Ask anyone who has ever worked in grocery, retail, or even for a corporation if they have ever witnessed a crime, they will most likely have an answer for you. Nine times out of ten, it will be the typical armed stick up. But that tenth story could be especially amusing, even enough to make you chuckle.
People who witnessed especially funny bouts of thievery while on the clock took to Reddit to recount the tale. These stories have been edited for clarity. Maybe you can take some notes of what not to do next time you want to stick it to the boss with a sting.
Slow And Steady Lost The Race
“My family owned a pet store. My mom was showing a guy some baby tortoises and, apparently, had a sudden need to pee right then, so she left me keeping an eye on him from the front counter.
The guy started asking me random, odd small-talk questions. Then, he started walking backwards through the store, with a tortoise in each hand. I picked up on what was happening and began matching him, following the counter toward the door. He spun around and broke into a full-on sprint out the door.
I was wearing a darn sundress and flip-flops, but I leapt the counter and chased him through the parking lot, screaming bloody murder. There were cops parked all around, but they were, of course, inside eating donuts at the bakery. I’m not kidding.
He looked back a few times, realized I was gaining on him, and, just as I was about to go for a tackle, he gave up. He spun around, walked backwards yet again, and held the tortoises out saying, ‘Man, I’m sorry, just take them.’ I cussed him out and took the poor tortoises. He ran off.
I was pretty steamed at this guy since live animals were involved. I hope he felt stupid that he got run down by a girl in a dress and flip flops.”
He Was Not The Brightest Criminal
“I did loss prevention for a really long time. I’ve seen all kinds of stealing, but my favorite one was this guy who was constantly coming in after my shift ended and stealing light bulbs. I have no idea why he picked light bulbs. They were just the regular 60 watt ones, as well.
This one shift, he came in during the middle of the day. I watched as he removed the light bulbs from the packaging and stuffed them individually down the front of his pants. I watched him do this with about 12 bulbs and then he made his way to the exit. I approached him outside and he decided he was going to try to get away so I grabbed him by his collar and told him I knew exactly where the bulbs were and if this turned in to a struggle, the first thing I was going to do was crush all the bulbs with my foot.
He stared at me, confused, for a few seconds, until it finally dawned on him what that would mean for his reproductive organs. He apologized to me and we waddled back to the office together.”
Wiping The Company Away
“When I was about 23, and fresh out of university, I joined a small start-up production company as a scriptwriter/journalist. It grew a little bit in the year I was there to the point where it went from about 15 people to 40-ish people, but was still pretty small and evidently struggling to tread water.
It became apparent that the business wasn’t doing very well and there had been rumors for a few weeks that the directors were close to winding the whole thing up. I didn’t really care because I was still very young and had something else lined up anyway but, obviously, the atmosphere toward the end was extremely negative.
Sure enough, one day, they called everyone into the meeting room and announced that the company no longer existed and we were all being made redundant. About half-way through the meeting, one of the sales guys (a dude in his late 40s, possibly early 50s) simply stood up and, without saying a single word, calmly walked to the bathroom, picked up a 24-pack of toilet paper and walked out of the building. Everyone looked out of the window in disbelief as we watched him load the toilet paper into the back of his car and drive away. And that was it. No goodbye, nothing.
I still think about him 10 years later. What an awesome way to go out.”
He Was Able To See Through The Ruse Immediately
“I used to manage a Dominos in North Carolina. One day, a guy walked in wearing a wife beater, gym shorts, no shoes, and a house arrest bracelet. He walked up to the counter and said, ‘There is a sniper on the roof across the street. Give me all the cash in the register or he’ll blow your head off.’
Being a reasonable person, I laughed. He was not amused.
‘Money now or you’re dead!’ he said.
I replied, ‘Dude, you can’t afford shoes, but you have a sniper buddy?’
Then, I started dialing the police as he kept threatening me. Halfway through the call, he said, ‘I was just kidding!’ and ran out the door. He was caught and the police told me he managed to get two other restaurants to give him money. I will never forget how lucky I am to get out of the food service industry.”
“I Hated The Place, So I Justified It In My Mind”
“Back in college, I worked at an interior design company in the warehouse. We ordered a lot of supplies through Uline, so we got small gifts from them for ordering so many supplies. One time, we received a grill set (tongs, poker, and spatula). It sat in the warehouse office for MONTHS. Once my friend and I realized that nobody even remembered it was there, we decided to take it.
