Richard Cubbage is on a mission to reduce retail theft. As a loss prevention analyst for the Army/Air Force Exchange Service, a huge retail operation with hundreds of locations globally and billions of dollars in revenue, his job is serious. A seemingly unending supply chain of inventory and a large infrastructure presents an attractive environment for wayward employees looking for foolproof ways to steal “under the radar”—or so they think.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently awarded Cubbage for this work at the group’s Loss Prevention Conference, held in San Diego in June. The NRF recognized his work in a nearly year long investigation that identified an employee who was stealing approximately $114,000 in cash over an eight-month period. His success in catching the culprit is partly due to a loss prevention department specifically organized by the AAFES. Now the department is saving the company money that otherwise might have never registered had no one been paying attention.
The problem of one employee stealing from the company coffers is bad, but it is also indicative of a related and growing problem—organized retail theft (ORC). Every year the NRF publishes the results of a survey on ORC, in which it asks a myriad of stores, both large and small, about internal retail crime. The results are not all that positive. According to the survey, 79 percent of the retailers said they were victims of ORC, and 71 percent say they have seen ORC rise in the last 12 months. Both numbers are higher than previous years.