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October 22, 2012 SUBSCRIBE

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h.h.gregg Builds "Common Goal" Culture to Effectively Reduce Loss

Loss prevention team uses interdepartmental approach

Article submitted by Vector Security

When Todd Zimmerman, National Asset Protection Manager at h.h.gregg, joined the appliances and electronics retailer in 2005, he was tasked to build a loss prevention team from the ground up. Back then, the company had 55 stores and its loss prevention challenges centered mainly on internal loss. Most investigations and audits were done manually.

Today, h.h.gregg has more than 220 stores nationally, plus several distribution centers. Its loss prevention department is 20 team members strong and its concerns focus on more sophisticated criminal activity such as credit card and check fraud, and organized retail crime. The company relies heavily on exception-based reporting and IP-based video solutions, with most of its stores outfitted with video surveillance cameras that allow its loss prevention team to view footage from laptops and mobile devices.

The results of h.h.gregg’s loss prevention strategies are evidenced by the fact that regular write-offs for missing products have been reduced by 50 percent. Loss as a result of "return to vendor" and damaged items each decreased by 10 percent. The company continues to focus on the latter two areas, by having auditors research touchpoints within the lifecycle of a product in order to pinpoint where loss occurs.

With these landmark results, to what does h.h.gregg attribute its loss prevention successes? "It’s all about partnerships," Todd says.

How it Began

"Coming into the company seven years ago as the sole loss prevention person, I knew I needed the help of others to effect change," Todd explains. From the get-go, he understood that building a successful loss prevention function would require forming partnerships with other internal team members around a common goal.

Todd Zimmerman"My primary objectives were to create a safe work environment for all our employees and to make the company profitable," he says.

He also wanted to sell loss prevention as a win. "At the time, the loss prevention profession as a whole was viewed as police or guards. I wanted to change that that we were looked at as professionals who are a valued part of the business."

To that end, Todd reached out to h.h.gregg’s other internal departments such as Human Resources, Operations, Real Estate, Information Technology, Marketing and Accounting. He wanted to understand their goals in order to become a better business partner. "I created the LP department to meet their needs, so we could all be more successful," he says. "There’s no good that comes from working against each doesn’t serve anyone well."

That’s not to say they always agree with each other. There have been instances where the loss prevention team has proposed a solution that another department may not immediately agree with. "We once proposed clear plastic boxes that some of our high-theft items could be housed in on the sales floor," Todd cites. "Our buyers weren’t so excited about this idea. Rather than force it on them, we looked into other ideas, did some testing and compromised on a solution we were all happy with."

LP Technologies

The common goal approach at h.h.gregg has also positioned the company to better utilize technological advancements in LP.

"As we begin to rely more heavily on video and other technologies, it helps that we have a long-standing partnership with our IT department already in place," Todd says.

Cameras are used not only as an LP tool, but also as a customer service tool and productivity tool.

In addition to video cameras and exception-based reporting, h.h.gregg uses traditional burglar and fire alarms to supplement their LP efforts, with Vector Security as its preferred vendor for new locations. The company is also piloting electronic article surveillance products provided by Vector Security.

The Changing Landscape

Over the 14 years that Todd has been in the LP industry, he has seen many changes. "LP is morphing into something more than catching shoplifters," he explains. "It’s becoming about taking a holistic approach and understanding business challenges and objectives. It’s about working together. At h.h.gregg our LP team is not just the LP department and our immediate interdepartmental partners. It includes all 7,000 people who work here... who are all working toward a common goal."

Vector Security Addresses Changing LP Needs

As the provider of intelligent security solutions, our goal at Vector Security is to help our customers be successful. One way we do this is by advocating for, and supporting them as new industry trends emerge.

One of these trends, as evidenced by h.h.gregg, is that companies are taking a more holistic approach to loss prevention. As new technologies become available, LP departments are working closer than ever before with their internal business partners to ensure success.

Vector SecurityVector Security recognizes the need to address this change and we are poised to respond to the evolving landscape not only by offering the latest technologies and analytics, but also by teaming with our customers to form relationships at all levels within their respective organizations.