Yeah we stole, but we’ve used it a lot in the years since and, I don’t know – I hated the place so I justified it in my mind.
On the day I took it, I was wearing jeans. I saran wrapped the tongs to one calf, and the poker to another calf, inside my jeans. The spatula was a different story, though… because of its shape, I couldn’t just stuff it in my pants how I wanted to. I had to smuggle it to a back corner of the warehouse and saran wrap it to the back of my thigh, with the head of the spatula caressing my butt cheek in a sweet embrace. I hobbled out of work with my prize and I’ve been grilling with them ever since.”
“Security Had Us In Stitches”
“I worked at a store that sold home goods, linen, clothes, basic poxy stereos, TVs, etc. We used to get several people a week caught trying to walk out with stuff. One dude tried to walk out with a TV still in its box, under his t-shirt. Now, this was over 20 years ago. There was not a flatscreen. There was a big CRT number with his T stretched over the top and a little down the front. Here was this poor, stupid idiot trying to act nonchalant while we just looked at this guy, peeing ourselves laughing.
Security had us in stitches. When they saw this guy, they were walking around him like kids humoring a child, patting his jacket pockets and asking him to turn out his pants pockets because he was suspected of stealing something. The big, dumb idiot tried to hold the TV with one hand while trying to empty out his pockets. I swear, I laughed so hard, I peed a little.”
Dine And Dunce
“I worked in a large theme restaurant (with guitars on the wall… hint hint) and a table with two obnoxious high school guys pulled a ‘dine and dash.’
I guess they forgot they came in as a group with other classmates and were divided into smaller groups to sit at various tables, so all we had to do was go up to one of the people they came in with, ask who they were, and then got their chaperone involved.
The chaperone eventually found them, brought them back in, and made them pay up. Then, they informed the two imbeciles that they would be flying home early and that their parents were waiting to pick them up at the airport.”
“He Put CDs Inside Of A DVD Box Set Case”
“I worked at Best Buy right out of high school for a year. We caught a woman with a stroller picking the lock on an iPhone 4 (that’s how long ago it was) lock up cage in the Mobile department, and used her baby to hide the iPhones. The baby cried the entire time as its mom was arrested and it was taken out of the stroller and held by a police officer as they returned the stolen property.
I caught a kid opening up Xbox cases using an industrial magnet, and then stuffing the cases under a display unit in the back of the store. He then put the CDs inside of a DVD box set case and attempted to walk out. He didn’t realize that we were standing there watching him.
We did have a guy get away with FOUR 40″ Insignia LED TVs. He loaded them up on a cart (they were on display) and walk right out the front door while the guy at the security desk was chatting with a manager.”
Quite The Crowd Gathered Before He Realized It
“When I worked at Hershey Park, I was walking through the park and came across a kid who was trying to pull a stuffed animal prize out of a tall bin type thing it was stored in. I just stood behind him and watched. I saw my manager was coming my way, so I pointed at the kid. He stood next to me and watched with me. Then we saw two security people and we pointed both of them to this kid.
So, then, there was a group of four of us standing behind this kid, watching him try to pull a big stuffed animal through a 4″ tall crack. He finally noticed us all and turned around and claimed he wasn’t doing anything. Security took him from there, but I’m not sure whatever happened. I’m assuming him and his family were kicked out of the park.”
“I Love When Thieves Think Cashiers Are Stupid”
“I used to work in the garden department for Home Depot, and also did cashiering to help cover the store front when they needed it. A couple came to my register with two chainsaws, a weed whacker, an electric drill, and various small items. The cart was packed and took me quite some time to ring everything up. I intentionally did the higher priced items first and had my coworker (who was a big guy) help with the items since I pretended that they were too heavy for me to hold. By that point, the body language of the couple were making me uneasy, so I waved my co-worker over.
I was making small talk while ringing everything up, exclaiming, ‘Wow! You guys must have a big project coming up!’ loud enough for my boss a few registers over to hear and get her attention. The couple shifted awkwardly and the guy kept looking up (red flag – camera scoping) while the girl said, ‘Uh, yeah… How long is this going to take?’
Finally, still playing dumb, I gave them their total and they handed me a Home Depot credit card. I asked for ID, and that’s when the woman panicked and said, ‘It’s in our truck!’
