Cargo theft, display swiping behind increase in retail crime

The problem with shoplifting these days isn’t Little Johnny pocketing a pack of bubblegum, Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection adviser for the National Retail Federation, recently told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” during a broadcast interview. No, it’s a lot of Little Johnnies who are systematically swiping the entire gum display that’s becoming the problem. 


It’s organized retail crime, and it’s costing American retailers as much as $30 billion in lost sales annually, according to a Congressional Research Service report issued earlier this year. Those shoplifters feed a clandestine supply chain of stolen retail goods with hot selling items like over-the-counter pain relievers, blood-glucose monitor testing strips and infant formulas that are either unloaded directly through outlets like flea markets or are sold to “cleaners,” who — after removing security tags and refreshing the packaging — will sell them back to unsuspecting retailers. 


According to NRF’s “2011 Organized Retail Crime Survey,” nearly 85% of the senior loss prevention executives polled said organized retail crime activity in the United States has increased in the last three years. And half of all retailers have been victims of cargo theft in the past 12 months, losing entire trailers of merchandise that were en route from the distribution center to the store.