LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — New video of a shoplifter swiping cigarettes exposes what some security guards can and cannot do.
The video shows a security guard watching a man blatantly steal from a local Walgreens early Friday morning. The man gets behind the pharmacy counter and begins taking carton after carton of cigarettes.
We’re concealing his identity because he hasn’t been charged. Watch as he gets behind the counter and grabs carton after carton of cigarettes. First, it’s two employees watching, then a security guard joins in and watches right along with them. Nobody stepped in. Nobody stopped him.
“You’re probably going to get in trouble or fired over, so is it really worth it? Not really.”
The person shooting the video got closer than any of them. The cig smuggler walks outside and casually climbs into a waiting car. Shopper Corey Boling isn’t surprised. He worked in retail and says many employees are prohibited from stopping crooks.
“it’s just things that happen anywhere or in any city. It could be a nice area; it could be a bad area. It’s just things that happen in the country unfortunately,” he said.
Shoppers we talked to say this doesn’t deter them from shopping at the store.
“A lot of security officers’ main directive is to observe and report," said Adam Coughran, a security expert with law enforcement experience says.
“There’s no real indication that they’re going to intervene or stop this person and that very well may be following their protocols and guidelines,’ he said.
Coughran says many retailers have policies forbidding workers or security from intervening as a way to protect them from potential physical harm. He also says the guards are there in the first place as a uniformed deterrent to make thieves think twice.
“Hey, someone is watching. If you do something someone is going to report that. Not just employees, but there is a specific employee who job is essentially loss prevention and reporting,” he said.
He says employees or security calling the police is appropriate as lost merchandise is replaceable at many retailers through insurance and not worth physical harm.
“To physically agitate this person or confront this person to try and stop them, it could lead to a physical altercation resulting in injury or worse,” he said.
We did reach out to Walgreens corporate media to ask about its employee policies but we didn’t hear back by deadline.