Did you know that shoplifting costs retailers across the UK a staggering £700 million each year? That’s a whopping £2 million of goods taken from stores and shelves every single day or £1,400 of items each time the minute hand makes its way slowly around the clock!
With an estimated 950,000 incidents of shoplifting across England last year, the problem seems as if it’s only continuing to grow and whilst we may often think of shoplifters as targeting everyday necessities or items such as alcohol, food, clothing and electricals, these aren’t the only objects to be catching the eye of would-be thieves, with size no barrier to some of the brazen robbers of today.
Here are 10 of the most unusual cases of opportune theft we’ve been able to find…
- A chainsaw
Having set his sights on the lofty target of a chainsaw, this particular shoplifter tried and, understandably, failed to carry the offending item in his trousers. Having been spotted and fled, this individual was actually caught having returned for a second attempt at his heist!
- An eight foot Christmas tree
Whilst we appreciate that Christmas is often known as the season of goodwill, this person even had the shop assistant help tie the tree to his car before making off with it!
- A condom machine
In 1994, a man in Michigan was spotted walking down the street with an entire condom machine that he’d stolen from a bar. It turned out to contain 48 condoms and $31.75 in quarters.
- A work of art
There’s a lot to be said of confidence; having realised that a painting, which had been adorning the wall of a local gallery, wasn’t going to fit into his hoodie, this young man simply tucked it under his arm and tried to walk out. He was of course spotted, so he ditched the painting and fled.
- Two pallets of security alarms
The irony of trying to steal a security alarm won’t be lost on most. In 2017, security alarms were stolen from a lorry in Cambridge whilst the driver was taking a nap. Fortunately for the thief, they weren’t switched on!
- Wigs and hair
You may be surprised to hear that the global wig and hair extensions industry is now worth more than $10 billion! It’s little wonder that cases of hair theft are now relatively common, with Britney Spears allegedly have once taken a wig from a mannequin in a lingerie store!
- Frozen eels
Frozen eels won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but for some they’re definitely worth their weight in gold. When 2,000 boxes of the slippery fish were taken from a shipping terminal in the US they were valued at more than $1 million dollars. They were only caught when the thieves tried selling them for restaurants to serve to would-be punters across New York!
- Rocket engine
This guy definitely had somewhere to be! In 2011, NASA managed to recover a RL-10 rocket engine worth $20,000 after it turned up on an internet auction, which an employee had previously stolen. How he got that one out of the office we’re not sure!
- The holy bible
Despite the 8th Commandment, the bible is possibly the most stolen book in the world, with 7% of Brits admitting they have stolen one from a hotel room in the past.
- 18 pet snakes
A man in Nebraska stole 18 pythons from a pet shop including one worth $5,000. He also stole $1,500 worth of frozen rats to feed them with.
So with nothing seemingly out of reach, what are the consequences to your retail business and how can you tackle this growing issue?
The largest issue with shoplifting as a retailer is not only that you’ve lost stock, but there may also be a lengthy period of time before you realise it. Having an accurate understanding of your stock levels at all times is vital to maximising your sales and revenue; after all, if you no longer have an item due to theft, you’ll definitely not be able to sell it until it’s replaced.
We’ve been working with retail businesses for more than 30 years to understand and identify where stock is being lost and ensure they always know where they stand with their stock.
For more information on our specialist retail stocktaking services please give our team a call on 01637 8746098 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.