Free World - September 15, 2021

Ben Dugan sat in an unmarked sedan in San Francisco one day last September waiti…


Ben Dugan sat in an unmarked sedan in San Francisco one day last September waiting for a CVS to be robbed.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
He tracked a man entering the store and watched as the thief stuffed more than $1,000 of allergy medicine into a trash bag, walked out and did the same at two other nearby stores, before loading them into a waiting van.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
The target was no ordinary shoplifter. He was part of a network of organized professionals, known as boosters, whom CVS had been monitoring for weeks. The company believed the group responsible for stealing almost $50 million in products over five years from dozens of stores in Northern California. The job for Dugan, the company’s top investigator, was to stop them.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
Retailers like CVS, Home Depot, Target and Ulta are spending millions a year to battle organized crime rings that steal from their stores in bulk and then peddle the goods online, often on Amazon’s retail platform, according to retail investigators, law-enforcement officers and court documents. It is a menace that has been supercharged by the pandemic and the rapid growth of online commerce that has accompanied it.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
“We’re trying to control it the best we can, but it’s growing every day,” Dugan said.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, a trade association, which Dugan heads, estimates that organized retail theft accounts for around $45 billion in annual losses for retailers these days, up from $30 billion a decade ago. At CVS, reported thefts have ballooned 30% since the pandemic began.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
Retail investigators, who are often former police, tail thieves, compile investigative reports, stalk storefronts for stolen goods and comb through trash outside suspects’ houses. They pore over videos from stores that have been robbed and scour profiles on online marketplaces.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
Read more at the link in our bio. ⁠⁠
⁠⁠
📷: @zackwittman for @wsjphotos



Source

Translate »