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Wal-Mart dominating Target's home state - Minn., with more stores than Target has And with plans to open three more supercenters this week. Retail analyst Stan Pohmer says Wal-Mart is following its standard strategy of dominating a region by saturating the marketplace. He predicts that independent grocers will have to sell out or consolidate. Interestingly enough it's Supervalu's home state as well. (Source

Some Employers Concerned About Potential Laws On Criminal Records in Hiring As employers across the U.S. grapple with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's updated guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records in the hiring process, city council bills from Washington State and Washington D.C. aimed at helping ex-offenders reenter the workforce are causing some employers concern. The commission says that if an employer finds a conviction in a candidate’s criminal history, it should give the applicant a chance to explain why he or she shouldn’t be excluded from consideration. While there is no federal law that prohibits an employer from asking about arrest and conviction records, the EEOC has said that using such records as an absolute disqualification for employment could limit the employment opportunities of some groups protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (Source

CFO magazine reported that trucking theft results in about $30 billion in losses each year Trucking piracy has become a major issue for retailers and suppliers in the past few years. Companies face the challenges of dealing with increased gang presence, the relative ease of breaking into trucks and trailers to access goods and a seeming lack of concern from law agencies, all of which have turned trucking piracy into a huge industry. (Source

CyberSource recently partnered with the Merchant Risk Council (MRC) to survey its members on the top fraud attacks 9. Triangulation Schemes 8. Phishing/Pharming/Whaling 7. Botnets 6. Re-Shipping 5. Affiliate Fraud 4. Identity Theft 3. Friendly Fraud 2. Account Takeover 1. Clean Fraud Listen to a recording of this well-attended webinar. (Source


Founder of Circuit City releases a new book on Tuesday, "Good to Great to Gone", speaks of a missed opportunity to buy Best Buy for $30 million. Alan Wurtzel the founder of Circuit City stated that back in 1988 the founder of Best Buy tried to sell the company to Circuit City, but at the time Circuit City believed all they needed to do was to open stores in Best Buys backyard of Minnesota and would crush the company. (Source

7 members on international fraud ring busted in Georgia posting fake listings on Craigslist to commit fraud Police say the group is part of a larger crime group operating out of Eastern Europe which posts fictitious listings on Craigslist to commit fraud. More than 50 fraudulent money/wire transfers were identified, 62 counterfeit ID cards, and numerous passports were recovered, police said. In addition, investigators located a makeshift lab containing computers, specialized printers and fake documents used to manufacture counterfeit identification. (Source

CargoNet Assists GBI in "Quickest" Pharmaceutical Recovery A few weeks ago, CargoNet was contacted and asked to assist in recovering 2 pallets of Hydromorphone, a painkiller eight times stronger than morphine valued at $170,000. The combined effort resulted in a full recovery less than 24 hours after the cargo was stolen. "The industry is getting better every day at moving (this kind of) information around," said Georgia Motor Trucking Association President Ed Crowell. (Source

Insurance Underwriters take aim at Cargo Theft as the U.S. spires an economic recovery. With hopes of a return to more, 'made in USA', the insurance industry is taking a long look at understanding its customers to evaluate the risks of cargo security. Don Harrell, senior vice president, Marine, at Liberty International Underwriters stated that 90 percent of Retailers have been affected by cargo theft and that organized crime plays a major role in the loss of over $30 Billion per year. (Source

Counterfeit Swiss Watches seized in Paraguay worth over $34 million. Over the past 15 months, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has provided extensive training and capacity building to Paraguay’s customs office and other Paraguayan law enforcement partners. On Oct. 16, Paraguayan authorities, working collaboratively with HSI, seized counterfeit merchandise with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $34 million. On Oct. 11, Paraguayan authorities received information about counterfeit products being smuggled out of Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asunción. Among the various brands were watches from Patek Philippe, Tissot, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Hublot. In addition, approximately 12,500 counterfeit Samsung cellular phones were discovered. (Source

Italian Government claims Counterfeit Goods are costing the country 110,000 jobs. Italy claims that over $9 billion of counterfeit merchandise is purchased in Italy per year. If those same products were manufactured and taxed, tax revenue alone would be over $6 billion for the struggling economy. (Source

Kentucky State Police bust counterfeit check ring, attempting to buy a boat for $150,000. An alert employee of Neptune Yacht Sales tipped off authorities to a fake check for $150,000. The case quickly developed and three people were arrested for passing the bad checks throughout Texas, Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina, which were printed in the back of their stolen van. (Source

