Technology website Gizmodo.com recently featured what appears to be a systematic problem within Apple Inc.’s retail stores in its December article “Exclusive: Corrupt Apple Store Employees Come Forward Across America.” Accounts of outright employee theft, destruction of company property, and fraud were exposed with dozens of reports of former Apple employees boasting about their time working and stealing from the iPhone maker’s very profitable retail operations.
Apple sees an average of $5,600 per square foot of retail space, nearly double the nearest retailer, according to retail research and consulting firm RetailSails Inc. Yet, in one account, an employee allegedly stole up to 25 phones valued at about $16,000 at an Apple Store in Charlotte, North Carolina. The phones were taken out of a back room over about a month and a half in December and January. The phones were never recovered and the employee never identified.
The retail stores may be profitable at the moment, but a few more thieves like the Charlotte employee could quickly undermine profits.
According to the Gizmodo article, many of the red flags of employee theft were and are currently present at several stores across the United States. Falsifying records, fraud, petty theft, and accounting misconduct appear to be running rampant at Apple’s retail stores.
I’m not aware of the actions Apple has conducted internally to attempt to curb this type of behavior. Typically companies prefer to plant an undercover agent in the store to uncover the extent of employee theft. This process is usually expensive and takes at least four months. A tactic used by my firm would be to have trained former supervisor federal agents interview and interrogate the Apple geniuses. It would be less costly and more effective in ferreting out problem areas or persons.
Based on reports released over the past couple years, employee theft has increased dramatically, so Apple isn’t alone with its instances of employee theft. It is believed internal theft costs American companies about $50 billion yearly.
Personally, my firm has seen reports of employee theft increase dramatically from 15% six years before, to over 75% in the last couple years. The theft of money, time, and product has become one of the top concerns facing executives.
With such a discouraging trend, companies can turn to independent private investigation firms like Martin Investigative Services to conduct security reviews of their company operations. A firm can conduct a security risk analysis to provide an unbiased review of the company’s security systems, infrastructure, and assessment of personnel. The investigative service can provide viable solutions to curb ongoing employee theft and prevent crimes in the future.
Do you have any questions about how a private investigative team can provide solutions and protect your company from employee theft? Please let me know and I would be pleased to discuss your concerns.