Annual Retail Theft Survey Shows More Dishonest Employees Stole from US Retailers in 2012

Employee theft rose in the U.S. in 2012 as more than 70,000 dishonest employees were apprehended and over $50 million was recovered from employee apprehensions, according to the 25th Annual Retail Theft Survey by leading loss prevention firm Jack L. Hayes International. More information about the survey is available at

“The seriousness of retail theft is a much greater problem than many people realize,” Mark R. Doyle, President of Jack L. Hayes International, stated in a press release available on  “These theft losses are stealing profits from retailers and driving retail prices higher for the consumer.”

Participants in the highly anticipated annual theft survey included 23 large retail companies with 18,900 stores and over $596 billion in retail sales in 2012. Regarding employee theft, the survey found:

  • Employee Apprehensions: 71,095 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2012, up 5.5% from 2011.
  • Employee Recovery Dollars: Over $50 million was recovered from employee apprehensions in 2012, up 7.0% from 2011.
  • One in every 40 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2012. (Based on over 2.8 million employees.)
  • On a per case average, dishonest employees steal 5.5 times the amount stolen by shoplifters ($715.24 vs. $129.12).

The survey calls employee theft “the most severe problem” facing retail industry currently and Hayes International has witnessed a steady and significant rise in this serious problem over the years. Each year thousands of employees are caught stealing from their employers and co-workers.

In order to better protect against retail theft, the survey found that improperly screening job applicants is the number one reason for employee theft. Another major problem that leads to internal theft is a failure to check employee references, either by managers or through professional background checks.

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