Shoplifting chase ends in crash that kills innocent 16 yr-old in Baytown, Texas Two shoplifting suspects who had just stolen merchandise from a Sears store and then shoplifted from an Academy store where once in their pick-up police closed in to make an arrest. Investigators say Chauncey backed up the truck, hit a police car and took off and hit a car. The 17-year-old driver of the car hit was sent to the hospital in critical condition. The passenger, 16-year-old Shawn Williams, was killed. Both suspects were arrested. (Source

3 Security Officers killed over the weekend in 3 separate incidents. MOBILE AL. A security officer has been shot to death in an apparent robbery. Brooklyn NY Oct 22 2012 A bouncer was killed in a hail of gunfire early Sunday morning. ORLANDO, Fla. Oct 21 2012 — Police are investigating after a security officer for an Orlando apartment complex was murdered while on duty Saturday night. (Source

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Boost Mobile employee killed in apparent robbery in Laveen, AZ. Police 911 dispatchers received a call at about 7:30 p.m. from someone stating a door was open at the Boost Mobile store. The caller told police she had gone to the store and saw that the door was open and the light was on but no one appeared to be inside. When officers arrived and searched the store, they found 18 year old Jose Ruiz's body behind the counter; he had suffered an apparent gunshot wound. Police currently have no suspects in the case. (Source

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Chase for a CVS and Walgreens robbery suspect in Houston ends with K-9 apprehension. A 29 year old suspect was taken into custody after a short high speed chase that ended with additional charges of assaulting a police officer, the K-9 dog. The suspect is believed to have been responsible for a robbery of a Walgreens early Sunday morning, followed by the robbery at CVS at 10am. (Source

Family Dollar Employee prank led to Kansas store selling laxative-tainted Coke. On October 18, Barbara J. Nelson filed a lawsuit alleging that she became ill after drinking most of a bottle of laxative-laced Coca-Cola she bought Sept. 10 at a Family Dollar store. The assistant manager allegedly confessed to officers that he put 25 laxative tablets into each of two plastic bottles of Coca-Cola and resealed the caps with glue to hide any tampering. The assistant manager then allegedly put the bottles into an employee refrigerator at the rear of the store, "with the intention that (the other employee) would take and drink both of the Cokes, even though they were not his drinks," according to a police report. That employee, however, noticed the tablets. Instead of merely discarding the bottles, a police report states, he allegedly moved them to a cooler at the front of the store intended for customers. (Source

Click here to view videoArby’s Assistant Manager in Ohio fired after fleeing the restaurant during and armed robbery. Mary Archer, an Arby’s employee for 23 years, was fired Friday for violating the Arby’s Company's safety and security police because she was the only employee in the store at the time of the robbery. Archer was working alone when the door bell rang to the rear entrance to the store. When she opened the door, a man with a knife rushed in. Archer was able to escape the robber by climbing out the drive-thru window and screaming for help. The suspect fled the restraint empty handed. Arby’s claims Archer was warned others times of the security guidelines but Archer claims this is the third robbery of her store with no security, panic alarm or cameras.  (Source

Walmart, Target and Best Buy stores in Jacksonville the target of one Grand Felony thief. Police have identified Mark Chrisley as the person of interest in several thefts of electronics merchandise from Walmart, Best Buy and Target stores in Florida. Chrisley is also wanted for residential burglaries in Georgia. (Source

Gunman kills self, 3, wounds 4 others near Brookfield Mall, in Wisconsin. Radcliffe Haughton entered the Azana Salon at 11:00am on Sunday to confront his estranged wife, who had filed a temporary restraining order against him for domestic abuse. Radcliffe Haughton was later found dead in the salon of a self inflicted gunshot wound. All three of those shot to death at the Azana Salon & Spa were female. His estranged wife, Zina Haughton, was among those fatally wounded. (Source

7- Eleven clerks strips shoplifter down to his underwear in Brooklyn all over a candy bar and caught on tape During the skirmish, some patrons can be heard laughing on the video, while others yelled, "You are attacking him!" A 7-Eleven spokesperson called the video "disturbing" and said one employee had been fired, while two others were being retrained. The suspect was arrested and faces charges of robbery and assault. (Source

Lowe's posted a Director of Loss Prevention Operations position recently This $49B retailer with over 1,700 stores recently posted the position.

