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Long Term Employee Theft of Cash - what to do?




#1
One of our good friends here in Vegas has owned a retail store for 20 years. She had had an employee (male age 54) with her since day one. The employee has never missed 1 day or been late in 20 years. They recently installed a security camera system. Wouldn't you know they caught several times the trusted employee slipping cash out of the box a few times since they installed the security system and sticking it in his pocket. They are totally devastated and feel violated.

In such a situation where a person has been otherwise a model employee for 20 years, should termination of the employee be the only option?

I told them that he's probably been stealing for years, not just the few times they caught him on camera. Also $10 here and $20 there doesn't sound like much, but over a month it could easily be $500-$600 and add that up over years it is significant.

My opinion to them was:
1. terminate the employee immediately.
2. change all the locks.
3. change computer passwords.

Looking for other insight or suggestions, especially if anyone has been in this situation.
 

Gullwing

1911 pistolsmith
Staff member
Moderator
#2
I wouldn't do anything right now. Sit and watch and watch closely. Find out how much he is taking each day/week... Get as much evidence as you can, also check the books to see if they can find any discrepancies going back. Once they have enough then confront and good bye.

Sure model employee, easier to think the nooby screwed up so theft goes unnoticed.
 

Gullwing

1911 pistolsmith
Staff member
Moderator
#3
In HS a kid who sat next to me in some classes worked as a cashier at Kmart. As him what he wanted "CD or similar" and you could go shopping there for cheap. Buy 4 CDs and a large stereo, he would ring up the cds and skip the stereo. Went on for weeks, almost getting caught several times. He came into class one day, "We just had a staff meeting last night and they said most theft was employee based and I said I agreed".
I told him he was an idiot for saying that and all eyes would be on him, sure enough he was gone a few days later.
 

Facejackets

Low Speed High Drag
#5
I got myself into a bit of a pickle at my full time job last year. All caught on surveillance. It wasn’t dishonesty or theft, obviously, but a lapse in judgement at a crucial time.

So my bosses called me into the office. They made me watch the video about five times. Made me realize the severity of my actions. Luckily, I told them the truth right from the get-go and I kept my job but was walking on egg shells for six months and it cost me a $20k/yr promotion. Sucks, but it was a very valuable lesson to learn.

For theft, I don’t think that’s something I can tolerate. He needs to go. But, I’m addition to the solid advice given in other posts (pinpointing how much was stolen), I would make a small video of all the times he was caught stealing, and the amounts. Ask him to watch it. Then hand him an LVMPD voluntary statement that’s already filled out by the owner, along with a print out of the NRS regarding petit/grand larceny. Ask him “explain to us why we shouldn’t file this report and hand over the video?”

Seems brutal, but, how much has he victimized these people? Make him sweat it for a bit.
 
#7
My opinion to them was:
1. terminate the employee immediately.
2. change all the locks.
3. change computer passwords.
.

Sad situation.

Made worse by the fact that he is probably a key employee, difficult to replace, and probably they considered him a friend.

That being said, I think the only thing that can be done is what you suggested above.

Obviously he thinks he "deserves", or "is owed" what he is helping himself to out of the register, and I can't see any way to get past this.


While it may sound satisfying to pursue charges, and he may deserve it, is probably much more hassle than it is worth. I would just make sure he is aware of the documentation you have of his theft, and tell him in light of his long years of service you don't plan on following up with the criminal justice system, but want to be clear that you do not expect to hear any more from him, including him seeking UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, or him trying to harm the business in any way.
 

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#8
If you prove he is stealing, and do NOT prosecute, you just encourage future theft by him, and by others who know of his actions and the fact that he was not punished even though caught in the act.

Kind of like not disciplining a child playing with matches for the 7th time, even though he burned down the house, barn, shed, outhouse etc. on the previous occasions.

If you are going to allow people to violate the law and let it go unpunished, why have the laws at all? Why arrest, detain, prosecute, etc. for any crime, murder, rape, robbery, etc. ?

Ask a criminal why they kept on doing something after being caught at it but not punished, and the answer is I got away with it, so why not continue doing it? I have asked a number of criminals that question, and that's the basic answer I got.

Several of the folks I put behind federal bars had a previous history of industrial espionage, but the company they worked for , when they caught them, just fired them and refused to prefer charges against them. Since they were not defense contractors , the federal government was not involved.

The criminals kept doing it until they did it at a US Defense Contractor, and I or my agents caught them, and then it was a federal felony and they were prosecuted and sentenced to what basically amounted to a life term.

Just my .02 worth as usual.
 
#9
If you prove he is stealing, and do NOT prosecute, you just encourage future theft by him, and by others who know of his actions and the fact that he was not punished even though caught in the act.

