Most retailers run at least one (and often many) major warehouse operations. Some have a loss prevention arm specifically dedicated to supply chain security and safety. But for many in LP, the warehouse is rarely top of mind, and the subject of warehouse burglary doesn’t come up often. In fact, an older National Retail Crime Victimization Survey listed 18 million property crimes between 2004 and 2008 and only 18,000—or 0.3 percent—of these occurred in a warehouse. The media continues to report a general downward trend in property crimes, and I was unable to find more recent warehouse burglary data.
If you type “warehouse burglary” into a Google search, however, you would be led to believe this type of incident is reaching epidemic proportions. Page after page of results describe warehouse burglary incidents in news reports and articles. Most descriptions are short and garden-variety, but there are a lot of them, and they are recent. Here are a few representative examples:
- Three individuals are in custody in connection with $52,000 in shoes and clothing stolen from a warehouse. The three were arrested in an undercover sting operation responding to sales solicited on social media.
- Warehouse theft investigations are still ongoing in Las Vegas, where police are looking for a man who allegedly walked into a warehouse three times and grabbed boxes of electronics. Almost similar to a retail grab and run.
- A man was arrested for warehouse burglary in El Monte, CA, after he broke in to a marijuana grow house. Detectives also later arrested the warehouse owner and seized more than 1500 marijuana plants.
One interesting case had a macabre ending earlier in 2016 in Birmingham, AL. In that case, a bad odor led to the discovery of a career criminal’s body stuck in the warehouse bars.
In another case, a can of Red Bull solved a warehouse burglary. In Garvin County, OK, a thief broke into a warehouse by smashing through a window. Once inside, surveillance cameras showed him stealing personal goods from employee desks and lockers. Then he got thirsty. He stole some snacks, including a can of Red Bull. He then left the same way he got in. Despite good video images, police had no idea who the burglar was. That is, until they got a DNA sample off the Red Bull can. The results led them back to a specific individual, who was picked up immediately and charged with the crime.
Is there an ongoing warehouse burglary epidemic? It’s hard to say. Available statistics are dated, and new ones haven’t been published. But even the simplest search would indicate it’s a big issue–and one that every retailer and logistics loss prevention professional needs to be aware of.