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Dillard’s Grab and Run thieves fall down and leave empty handed. Three suspects are still on the lose, but may need time to better plan their next escape. Running into each other as they tried to quickly run out of the Dillard’s Department Store at the Perimeter Mall in Georgia with an arm load of Polo shirts did not go so well on this attempt. (Source

eBay News

eBay PROACT Team Supports Retail Theft Case Leading to Arrest

eBay Global Asset Protection group and its specialized retail investigators assigned to their PROACT team provided valuable assistance and support to retail & law enforcement investigators leads to arrest of serial shoplifting suspect. Police say they have arrested the man believed to be the serial shoplifter known as "Mr. Sandals" . Police said the suspect, 44, stole tens of thousands of dollars in Frontline pet medication, Spanx shape wear and Wusthof knives. He would resell the stolen products online and investigators said he stole from 39 PetSmart stores -- some more than once -- over the past two years. Police said the suspect confessed to the crimes. "He said business was slow, he had a mortgage, child support he had to pay and lots of expense for his business," Detectives said. Detectives added they have little sympathy for him. "He is doing this as his business,". "He is waking up in the morning to go and steal. Whenever we can go tie up a bunch of cases and get that dollar amount up, it's a pretty good feeling. It's a pretty big deal to us." Quick coordination and partnership between retailer and PROACT investigators allowed PayPal balance to be restricted and held as part of evidence in this growing criminal organized theft investigation. Click here for full article.

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The Impact of HazCom/GHS Changes on Retailers

Effective May 2012, OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard became aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemical and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets (SDSs).

RILA recently partnered with J.J Keller and Associates, Inc. on a white paper that provides an overview of the 2012 revisions and the impact of these changes on retailers.

Lisa LaBruno, Esq.
Vice-President, Loss Prevention & Legal Affairs
Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)
Direct: (703) 600-2024

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Kroger to discontinue selling sprouts due to Food Safety Risk. Kroger Co. (KR) said it will no longer sell fresh sprouts due to its potential safety risk. The supermarket operator noted that testing and sanitizing by growers and safe food handling by consumers are the critical steps to protect against food-borne illness. "Sprouts present a unique challenge because pathogens may reside inside of the seeds where they cannot be reached by the currently available processing interventions," said Vice President of Food Safety Payton Pruett, adding the company also will stop procuring other foods that are produced on the same equipment as sprouts. Deliveries of sprouts into the company's distribution centers and stores will be discontinued on Monday. (Source

Banana Boat recalling sunscreen after five reports of burn cases
. It is reported that a handful of people have caught on fire after applying UltraMist Sport, UltraMist Ultra Defense, or UltraMist Kids and coming in contact with an open flame. Banana Boat is pulling 23 varieties of it's aerosol products off store shelves.  (Source

Not knowing proper first aid knowledge could be 'as dangerous as cancer
.' A recent campaign over in the UK shows that 140,000 people every year die in situations that could have been prevented if someone present had been trained in first aid. That number is the same as those killed by cancer. Although the campaign is all in the UK, it's important for people in North America to be informed as well. (Source

National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 25,000 people a day are victims of slip-and-fall accidents The expense of these injuries is running at $3.5 million per hour, every hour of the day, every day of the year. Moreover, compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip-and-fall accidents total approximately $70 billion annually. Slip-resistant footwear can help avoid these costly accidents. While they range in size, price, color, and style, it is important to remember that one size does not fit all. In May 2012, Marsh Supermarkets, headquartered in Indianapolis, made it mandatory that all employees wear slip-resistant shoes. It was voluntary up to that point. (Source

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Dozens of Calgary stores join police in battle against retail theft & ORC Retail crime has gone from petty theft to a sophisticated illegal enterprise, forcing police and store owners to come up with new ideas to keep up with the crooks. In Calgary, a secure website for police and retail loss-prevention officers allows them to share information about suspects and crime trends, helping put a dent in the millions of dollars local businesses lose every year to theft and fraud. "We need to disseminate this information a lot better instead of having a monthly meeting where we give out copies of (low quality) photocopies taken from surveillance video," said Const. Laura Sampson of the Calgary police retail crime initiative. The program’s website,, has signed up more than 280 local businesses since its launch a year ago. The joint effort is resulting in more cases being solved. "Our clearance rates have gone through the roof," she said. Investigators in Calgary may be awaiting more definitive local statistics, but national figures show theft alone costs Canadian retailers more than $3 billion a year. (Source