They speed-walked away from the register. I watched them hop in a crappy SUV (well, that’s not a truck) and speed off. I still had the credit card in my hand and, when I handed it to my boss, she recognized the name. The REAL owner of the card had called earlier saying that he somehow lost his credit card while leaving. We think they found it on the ground and tried to scam us using someone else’s credit card.
I love when thieves think cashiers are stupid. I found a bunch of saw blades in between two orange buckets once in a guy’s cart. He got mad at me for taking too long and then got REALLY quiet when I found the saw blades.”
“We Were All Shocked He Thought That Would Work”
“I was the closing manager at a fairly popular clothing store, and I had two other associates there with me. It was a few minutes past closing, but our doors were still open because some mom and her kids took too long shopping. Right as they left and I went to close the door, this sketchy dude scuttled in. I tried to politely tell him that we were closed, but he assured me that he would only be a minute. Yeah, that’s what they all say. Keep in mind, he was then the only customer in the store.
So, this guy was pacing around the store and kept glancing at me. I didn’t really try to hide that I was following him because I was over it at that point and wanted to go home. He asked me where a certain item was and I showed him. He proceeded to, sort of, dig through a few piles of clothes, pull out a gray pair of joggers, and, almost immediately, shove them down his pants. He mumbled about having to leave or whatever and started to walk towards the exit, but I stood in front of him.
Now, in a lot of retail places, you can’t outright accuse someone of stealing, so you have to use these really stupid roundabout ways of making sure people don’t steal. So, I sort of smiled and said, ‘Sir, would you like me to put those gray joggers on hold for you?’
He sort of avoided eye contact and said something about that not being necessary.
‘OK,’ I replied, ‘would you like me to have security put them on hold for you?’
He mumbled, ‘No,’ still moving like he was going to leave.
‘OK, seriously, how about the joggers you just shoved down your pants?’
He then pulled them out, put them in my hands (Ew), and left while mumbling an apology. The other two associates just stared at me as I closed the front gate because, honestly, we were all shocked he thought that would work.”
This Guy Already Had Enough Of What He Tried To Steal
“I worked at a gas station while I was in college. This car pulled up, at around 10 pm. The driver got out and started up filling his car while his passenger walked into the store. The man looked like he was in his late 40s, early 50s.
The whole time he walked, he also giggled and look like he was way out, probably high or inebriated. I watched him head into the fridge, giggling to himself the whole time. I watched him, on the CCTV, go in, grab a single cold one out of a case, stuff it inside his pants, and head back out.
I then had this guy, giggling, walking around in the store, looking like he had a hard on, but also acting like nothing was happening. He pulled up to the counter, tossed a $20 bill on there, said it was for the gas, and started walking out.
I was also laughing at that point and just followed him out while telling him he had to pay for it. I recognized the driver as a regular customer and told him his buddy stole a drink. He started yelling at his buddy, saying he had drank enough and told him to pay me for it. The guy pulled it out of his pants and handed it to me, telling me to take it back. Of course, I didn’t want to touch it, so the driver yelled at him even more and ended up walking to the counter and paying up for it.”
“She Understood I Was Trying To Say ‘No,’ But Was Hoping She Could Still Get It”
“One time, I was working selling snacks and drinks by the pool. This one group of siblings would come over every day and the eldest sister would buy everyone something. The littlest was this 3-year-old and she was adorable.
One day, her sister couldn’t afford snacks, but the tiny child didn’t seem to understand the whole ‘exchange currency for goods’ thing. So, she walked up and reached for the popcorn and I started to tell her she needed to pay for it, which hurt like heck to say to the a 3-year-old with big eyes staring at you.
She seemed confused and continued to try and take it, but very slowly now, like she understood I was trying to say ‘no’ but was hoping she could still get it. Her sister came and got her, but then one of the older, retired ladies came around and bought her and a few other kids some snacks. She walked up with the biggest grin and took that popcorn while maintaining triumphant eye contact with me.”
“Is He Stuffing Them Down His Pants?”
“When I worked at a bakery-cafe, around closing time, this trucker-looking dude came in (already unusual in a classy French patisserie in an urban area), looked around for five minutes, and finally ordered the smallest, cheapest coffee available. As I rang him up, he was doing something with these single-serving jars of jam that sat in a display in front of the check-out terminal. I couldn’t see his hands, but I could tell they were there and could hear the jars of jam clanging around over each other.