Kind of like not disciplining a child playing with matches for the 7th time, even though he burned down the house, barn, shed, outhouse etc. on the previous occasions.

If you are going to allow people to violate the law and let it go unpunished, why have the laws at all? Why arrest, detain, prosecute, etc. for any crime, murder, rape, robbery, etc. ?

Ask a criminal why they kept on doing something after being caught at it but not punished, and the answer is I got away with it, so why not continue doing it? I have asked a number of criminals that question, and that's the basic answer I got.

Several of the folks I put behind federal bars had a previous history of industrial espionage, but the company they worked for , when they caught them, just fired them and refused to prefer charges against them. Since they were not defense contractors , the federal government was not involved.

The criminals kept doing it until they did it at a US Defense Contractor, and I or my agents caught them, and then it was a federal felony and they were prosecuted and sentenced to what basically amounted to a life term.

Just my .02 worth as usual.
I know it’s hard to do but you are correct in the matter. Man what a tough spot to be in.
 
#10
Ive dealt with this several times. It’s normally always the nicest never suspected person. You have to end employment. Unfortunately with the system not much happens. So not worth time persuing. Easiest non hassle way to deal with is show him the video and give him the option to resign. I know some get mad that if you don’t go after him he will do it again. Trust me paperwork, unemployment along with any other issue is not worth it. Resignation by him is easiest.
 

Gullwing

1911 pistolsmith
Staff member
Moderator
#11
If you prove he is stealing, and do NOT prosecute, you just encourage future theft by him, and by others who know of his actions and the fact that he was not punished even though caught in the act.
Former assistant pastor at my church went to another church in town to become head pastor. Right away something was off and as he started looking into it others came forward with information. One of the teachers/principle at the attached school was stealing large amounts of money ($100K+) to buy products for her side business (make up?). When confronted she confessed and said she would pay it back... They went to the police and were told it will take about two years to get it to court. Haven't heard any updates since then.
 
#12
I wouldn't do anything right now. Sit and watch and watch closely. Find out how much he is taking each day/week... Get as much evidence as you can, also check the books to see if they can find any discrepancies going back. Once they have enough then confront and good bye.

Sure model employee, easier to think the nooby screwed up so theft goes unnoticed.
THERE IS NO NEED TO SIT AND WATCH...THEY HAVE THE EVIDENCE ALREADY. If you allow it continue AFTER you have proof, you have almost no case to pursue, as you allowed it. It MUST be addressed/prosecuted IMMEDIATELY upon discovery and proof.
 
#13
Most of the people posting clearly have zero experience with these situations. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the OP does take their advice.
The following can be accepted as fact, or sufficient to present as fact:
1. Employee has been stealing for a long time.
2. Employee has been a model employee SO THEY WOULD NOT COME UNDER SUSPICION.
3. PROOF is already established via video.
4. Failure to act IMMEDIATELY UPON POSITIVE PROOF weakens any case, and actually establishes acceptance of the crime, without punishment.
5. Failure to prosecute exemplifies weakness to other employees, and encourages similar acts, which can then be difficult to prosecute due to the employer's failure to prosecute THIS CASE.
6. YOU MUST PROSECUTE TO GAIN ADVANTAGE OVER THE EMPLOYEE. Once prosecution is pursued, you may be able to negotiate a court-ordered restitution in exchange for a lesser sentence. Failure to prosecute gives the victim ZERO LEVERAGE.
7. Most disturbing is the FACT that one or more other employees knew or suspected it was happening, and failed to come to management.
8. If they let this guy go with no punishment, THEY (THE EMPLOYERS) ARE THE PROBLEM.
 
#14
Most of the people posting clearly have zero experience with these situations. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the OP does take their advice.
The following can be accepted as fact, or sufficient to present as fact:
1. Employee has been stealing for a long time.
2. Employee has been a model employee SO THEY WOULD NOT COME UNDER SUSPICION.
3. PROOF is already established via video.
4. Failure to act IMMEDIATELY UPON POSITIVE PROOF weakens any case, and actually establishes acceptance of the crime, without punishment.
5. Failure to prosecute exemplifies weakness to other employees, and encourages similar acts, which can then be difficult to prosecute due to the employer's failure to prosecute THIS CASE.
6. YOU MUST PROSECUTE TO GAIN ADVANTAGE OVER THE EMPLOYEE. Once prosecution is pursued, you may be able to negotiate a court-ordered restitution in exchange for a lesser sentence. Failure to prosecute gives the victim ZERO LEVERAGE.
7. Most disturbing is the FACT that one or more other employees knew or suspected it was happening, and failed to come to management.
8. If they let this guy go with no punishment, THEY (THE EMPLOYERS) ARE THE PROBLEM.
I don’t disagree with what you say and can tell you I’ve dealt with similar issues before. The amount of time and cost associated with trying to prosecute sometimes out way any benefits. I know out of experience. This is the reason why the easiest simplest way is if you can get them to resign. No unemployment no worry of later coming after you. I had one case were an employes bank vault was audited while they were on vacation and all money was missing. It is company policy that was signed by employee that all money must be secure in vault at end of shift. Video was pulled showing agent putting it in her bag. Agent was fired and sued us. In court agents claim was an uncle just passed and she wasn’t in the right mind and accidentally took it home and never noticed she took it home. Guess who won the case and who had to backpay 6 months? My jaw dropped. I know most are thinking wait something in the story is being left out. I assure you it’s not. This was in Nevada. That’s why now we give the option of a resignation. Saves a lot of headache time and money not every company has.
 

