Below is an actual employee theft case that I handled several years ago and it made absolutely no sense why they did it!
Have you ever just sat back and wondered why people do the foolish - no stupid - things they do? A piece of good advise is to make sure you are your checking facts thoroughly when you are handling an employee theft case. Out of all of them - there has never been one that turned out the way I thought it would.
I was working in a large full service hotel as the Human Resources Director. One well known problem in most larger hotels is employee theft - and this hotel was no different. There were ways to slow down the process - but never eliminate it.
Employee Theft Case- Put up road blocks...
One of the steps to help reduce employee theft was to limit the - entrance and exit points - for all employees after a certain hour to just one - generally the front - or main entrance.
Additionally - any package including purses were subject to search by the Front Desk Manager. This was clearly identified in our employee handbook and policies and procedures. It was required that you stop at the front desk and check in or out with the front desk manager before entering or exiting the hotel.
This was a practice of our hotel as well - and it was effective.
Employee Theft Case - The green duffel bag...
When I arrived one morning the Front Desk Manager was waiting for me. He immediately informed me that the Concierge had exited through the front entrance as required but failed to stop at the front desk. In addition - he noticed as she walked out - she had a green duffel bag that seemed to be stuffed.
I asked him if he knew what type of vehicle she drove and he told me that it was a small dark green jeep. We quickly went out to the parking lot and found it - looked inside the windows - and sure enough there was a green duffel bag sitting in the rear seat floor board.
It appeared to be stuffed full of something - not sure what. Keep in mind we never opened any door - or entered the vehicle in any way.
Since she was still on duty for about another forty-five minutes I asked him to get in touch with her as quickly as he could and meet me in my office.
I asked my Security Officer to come to my office as well. The Security Officer was an employee that I supervised.
Once they were all in my office…
I thanked the Concierge for taking the time to meet with me.
I explained that there was a minor issue that we were hoping to clear up with her.
I asked her if she owned a green duffel bag - she told me yes.
I asked her where she stored it - she told me that she had it in her employee locker.
Employee Theft Case - We checked her car again...
I was a little confused - since we had just seen it in the back of her car.
I asked her if there was a chance that we could see the bag - she said no problem.
When she got up to go get the bag - I asked the Front Desk Manager to go with her.
I did not want her to empty the bag into her locker and then return with an empty bag.
Since I was confused by the idea she was telling us that the bag was in her locker - what was the bag in her jeep.
I ran out to the parking area again to only find that the green duffel bag was still right where we had seen it before.
What bag was she going to bring back to us.
I arrived back at my office only to find that the Concierge and the Front Desk Manager were waiting for me. The only problem was that neither was holding a green duffel bag - as a matter of fact - they didn’t have a bag at all.
As we sat down - I asked her where the bag was - she told me that she had the bag in her car.
I said - oh - can you go get that bag so we can clear this up - she agreed.
Because she had volunteered to get the bag - I was certain that there would be no problem.
As she stood up to go get the bag - I again asked the Front Desk Manager to go with her.
They arrived back shortly with the green duffel bag.
I sat the bag on my desk - as they sat in two chairs across from me.
I asked her if it would be ok to open the bag - and she hung her head down and said yes.
I unzipped the bag and found it full of food and drink items from her concierge station.
Employee Theft Case- My... My... My... What do we have here...
I pulled the first item out which was bottled pop - identical to the ones we stocked at her station.
I couldn’t help but say - my - my - my - what do we have here?
She was still hanging her head down and said - I took it.
I said you took this stuff from the hotel - and she responded yes - and said that she was sorry.
Of course we issued her a termination letter for employee theft. She had worked at the hotel for over twelve years. Who knows how much she had taken from the hotel over the years.
Try to set up checks and balances for any process that could lead someone to steal. Eliminate that as an option - or at least try to reduce the risk.
It is critical while you are checking facts to keep an open mind - follow the path that it leads you down - don’t come to any conclusions until you reach the end.
It is equally critical that you address employee theft in your policies and procedures - as well as - your employee handbook.
Thank you for reading this true story of an employee theft case and May God Bless You!