Employee Theft by Fake Robbery: A Painful Tale
Sometimes employees either commit robberies of their employer or they are the “brains” behind it. I read a story long ago that stated employees were responsible for over 70% of business robberies. I remember thinking how dumb it would be to do such a thing but, then again, stranger things happen. So here’s a warning to you HR-types: Don’t read this.
I got a call from one of my Dallas Regional Managers late one night to report a horrible armed robbery at one of our stores. The store manager was closing and was forced back into his store to open the safe. The suspect stabbed the manager in the abdomen in the process and was now in surgery. The injury was life-threatening. The safe: cleaned out. Loss: around $4000.00.
Joe closed the store and sent the employees home. He straightened up his office, locked the safe and left. As he turned from locking the door “a huge black guy” showed up and forced him at knife point back into the store. He was terrified and nervous and had a hard time remembering the combination to the safe. The suspect grew impatient and stabbed him. Wounded, he bravely got the safe open and the suspect left with the money.
Joe was bleeding profusely and immediately passed out. He was going into shock. After about 10 minutes he regained consciousness and called 911. He survived but, according to doctors, he was near death when he was brought in.
As usual, my department investigated crimes of all kinds and worked well with local law enforcement. The crime scene was a horrible bloody mess. Except for the attack-weapon, a Ginsu knife, the office was as tidy as a pin. The Regional on scene found it odd that a bad guy would bring a Ginsu knife to a robbery. Then while talking to the Detective, he sees an end cap of Ginsu knives near the office . There on the shelf was an open box with one knife missing…yep…the one on the floor in the office.
Of course, he thought; the guy came in, shoplifted the knife, and stood around outside to rob the manager. Or…no, this couldn’t be the case…the manager staged the robbery and stabbed himself! As it turned out, that was, in fact the case. Joe had this crime perfectly planned but had never stabbed himself so this whole “stab myself thing” would be just a guess.
When he stabbed himself, he had already taken the money to his car and drove to a nearby friend’s apartment. He hid the money there and returned to the store. So far, so good. When he stabbed himself he did not know just how painful that was going to be and he misjudged the strength of his thrust. Result: excruciating pain and immediate heavy blood loss. Luckily, as he was bleeding out, he regained consciousness long enough to call 911.
He subsequently failed the Dallas police polygraph. They money was never recovered even after police received a tip as to where it might be. The one thing that tripped up the whole plan was that, based on his description of the events, he was outside when attacked and forced back into the store. For that to be true he would have had to set the burglar alarm. That also meant that he would have had to turn it off upon re-entering the store. None of that happened.
Human Resources was all atwitter. How can we fire this poor man after having been stabbed, etc. There was no confession, no video, no recovery of the money. After several explanations, Joe was sent packing for “failure to protect company assets”. Worked for me.
As for the Ginsu knife set…the remaining knives went into the trash after they were removed from the book inventory.
Employers: employees will be your worst liability and will go to extreme lengths to commit some acts. Never ask why. They can never explain it.