Beth & Laurie had been losing money in their book shop for some time but they couldn’t figure out why. They had been forced to borrow more and more money against their house to keep the business running but they were still no better off because the shop continued to hemorrhage and they couldn’t find the wound.
Luckily for them Beth’s sister was working in the shop and offered to do longer hours to help try and sort the problem out and to keep an eye on the other staff.
Despite everybody’s apparent best efforts no quick fix was obvious and the accountant advised that they would have to start thinking about selling the shop, so Beth & Laurie called us in to help.
The first instruction I gave them was to ensure that absolutely no-one else knew that investigators were involved- not even their most trusted staff. It is always a difficult time when people’s honesty and integrity comes under question and business owners and managers never feel comfortable calling in the ‘cavalry’ but it is vital to keep any investigation top secret.
We installed hidden cameras above the till and also above the safe which was at the rear of the store in an effort to witness any untoward activity.
On reviewing the video footage and replaying the select activity to Beth & Laurie I expected to see them relieved that we had found the culprit. To my surprise they burst into tears and were inconsolable for some time.
During the time that Beth’s sister was working longer hours she was regularly seen squatting down by the safe and placing wads of notes into her shoes and bra. This wasn’t just the odd $5 note- it was wads of $10 and $20 notes. She was literally robbing them of everything they owned in order to pay for holidays and a hidden gambling addiction.
Fortunately for Beth & Laurie I was able to extract a full confession from the culprit and obtain a sizable payment from her to go towards compensation for the losses. Of course they had still lost faith and friendship of a family member.
• When your business is losing money- trust no-one.
• Always look at till habits. If staff are operating with an open till drawer or handling cash too often and unnecessarily, run an audit without delay.
• Even when we are reviewing footage the first thing that gives away an offender is their body language- watch this while they are at work.
• If you suspect someone is stealing don’t just fire them on the spot. Have a professional go through the issues with you. Rather than risk incurring a personal grievance by acting rashly you are better to go through the exercise of obtaining evidence and having the matter dealt with by experts.
• Hidden cameras are often the best way to gain such evidence and it would often only need to be a one week operation in order to resolve the case. Don’t delay- you could be losing more money than you think. Contact us.
Rod Moratti is the principal at Moratti & Associates, Licensed Investigators since 1989. Feel free to contact Rod on 027-6958863 at any time.