Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why I arrested my best friends girlfriend

One of our LP managers had a problem with an employee who was ripping off merchandise on Saturdays, which happened to be the manager’s day off. When I found out about it, I asked her why she didn’t call me so I could come in and take care of it. Well, the girl in question was the girlfriend of my best friend, and he himself was a LP manager at one of our other stores. I explained that I didn’t have a problem with it and she’d be treated like any other suspect. The case became mine.
The first Saturday, I came in and positioned myself in a tower behind a display so that I’d have a clear view of her department all day. Well, that didn’t work because all hell broke lose during the shift. The first major call I got was a customer attempting to walk out the store with some comforters that he hadn’t paid for. I caught his ass on the escalator, tall ass brother with two expensive comforters and no store bags. I jumped on the escalator behind him and gently whispered something to the effect that, if, he attempted to leave the store without paying for the merchandise, he’d have to deal with me. He never said a word, never turned around. When the escalator got to the bottom, he dropped the merchandise on the floor and headed straight out the door. First crisis over!
I got back into position. As soon as I was settled, I got a call that a customer had a gun. Damn! I left my perch and went to check on the situation. I got to the department just as the guy was exiting the store. The department manager walked with me, telling me what the guy had said and done in the department. Not his lucky day. I walked outside and the first cop that came by, I relayed the info to him. They picked his dumb ass up for aggravated assault. By the time everyone had finished with their statements, the day was over. The girl I came to watch, she smiled and waved on her way out the door. I swear, I couldn’t remember, but, I thought those sunglasses she had on belonged to us. Oh well, one thing about a successful thief, they are like satisfied customers. They always come back.
The next Saturday, I met her when she entered the store. I walked her to her department so I could make a mental note of everything she had on and in her possession. I instructed store management that I was working on an internal case; I was not to be disturbed unless it was absolutely necessary. The first couple of hours in my perch were boring. The fun started when the girl working with her in the department went on a break. She made her way over to the costume jewelry counter and removed a pair of earrings. She did the whole bit and placed them beside her ear while looking into a mirror. No doubt, she was looking for me. She then removed the earrings from the backing and put them on. I had to admit they looked pretty good on her. She then put the backing in the drawer under her register.
Later, she walked into the women’s clothing department, next to where she worked, and selected a pink jacket. She took it back to her department and put it on. When she tried on that jacket, everything clicked. I knew then what was different when she left the store the week before. It was a tan scarf. I didn’t notice it when she left because I was so busy, but I could see it vividly in my mind. Also, it didn’t hurt that the same scarf was hanging in the department next to where she got the jacket.
So what she’d do was, the day before, select the items she wanted to steal. She’d wear something that would match the item she was going to take and no one would notice because it didn’t come from her department anyway. She put that pink jacket on, and I swear, it matched her outfit perfectly. My heart started beating fast, especially when she started looking for scissors to cut off the tag. When she couldn’t find a pair in her department, she simply tucked the tag inside the sleeve.
Everything was cool until the girl working with her came back from break. She said something about the jacket, probably about how pretty it was on her, and my suspect began twirling around in front of the mirror like she was a customer. I knew, at that point, she couldn’t take the jacket because the other girl had commented on it. Damn. But I still had the earrings to hope for.
It’s funny, if you ever go into a loss prevention office, watch the officers work, we go into this cheerleader mode and we become the little voice in the suspect’s head whispering, “Come on, take it, please, nobody will know, nobody.” All the time, we’re rooting for people to fuck up so we can catch them.
Finally, my suspect went on her lunch break which meant she was probably going to be exiting the building. When she went to clock out, I went into her department and retrieved the backing from the earrings.
When she was leaving the building, I managed to run into her but I made no mention of her new earrings. Actually, I could have arrested her as soon as she left the facility with the merchandise. But, management was a little soft and they might believe her story that she’d tried them on and forgot to remove them before she went to lunch. However, when she returned and I faked going to lunch, the earrings mysteriously disappeared.
Now, all I had to do was watch her for the rest of the shift to insure she didn’t try to put the item back without my knowledge. This would be rather difficult since I now had the backing in my pocket.
After a while, I started rooting for her to put the items back, but with less than twenty minutes to go before closing, I didn’t think she would. Damn. Even though I’ve arrested employees before, this one was going to be hard. This was my best friend’s girlfriend; she’d even been to my house, met my girlfriend. Damn. I do have a bit of a conscience.
Shit! I picked up the phone, called my friend, told him the situation, and informed him that I could go downstairs and tell her to give the earrings back and there would be no harm and no foul, or the other option was, I could treat her like all the rest of our suspects and bust her. It became his decision. He didn’t even think about it, he said, “Do your job, bust her dumb ass!”
She exited the store, said goodbye to me and the store manager (who didn’t have a clue what the hell was going on). I followed her outside and arrested her. She cried like a baby. Then, she begged me not to tell her boyfriend and pleaded with me to pick her up from the police station so she didn’t have to call him or her family to get her. I felt bad but I had to explain to her that I couldn’t pick her up because it’d be a conflict of interest. So I told her to call my girlfriend and she’d pick her up from the station.
That was one of the toughest things I had to do in my early years in LP. As for my friend, it didn’t bother him at all. He broke up with her that same day; he told me it was disrespectful for her to be stealing when she knew what he did for a living.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found this to be interesting. The best thing about it is it was just like we were holding a conversation, your expressions all you. The reading kept your interest, from the word go. Not like reading where you wait for the good stuff. It held you capative from the title..... Now much success, with it's final release..... Loved it...