Home improvement store The Home Depot is trying a new approach when it comes to curbing what they said has become a crime problem.
The crime typically involves an individual or team walking into a store, grabbing a stack of power tools, and then heading to the front of the store. Next, they either ring up a few smaller items in the self-checkout lane to mask the crime or simply walk straight out the door.
Either way, the tools are never paid for, and the individual or team will repeat the crime at the same store or various locations.
To combat such organized retail theft some power tools at Home Depot are kept on locked shelves, some are wrapped with security devices around the boxes, and security cameras keep watch on the aisles.
Those tactics, though, haven’t stopped organized theft.
“We are working on a very strong strategy to, what we like to refer to as harden the target against these types of folks,” explained Scott Glenn, The Home Depot’s vice president of asset protection.
An evolving anti-theft strategy the company is now using, Glenn described, is a chip being inserted into power tools from DeWalt and Milwaukee brand tools.
Similar to how gift cards need to be scanned and paid for at a store to activate, the power tools need to be paid for, and then – using Bluetooth technology – the tool is activated.
Tools that haven’t been activated won’t turn on, according to The Home Depot.
Staff recently showed 11Alive the process of activation, and it only added a few seconds to a typical transaction. The technology is currently part of a pilot program in select Atlanta area stores and in other Home Depot markets.
The goal Glenn said is to discourage thieves, while keeping employees and customers safe and keeping costs low.
“Theft and fraud are a pressure to those cost concerns, and we want to make sure we don’t have to do anything to affect that pricing for our customers,” he said.
Glenn added that often power tools stolen from The Home Depot end up in a few different places… 11 Alive