pick_six

Adjusting to the west!
Forum Supporter
#16
I’d say prosecute. That said I know someone who got caught ripping off the employer.

The employer was a big contractor for public projects, concrete, highway dept. Rather than raise questions with the prosecution they quietly showed him the evidence and then door.

I don’t know if they got the Law involved as this was going on or not, or threatening prosecution or starting to prosecute, but they let it fade away to avoid the bad PR.

I’d prosecute or at least start. But I’d understand a decision not to do that.
 
#17
I don’t disagree with what you say and can tell you I’ve dealt with similar issues before. The amount of time and cost associated with trying to prosecute sometimes out way any benefits. I know out of experience. This is the reason why the easiest simplest way is if you can get them to resign. No unemployment no worry of later coming after you. I had one case were an employes bank vault was audited while they were on vacation and all money was missing. It is company policy that was signed by employee that all money must be secure in vault at end of shift. Video was pulled showing agent putting it in her bag. Agent was fired and sued us. In court agents claim was an uncle just passed and she wasn’t in the right mind and accidentally took it home and never noticed she took it home. Guess who won the case and who had to backpay 6 months? My jaw dropped. I know most are thinking wait something in the story is being left out. I assure you it’s not. This was in Nevada. That’s why now we give the option of a resignation. Saves a lot of headache time and money not every company has.
I can tell for certain that several critical steps were not followed by whomever administered the action at the bank. A. Show the employee the video. B. Tell the employee they have a choice. You can turn the video over to the police and prosecute as felony grand theft; Or. the employee can sign a document stating exactly what they did, admitting that the theft of funds from the vault was intentional, in exchange for a signed waiver of prosecution. And the employee must agree in writing to waive all rights to future litigation against the company . Whoever administered the action failed to dot all the i's and cross all the t's.

I certainly agree with you on the simplest course being negotiated resignation. However, the case of the OP will require almost zero cash layout, and very little time, due to the evidence, and the misdemeanor level of the crime. Handling a case of bank fraud, grand theft, and/or larceny would be a more serious endeavor, and costly in terms of both time and money. It is amazing what jurors in a civil case can come up with, isn't it?
 

akholic

uber n00b
Forum Supporter
#18
in my experience once a thief always a thief someone that has been there that long should be able to ask if they needed a loan the fact he stole says it all
 

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#19
I had two gunshop employees steal from me over the years, video caught them both.
I terminated them, and filed charges.
I lost very little in the way of time doing so, gave a statement and turned over copies of the video, the rest fell on the D.A.
They were convicted and part of the sentence was restitution. I got my money back.

Taking the "it's too much trouble to do" path is what has created our massive number of criminals in this country. You basically give your tacit approval of their actions if you just fire them and don't prosecute them. And sooner or later all crime becomes allowable and goes unpunished.
 
#20
I can tell for certain that several critical steps were not followed by whomever administered the action at the bank. A. Show the employee the video. B. Tell the employee they have a choice. You can turn the video over to the police and prosecute as felony grand theft; Or. the employee can sign a document stating exactly what they did, admitting that the theft of funds from the vault was intentional, in exchange for a signed waiver of prosecution. And the employee must agree in writing to waive all rights to future litigation against the company . Whoever administered the action failed to dot all the i's and cross all the t's.

I certainly agree with you on the simplest course being negotiated resignation. However, the case of the OP will require almost zero cash layout, and very little time, due to the evidence, and the misdemeanor level of the crime. Handling a case of bank fraud, grand theft, and/or larceny would be a more serious endeavor, and costly in terms of both time and money. It is amazing what jurors in a civil case can come up with, isn't it?
Yep. Agree. I wish most criminals would be prosecuted and have to pay for crimes. But I see it all the time. Cases are started but usually dropped once people realize it involves additional time and money from them. Having to appear at court some having to fly in to testify of a crime. Just keep in mind. It’s not always as easy as turning into the police and calling it a day.