According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “Theft is any of the following acts done with the intent to deprive the owner permanently of the possession, use, or benefit of his/her property:
a) Obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property.
b) Obtaining by deception control over property.
c) Obtaining by threat control over property.
d) Obtaining control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen by another.”
In the simple terms theft is defined as “taking of property without the owner’s consent.” The term theft includes swindling, embezzlement, larceny, and pilferage. Swindling is “cheating and defrauding with deliberate artifice.” Embezzlement is “the fraudulent appropriation of property by one lawfully entrusted with its possession.” Larceny is “the unlawful taking and carrying away of property of another with intent to appropriate it to use inconsistent with the latter’s rights.” Pilferage is “petty larceny.”
A security officer must be aware of physical theft, areas or property prone to theft, and common confidence games that may be played on the post. All theft or suspected theft must be reported in an incident report. If a theft is in progress, then call the police. If a retail theft is in progress, then follow this basic procedure:
1) The officer must see the person conceal the property.
2) The officer must keep the person in view to be sure they did not dump the property.
3) The person must leave the store before the officer can stop them.
4) The security officer must immediately notify the police and detain the person until the police arrives.
5) Make an incident report and include the police report or police report #.
Officers can report suspected theft to their client, but they should not accuse anyone of theft. The officer should document relevant information such as who was last seen with the property or persons in the area at the time of the suspected theft. The general rules for reporting suspecting theft is the same as for reporting any other incident: Only report facts and suggestions.
Sometimes a client may require security to search property of people leaving the post. All searches must be by consent. An officer should never force search someone’s property. Follow this procedure:
1) Ask the person for consent.
2) Do not physically touch the person or their property. Ask them to display the contents of their bag, pockets, etc.
3) If the person refuses, then follow post orders. Orders may include:
a) Notify client contact
b) Notify police.
c) Other.Report incident.