Key Issues For Retailers When They Detect An Employee Stealing


Whether you run a business or a store, preventing it from thefts and losses is your prime responsibility. There have been cases where even the most secure premises can get robbed, often by own employees. This is where the need for loss prevention becomes an absolute necessity.

To identify the culprit, you start interviewing employees to make sure not to nominate the innocent. However, this type of interviewing is becoming increasingly difficult as business crime rate goes at an all-time high. Here, you’ll learn a few tricks that’ll make your workplace interrogation more effective:


Be Prepared And Make An Outline

Every company would naturally want to take steps for loss prevention training. There is no denying that conducting a workplace investigation is one of the most difficult tasks, especially when everything seems vague at first. The employer has a tough job in hand and falsely accusing an employee for theft can have grave consequences. You can say that the employee being labeled as the culprit has the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise. For this purpose, HR executives are required to prepare an outline for how to conduct the investigation.

Start With An Interview

Initiate investigation by interviewing and interrogation with the employee. There can be many reasons for employees to indulge into an illegal activity such as theft etc. In some cases, employees can be influenced by others for stealing. Sometimes, an employee may be falsely blamed while someone else was found involved later. The interview should be designed in such a way that it doesn’t hold anyone responsible unless there is evidence in favor or against that person.

Needless to say that your interview questionnaires must be very carefully designed. Workplace regulations are such that an employee can object to some questions and tag them as offensive. If that’s the case, replace the wordings of such questions and make them as soft as possible. If they still object, remove the question altogether.


Taking A Written Statement

To complete the interrogation, always take a written statement from the employee. Make sure they tell the truth in the statement and confess to any theft they’ve committed. Also, ask them to be specific while answering any allegations and have their say in the statement. Ask them to write the date, time, and circumstances and have their signatures towards the end of the statement.

It would be better if you conclude the interview with a voluntary statement by the employee. It is important that the statement be hand written and signed by witnesses as well. The statement should also contain the time the interview started and when it ended. Keep in mind that while the importance of this document cannot be overlooked, it should be a result of harsh investigative techniques or an act of force. Doing so may render the validity of the document useless. If the document was found short on information and facts, the employee should be asked to write about them. Also, this statement shall remain acceptable regardless of the bad handwriting, poor grammar and spelling etc.

Key To A Successful Interrogation

Everyone will deny any wrongdoing for obvious reasons so expect them to maintain their position for some time. There are several ways to conduct a successful interrogation from the suspect. First of all, the interrogator must be aware that not all employees may be senior citizens, some may belong to the juvenile category. If your suspect is a juvenile employee, make sure not to question him/ her in a harsh manner. Show no signs of force, anger or frustration and ask every question in a gentle manner. Even more important is to maintain a calm and empathetic demeanor towards the employee. Make them feel that you are here to help and not to blame. Despite the fact that you have evidence of the wrongdoing, you must not put pressure on the employee. As such, their wrongdoing could be the result of anything, be it peer pressure, additions, financial needs etc.

All in all, your interrogation and interview should lead towards finding the truth and prevent losses at the workplace as a result. After all, it is all about getting to the truth. If you’ve achieved these, you’ve conducted a successful legal interrogation.












Steven M. Degener, J.D. Clayton, CA, United States Steve has spent over 25 years in Retail Loss Prevention. His last position held was VP of Loss Prevention for a Fortune 500 company. Other positions include Deputy Sheriff and Director of Loss Prevention Services for various Retailers. Our sites include, and Follow us with Twitter at LPACADEMYcom and Facebook at the Loss Prevention Academy.

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