, 06:27 PM
One question I keep thinking to myself ‘what do I want the outcome to be?’

I would guess that you want the outcome to be that you don't have to worry about one of these employees stealing the money. If that's the case, the letter won't help. Just fire the person and move on. Only then will you be able to sleep at night.

wakolman
04-11-2007, 06:57 PM
Put in a camera. It might cost you a little to do it, but once you have them on tape, you will get all of it back when the DA goes after them. Then you could file a civil suit for all the other "damages". Or call your sheriff's office and talk to a detective and see what he/she would recommend you do, since you haven't confronted the employee yet.

We are going through this right now with our one employee. If we had the camera, her lies would be even more ridiculous. She is the only one who works at my wife's office, and she doesn't know where the $1800 went.

jimmer2880
04-12-2007, 07:20 AM
I'd be trying to get the bad apple out asap. This kind of behavior tends to be contagious. Laziness breeds more laziness. Theft breeds more theft. Install the cam for proof, then press theft charges so that you can fire them asap without fear of legal recourse for them to come back to you for improper dismissal.

pram
04-19-2007, 05:54 PM
It has been a week since the last response about this. How has it gone? Anything come out of it? Did you end up letting the two people go or did someone step up with some information?

Ric
04-19-2007, 06:18 PM
holy shnikees, what if they took him out?

CarlosCabanas
04-20-2007, 11:31 AM
I think they stole barefoots computer!!

Ric
04-20-2007, 11:45 AM
I think they stole barefoots computer!! Carlos, aren't you the one who's opening a bar or something in belize? I bet you'll have to watch that stuff like a hawk too.

pram
04-20-2007, 01:15 PM
holy shnikees, what if they took him out?


Local man accosted for confronting employees regarding money theft from till. More @ 6 :D

Upper Michigan Prostar190
04-20-2007, 01:18 PM
Local man accosted for confronting employees regarding money theft from till. More @ 6 :D
Hey that aint funny! has anyone heard from barefoot???:( :( :confused:

pram
04-20-2007, 02:12 PM
Hey that aint funny! has anyone heard from barefoot???:( :( :confused:


Come on ya know I was only kiddin ;)

M-Funf
06-19-2007, 08:18 PM
Hey barefoot,
Did you catch a thief? Enquiring minds want to know...:D

barefoot
06-20-2007, 12:46 PM
Yup. It ended up being the person I suspected. But she ended up firing herself. I can’t believe I didn’t finish the story! Here it goes…

I’m out on the boat launch with my buddy…first time of the season. I was about ready to back the boat into the water when I got a call from my employee asking where so and so was. What? She isn’t there yet? My employee is freaking out because she had a meeting to get to. I start making the calls to find out where she was….cell phone goes right to voice mail. Call her back-up number and it rings for a while, then to voice mail. At this time, my blood was boiling. I keep calling the number every 5 minutes. Finally, her sister picks up and said “Oh, yesterday was here last day. She moved to Arazona. I can’t believe she didn’t tell you.”

Left the lake to go to work. Extremely pissed, I count the nightly drop. Where off…again…this time, by about a days worth of cash! I hit orbit and call the police. They give me my options and I decide to file a police report.

Monday morning, I was talking with one of my advisors, and they asked if I was certain that this person had left town I said I didn’t know for sure and decide to go to her house after work. Knock on the door, ring the doorbell, but nobody was home. I hear something behind the house so I go have a look. Turned out to be the neighbor. I figured I gave it a shot and started walking to my car. Low and behold, I walked around the corner of the building and almost run into her! She’s talking on her cell phone holding a sick cat.

I told her she was terminated for no call/no show. I also said it was coincidental that some money was missing….a lot of it. She turned completely white and said she didn’t know anything about that. I said convince me. Her response was ‘I don’t need the money. I’m poor anyways so why would I need the money?” Oh…I don’t know…maybe because you’re leaving town and need some travel money….or maybe it’s because your cat’s sick and need to be able to pay for the vet bill…Or maybe it’s because you are poor and need to make rent. Who knows…

I haven’t seen her since. The good news is that she didn’t come pick up her last check, but as you can imagine, it wasn’t enough to cover what she stole. I’m happy to report that the till has been spot on ever since she was fired.

tex
06-20-2007, 12:50 PM
She caused you to miss a day of skiing. We give you the needle for that here in Texas! Glad that it worked out. Sorry that you missed ski time and $$$$$$$.

M-Funf
06-20-2007, 12:51 PM
Good news! Sorry that you lost some cash at the end there, but it sounds like it won't be happening any more :woohoo:

Ric
06-20-2007, 01:11 PM
so what will happen with the police report? will they go get her for questions or what? how does that work?

Upper Michigan Prostar190
06-20-2007, 01:36 PM
so what will happen with the police report? will they go get her for questions or what? how does that work?
Havent you ever watched Barney Miller? :noface:

Maristar210
06-20-2007, 01:37 PM
Havent you ever watched Barney Miller? :noface:


Exactly. Send Fish out to see her. If that doesn't work ask Don Corleone to convince her she should return your moolah....

Ric
06-20-2007, 02:10 PM
Exactly. Send Fish out to see her. If that doesn't work ask Don Corleone to convince her she should return your moolah.... oh ya, Sally's cousin

Upper Michigan Prostar190
06-20-2007, 02:47 PM
oh ya, Sally's cousin
This is for the cops.

Upper Michigan Prostar190
06-20-2007, 02:49 PM
Exactly. Send Fish out to see her. If that doesn't work ask Don Corleone to convince her she should return your moolah....
Actually Fish is making Coffee. Wojo and Harris will go out and bring her in while Detrick is booking the hooker, and The inspector is remeniscing about the good ol' days walking the beat with Brownie.

SkiDog
06-20-2007, 03:03 PM
She did ask you if she could use you for a reference didn't she?!:mad: :D

barefoot
06-20-2007, 05:52 PM
I hope, actually I'm begging, for her to put me down as a reference! Oh, man, would I have fun! You know, to a certain point, I think that would be a beautiful thing to put closure to this ugly situation