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Shoplifting at Exchange costs military in many ways | by U.S. Army Korea (Historical Image Archive)
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Shoplifting at Exchange costs military in many ways

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Shoplifting at Exchange costs military in many ways


Story and photos by Lee, Seung-bin


DAEGU GARRISON — “I mean, who could it hurt? It’s only a $5 lipstick, it’s not like that’s so much.”


Perhaps this is what goes through the mind (if they’re even thinking) of a shoplifter before they drop that lipstick into their pocket and try to walk out of the Exchange.


The fact is, shoplifters are hurting not only themselves with the inevitable punishment, but the entire local Southeastern Hub community.


“Shoplifting at the Exchange results in a reduced return on investment to our primary shareholders— the military community,” said Korea Southern Exchange General Manager Paula Henderson. “This is due to the fact that the Exchange is a command with a mission to return earnings to quality of life programs, people who steal from the Exchange don’t only harm themselves but directly impact Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s ability to complete its mission.”


“Shoplifting is not simply a prank; it is stealing – a crime,” U.S. Army Garrison Daegu Commander Col. Kathleen Gavle said. “USAG Daegu works with store managers, community and unit leaders, and law enforcement to deter shoplifting and to deal appropriately with those who do steal.


“For the Exchange or other stores and vendors, from whom someone has stolen, the impact is in terms of lost or damaged merchandise; money lost from a sale; and wasted time to identify the thief and recover or replace the merchandise. For the thief, the impact can include a ban from all stores, community service, criminal prosecution and early return to the States.”


While shoplifting incidents at Daegu and the resulting costs to the military community were down last year when compared to 2010 ($1,241.28 compared to $2,685.22) this year there has been a recent spike in shoplifting incidents. Typically merchandise such as cosmetics, electronics and video games are targeted by shoplifters.


According to Henderson, an abundance of shoplifting prevention measures such as “eagle-eye” Closed Circuit Televisions with DVR technology, expanded use of high-tech Electronic Article Surveillance, an alert staff, proper layout of counters and display of merchandise and an aggressive youth awareness campaign are in place in order to decrease the possibility of shoplifting incidents.


“Regardless of when they attempt it, our message to shoplifters is you’re going to get caught eventually and what you will lose will far outweigh the value of the shoplifted item,” Henderson said. “You never know if the person standing next to you is a loss prevention associate or not and they will catch you. If you saw someone stealing goods in the Exchange, you can go to the nearest associate or your Exchange’s customer service department and ask to speak with a loss prevention representative or a store manager.”


There is no typical shoplifter and there is no way around the fact that shoplifting is stealing. There are heavy consequences too, including being arrested and possibly charged with a crime. If shoplifting is suspected, the Daegu Exchange’s Loss Prevention office turns the matter over to local installation law enforcement. In addition to possible disciplinary action and or criminal prosecution, the Federal Claims Collection Act allows the Exchange to enact a flat, administrative cost (Civil Recovery fee) of $200. There may be further fees, in addition to the Civil Recovery Program-- depending on the condition of the stolen merchandise. Shoplifters may possibly face further civil actions to include a loss of Exchange privileges for up to six months.


“We are planning a security tour at the Camp Walker Exchange, explaining the security system in the Exchange stores,” said Henderson. “As part of our youth awareness campaign, our loss prevention personnel will provide classes to children to educate them on the consequences of shoplifting.”


You can contact Henderson at 764-5171 to arrange an eye-opening tour of their loss-prevention capabilities.

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Taken on February 22, 2012