Two male employees of Woodbury Common Premium Outlets storage units hit Burberry for $93,000 Over a four-month period, Cardona and Thomas took $93,000 in Burberry coats, scarves, purses and pants. They sold the merchandise to friends, online and in New York City. They stole the designer duds from an off-site Make Black Friday a Green Friday with the Mini Patriot Familystorage unit belonging to the Burberry store at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. The men worked at another of the outlet store’s storage units, Vazquez said. (Source

Safeway and Fred Meyer battling ORC in the North West Here's a great article just published yesterday that talks about how the Safeway and Fred Meyer's Loss Prevention teams are teaming up with law enforcement and battling the increasing ORC problems in the North West. (Source

ORC women duo hits Osage Beach Premium Outlet Mall in Osage Beach, Mo. The two Oklahoma women had hit Brooks Brothers and Tommy Hilfiger stores stealing merchandise and returning the merchandise for gift cards. At the time of apprehension, gift cards, and merchandise from other stores, within the mall, were located. Both suspects were arrested. (Source

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Dept Mgr Store LP & Safety Lowe's Camden, SC Lowe's
Dept Mgr Store LP & Safety Lowe's Wallingford, CT Lowe's
Dept Mgr Store LP & Safety Lowe's Dublin, CA Lowe's
Loss Prevention Specialist - FT Lowe's Glen Carbon, IL Lowe's
AP Mgr in Training Walmart Elko, NV Walmart
AP Mgr in Training Walmart Rogers, AR Walmart
AP Mgr in Training Walmart Scottsdale, AZ Walmart
Safety & LP Mgr JML Landscape Pittsburgh, PA Monster
District LP Mgr Gap Outlet New York, NY Monster
Regional LP Mgr Bob's Discount Furniture Secaucus, NJ Bob's Discount Furniture
Retail LP Mgr Carson's Chicago Ridge, IL The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.
Sr Regional LP Mgr CVS Caremark North Richland Hills, TX CVS Caremark
District LP Mgr Abercrombie & Fitch Paris, France Abercrombie & Fitch
Regional LP Mgr The Children's Place Chicago, IL CareerBuilder
Loss Prevention Mgr Rite Aid Bergenfield, NJ Rite Aid
Branch LP Mgr HMS Host Phoenix, AZ HMS Host
Regional LP Mgr Collective Brands New York, NY Collective Brands
Regional LP Mgr Collective Brands Sacramento, CA Collective Brands
District LP Mgr Kmart El Paso, TX Sears Holdings Corp.
District LP Mgr Sears Fort Worth, TX Sears Holdings Corp.
District LP Mgr Sears Houston, TX Sears Holdings Corp.
Loss Prevention Mgr Kmart Memphis, TN Sears Holdings Corp.
Loss Prevention Mgr Sears Hammond, LA Sears Holdings Corp.
Loss Prevention Mgr Sears Enfield, CT Sears Holdings Corp.
Loss Prevention Mgr Sears Fresno, CA Sears Holdings Corp.
Loss Prevention Mgr Sears Anchorage, AK Sears Holdings Corp.
Loss Prevention Mgr Sears Boca Raton, FL Sears Holdings Corp.
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Mary Esther, FL Sears Holdings Corp.

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Samuel Diaz was promoted to Regional Manager of Loss Prevention for Henri Bendel.
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As decision makers for our companies, we all have a responsibility to our organizations and our teams to make the best possible informed decisions based on the facts, the cost, the ROI, and our due diligence. With the due diligence process being the only variable impacted by human opinion, therein lies the grey. Opinions can vary to the extremes with pitted rivalries being masked as confidential tidbits all the while being fueled by agendas on steroids, with even the most casual reference having intentions of deep meaning. All of us are relegated to our competitors' comments. Retailer or vendor, we all share that mutual circumstance. But at the end of the day, it's about rising above it and taking the high road, as difficult as that may be, and providing the most accurate information and knowledge that we can in order to help the industry.

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