Today I want to talk to you about how to make an apprehension and teach you one of the little tricks that I’ve invented over the years that can make an apprehension go a lot smoother.
If you’re one of my Loss Prevention followers you may run into this a lot if you’re trying to catch somebody who’s shoplifting, committing check fraud, credit card fraud, that type of thing.
I want to give you this real-world case study. This is an incident that happen to me. It wasn’t associated with any case that I was working. I just happen to be out (coincidentally with a partner that I worked with) just living life out and about.
My buddy and I were out of video tapes for surveillance recordings so we have to go get some more. (Video tapes! This gives you an idea of how long ago this was. But it still has real-world applications today!) So we go over to a big box media store to buy video tapes.
As we pull into the parking lot we see a guy and a couple of women running through the parking lot clearly… away from and out of the store. And, out for the store running, comes one of the workers wearing the little vest that they wear, clearly one of the workers chasing the three runners.
Now, this tells me whatever’s going on is probably something serious because almost every store, certainly the big ones, have a policy forbidding their employees from chasing thieves and other bad guys. So whenever I see this happening it tells me either one, this store worker is using very poor judgment which could be the case or two this could be a very serious event where this person has decided to violate store policy because of the seriousness of the offense. Arguably that means I’m witnessing a felony in progress.
My buddy and I see this and I say, ‘We’ve got a runner.”
My buddy is driving, pulls up, blocks the car the best we can although they can drive out the other direction and we hop out.
It’s two women. One is carrying a baby, one is carrying a diaper bag and pretty good size guy with them. I came around to the driver’s side as he’s moving to get into the car. I get between him and the car. Now this guy can squash me like a bug, no problem. But I say to him, “You want to do a felony?” He says, “No.” I said, “Well, you’re going to have to do a felony on me to get into this car.”
That stopped things for a moment and he realized, “Okay they probably don’t have anything on me right now, but for sure if I lay hands on this guy, it’s going to turn into a felony and I don’t want that.” And he made the decision to stand there and wait rather than assault me and try to get away. Coulda’ gone the other way, but in this case it didn’t.
So the cops are called. What ends up happening is this trio of people, they’ve gone around from store to store and stealing compact discs. And again show you long ago this was – it was music compact disc Gang Related. And they were just robbing the city blind of these disc.
They had gotten one of the unlocking keys to take the security packaging off the CDs. Here’s their game… The driver/bodyguard/lookout man and the two women will go into the store with the baby and the empty diaper bag. One of them would unlock all the CDs just dropping the security cases on the floor, putting the CDs into the diaper bag. Then they’d just walk out as if it was a baby, a diaper bag and a family.
All over the city, this chain of stores was finding piles of these leftover security devices and the CDs were gone. When the police finally arrived, this trio was telling the story of, “We didn’t do nothin’.” We pop the trunk and it is just loaded, comically loaded, with a ton of these compact discs. It was crazy how many they had stolen and still even had in the car!
They searched the diaper bag and of course it’s got the CDs in it. The woman who had the release key for the security devices was actually cradling it under the baby in her arms!
If this shocks you, don’t let it. It happens all the time. The bad guys use children to shoplift all the time.
But, what I really want you to learn here is this concept: The bad guys understand felony versus misdemeanor. A lot of them have priors. A lot of them have done a little bit of time for one thing or another and they understand, “Unless I have to, I don’t necessarily want to commit a felony that I might get busted for.”
This case is an example where you can use reason and logic a little bit before you have to get physical.
And I want to give you that key line again, “Do you want to do a felony?” This will stop the person and make them think, “Maybe I don’t.” And for me, I was willing to “be” the felony. I was willing to be the guy to take the punch.
That’s just the way I handled it. I’m not suggesting that you handle it this way. This is not legal advice for you. But if you’re making apprehensions and catching bad guys, I want you to have this very useful tool that I have used many, many times to avoid using physical force and still make the apprehension.
And, of course, remember: Do the right thing even if it’s the hard thing.