Saturday, February 1, 2020

Book Excerpt: How to Deal with Thieves in the Workplace by Denise N. Fyffe

Thieves in the Workplace

Occupational theft is a billion-dollar industry in and of itself.

Every year global organizations face the challenge of minimizing the loss of inventory, goods, and financial standing. Numerous measures have been implemented but with the onset of the global financial recession, people have become even more desperate and innovative in their methods to siphon off company funds.

Countries continue to suffer including the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and Jamaica.

What Causes People to Steal

Thieves in the Workplace states that poverty is the mother of crime and this statement can be deemed true even though there are those who have sufficient but are still greedy for more.

However, with the increase in white-collar crime, one can see that there is a direct correlation to the high levels of poverty and deprivation currently affecting the country.

People will become resourceful and create opportunities or means to take what rightly belongs to others without earning it themselves. No place is it least expected but more rampant than in the workplace.

In the United States (US), companies overall lose upwards of US$50 billion annually due to employee theft.

Jack L. Hayes International conducts a global Annual Retail Theft Survey of “23 of the country’s largest retail companies with 18,900 stores and over $596 billion in 2012 retail sales. Just these 23 major retailers alone apprehended over 1.1 million shoplifters and dishonest employees and recovered more than $189 million from these thieves in 2012” (Lasky, 2013).

Understanding The Thief

Thieves are opportunists, whether they are amateurs or professionals.

They endeavor to take advantage of any situation, which provides them a loophole. An opportunity to take what belongs to someone else.

They are criminals who are indiscriminate and feel no immediate remorse when they hurt others. If the situation presents itself, a thief can get away with the act without much effort or planning because committing this type of crime is second nature to them.

Thieves in the Workplace Steal for Social, Financial, and Physical Reasons

A thief is even more likely to commit a crime when they are persuaded to do so; that is when they have social, financial, or physical needs to be met. Financial obligations are always the main trigger.

The influence of their peers or the desire to maintain their present lifestyle is others. The other factor is greed; wanting to have something that you desire at any cost.

Most thieves are brought up in a culture of deviant or criminal behavior, which is considered a subculture of their society.

For Some Thieves, Stealing is a Profession

Some persons look at stealing as a profession; it is a job where they spend the time to refine the skills needed to maintain a constant level of success in their endeavors.

They do not spend too long in one place.

They are always scouting out new locations.

They are precise and logical in their actions.

Many are often charismatic and engage their victims without them becoming suspicious.

Other thieves are not so industrious; they do not hold this criminal act in such high esteem. The amateur thief is more of an opportunist; he or she only engages in the activity when they are least likely to be caught.

Some in this category simply do not put much preparation and thought into committing the crime. They are loners who learn more from their own successes and mistakes than from the tutelage of another.

It is not easy to pinpoint one category of people as being more likely to develop this criminal trait.

Thieves are universal pariahs.

Thieves in the workplace are distinct as their motives differ. While one person might steal to meet everyday expenses, another might steal because it is a psychological addiction that can never be assuaged.

The Office Thief

Thieves in the workplace are not much different from those operating in other places.

They are still opportunistic, but they have access to people who least would suspect them of such an offensive crime.

It is often thought that those who commit office theft do so out of a feeling of dissatisfaction with their job or boss. Some thieves might feel exploited by their companies and wish to exact revenge by depriving the company of its assets, possessions or secrets.

Criminality is not exclusive to the trenches of society; it has long existed in the corridors of the workplace. In this modern age, people who have this intent, find better ways of stealing secrets, depleting company resources and taking personal belongings of their fellow co-workers.

Some culprits use the good reputation and office of their employers to enact fraudulent acts on the wider society.

They lure them in and then misrepresenting themselves to gain thousands if not billions of dollars.

It is important for businesses to note that most cases of employee theft are executed by long-term members of staff; those who seem dedicated to the business and have the trust of their employers.

How Can Companies Stop Thieves

Companies that wish to deter employee theft otherwise known as fraud, embezzlement, or occupational fraud, from happening against themselves and their employees must enforce strict moral and ethical codes of conduct.

Each employee must have access to these codes and perpetrators who commit violations must be made an example of; no one likes embarrassment or to be disgraced publicly. However, whereas this is the utopia of expected industrial behavior, it is not the regular modus operandi.

Many organizations are themselves guilty of mistreating their employees almost and over the point of it being a human rights violation; hence, they would never look out for the rights of their employees in any other way, at work.

As such, they are more likely to look the other way or do nothing when an employee is the victim of office theft.

Therefore, when you see lack of integrity, mistreatment, pressure, fraud, exploitation, low employee morale, low pay, purposeful frustration of the employee and rationalization of a questionable act you will see that these organizations breed a culture of crime.


Are you encountering thieves in the workplace? Share your comments and experiences below.



This book, Thieves in the Workplace, examines the occurrence of on the job theft and strategies are then recommended that can be implemented to deter perpetrators from repeating the violation.

Available at all online book retailers and


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Copyright © 2021, Denise N. Fyffe

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