Is he shuffling them? Is he trying to steal them? Is he stuffing them down his pants? Is this awkward spazz really up to what I think he’s up to?
I started to peer over the monitor when he noticed. The card was still in the chip-reader, so we had a few seconds. He was too afraid to put his eyes down then and we shared this uncomfortable moment of eye contact that went on way too long.
‘So, how many jams you want?’ I asked.
The guy, still looking right at me while I could hear glass-on-glass jam juggling going on underneath him, thought about it and said, ‘Two.’
I rang him up for four and charged the card again. He turned and walked out of the shop with his hands around his crotch, holding his credit card and purchases against his body awkwardly. A jam fell out behind him and he did not pick it up. He just left. I had just stocked and I knew how many jams were there to start with. I picked up the dropped jar and replaced it with the others and saw how many had been missing. Four.
The jams were $0.75 each. The coffee was $1.50. He was trying to steal $3 worth of jams and ended up overpaying for the ones he took.”
“He Was The Only Person There, So We Were All Watching”
“Some guy walked in and shouted, ‘WHERE’S THE BLOWERS?’ (leaf blowers) to the nearest employee, drawing attention to himself from everyone nearby. The employee pointed to where they were. The guy went to the shelf, grabbed one, and walked out the front door, setting off the alarm. I walked to the door, told him to come back and pay for it as he was loading it in his trunk. He said he already paid… I write down a description and license plate. He got arrested a few days later as the whole thing was on video.
On another occasion, a guy was the only customer at night before closing. He went to one side of the store and knocked over a display to distract the employees, then hurried to the other side of the store to try and steal some small expensive electronics. Like I said, he was the only person there, so we were all watching. I stood there so he wouldn’t steal anything and told him to go clean up his mess or get out, and he promptly left.
The most impressive one that actually worked was when someone broke into the empty building next door at night and dug through the freaking wall into our high ticket lockup room. According to the police, that was actually more common than you would think.”
“I Had To Cleanse All Of The Merchandise And My Soul”
“I am currently employed as a loss prevention manager. One time, we picked up a female who looked like she was up to know good and began looking at our small jewelry department. After making multiple selections, she went to the fitting room. After exiting, she had no merchandise in hand and we cleared the fitting room, only finding empty boxes.
We decided to talk to her and bring her back to the office for further questioning and prosecution. She denied having anything and we couldn’t find any of the rings or earrings. So we decided to get the local police department involved. Well, the local police department arrived and a female officer took her into a separate room for questioning. She finally confessed to having the small jewelry hidden in a small hole…
The officer came back into the interview room with a pair of gloves on and jewelry in hand. She had concealed all of the jewelry items in her lady parts. I had to cleanse all of the merchandise and my soul after that stop.”
“He Hadn’t Learned Much During That Pricy Ivy League Education”
“I worked in a restaurant while finishing college. A bunch of modern graffiti art, painted on canvases, covered the walls. One night, some local Ivy League college kids came in for dinner. One of them waited until none of the staff were on the restaurant floor before grabbing a 4′ x 4′ painting off the wall and walking out the back door with it.
Once we noticed it was missing, we looked at the security footage and watched him do it, then return to his group of friends. Unfortunately for him, he hadn’t learned much during that pricy Ivy League education and paid for his dinner on a credit card. Police officers showed up at his dorm room, where he had hung it over his twin bed.”
They Had Done Enough Damage
“He was in the next aisle in my store while his mate was hanging out at the spirits near the counter. As soon as they walked in, I knew they were there to steal (you just get a vibe with some people), so I stayed at the counter and watched the other guy on the CCTV. Anyway, he set up a bottle of red on the shelf so that it was very close to the edge and then rammed his trolley into it in an attempt to make it fall and break, forcing me to go to where he was, so his mate could steal a bottle of spirits. I pushed the bottle back on the shelf.
Next, he set it up again. This time, he nudged it off the shelf and the bottle fell, lid first, and didn’t break. He then apologized for dropping it. I said, ‘Don’t worry, mate. No damage done.’
He brought the bottle he dropped to the counter and left. I then started talking to the one that was going to actually do the stealing about the merits of a particular drink and he just said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna pee in your pocket anymore,’ and followed his mate out.”