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Should I catch the thief (or thieves) or should I leave it?

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  • #411443
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Actually quite a lot has happened recently and I have started on this new job that I really like which is a sales position at a charity.

    I have only recently joined this forum as well. I like it, I feel that it is a safe space to share my experiences which helps me to grow and learn from my mistakes and I can see what others are doing as well. It is nice to support each other 🙂

    So what happened at work was that soon after I started, I realised that something happened and it was not good for me. I’ll explain it here. Because I have been quite busy (and just came home from the christmas party at work! It was great), I want to get some good rest after this as well.

    Here is what I happened: I am pretty sure that there is a thief in the shop (or at least one, it could be two of them). It is not favourable to me, as I have only recently joined the team, and when the thefts happened I was almost always there (as I am working full time). I will give you an example of the roster:

    (Since I am at the computer now, it is much easier for me to write down what I think it is compared to when I am on my phone so it gets messy sometimes):

    Saturday – Bear, Giraffe (*There was money gone from the tills)

    Sunday – Closed

    Monday – Bear, Elephant, Bird=me (*There was money gone from the tills)

    Tuesday – Bear, Giraffe, Monkey, Bird=me (*There was money gone from the tills)

    Wednesday – Bear, Bear, Elephant, Monkey

    Thursday – …

    Suppose the animals above represent the names of different people .. Now the problem is, say I am the “Bird”. I know I didn’t steal money from the shop. However we had money lost on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. On all these days when money was either stolen (or somehow lost due to a glitch in the system, which is a bit far off.. I don’t think it is a coincidence). It is quite easy to work out that Bear is present whenever money is gone.

    So Bear made an excuse that the money was already gone when she opened the shop on Tuesday (I left early as the manager would give me training on the next day). I knew straight up it was a lie. Because when I closed on Monday the money was there. So the fact that Bear took out the money bag the next morning and said the money is gone (unless there has been exceptional circumstances where someone else who had the key came into the shop and knew the passcode for the safe, then left without leaving any evidence) means that it is a lie. I haven’t even been given the keys to the shop yet (as I am quite new and it often takes a while to be given the keys due to security reasons) so I can quite effectively narrow down the range of suspects, and given that it was a lie then I knew she was the one.

    What worries me the most is that on the days when the thefts happened, except for Saturday when I wasn’t there, I was there most of the times. So I am quite new, and the suspect has worked here for a while so I am afraid that if anything happens, I will be blamed for the problems. The manager is quite good. But then I don’t think that she will know about what happens behind the scenes (despite her being really clear with her expectations).

    The best that I can do is to cover for myself so I have everything locked up (so they won’t be able to put the stolen money or goods in my locker) and I try to stay away from the suspect as far as possible while trying to remain nice to everyone. I might be getting too paranoid. But I’m thinking about starting to record all of the conversations secretly so that if I catch anything, like if we say that yes, the amount is correct, and the next morning the suspect says the opposite and point her fingers at me, at least I have some sort of evidence that might not exactly get myself out of trouble.

    I have another question to think about as well: Giraffe could be working with Bear. Because Giraffe was present on two of the days when the thefts happened, and Giraffe and Bear are quite close as well. Giraffe explained why the money was missing on one of those days, and the manager seemed to agree with the reasoning (I am not sure what it was). Was she covering for Bear? If I confront Giraffe (as I am pretty sure Bear is the thief, or one of the thiefs), and say, for example,  “Bear said the money was gone when she closed the shop, and you were there, is that right? Do you agree with what she said?” I think it might be a bit too obvious. I want to keep my poker face and not let anyone know that I am considering “catching” the thief (it might be a bad idea that backfires on me) so probably I should steer clear of it.

    But what happens if I get blamed for it? Some days I will have to work with only the two of them, which makes it so much harder for me.

    Note: The days mentioned above are an example of what happened. And I have to hide the names for reasons that I believe we all understand. But I hope you get the idea of the situation.

    Should I catch the thief (or thieves) or should I leave it?

    #411445
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Wednesday is supposed to be Bear, Bird=me, Elephant, Monkey

    #411456
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lemon Tree:

    I am pretty sure that there is a thief in the shop… we had money lost on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. On all these days when money was either stolen (or somehow lost due to a glitch in the system“- you suspect that a co-worker or co-workers handling the tills (cash registers) stole money, but you are not absolutely sure.

    Should I catch the thief (or thieves) or should I leave it?“- there may not be a thief or thieves among your co-workers, and if there is, it’s not your job to catch thieves: don’t play detective or police officer. It is your manager’s job to monitor the cash registers and take needed action, if any is needed.

    What worries me the most is that on the days when the thefts happened, except for Saturday when I wasn’t there, I was there most of the times… I might be getting too paranoid“- maybe there are no thefts. Why don’t you tell your manager that you are confused by the discrepancies in regard to the money and ask if it could be a glitch in the system? This way, you don’t mention theft, you don’t blame anyone of theft and you bring your concern to the manager.

    anita

    #411485
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Thanks for your response. I just came home from work.

    You are absolutely correct in saying that it’s the manager’s job and take the correct action. My partner said the same- no need to play police or detective unless I have solid evidence which I would then bring to the police. He said if I get blamed for the problems I will leave the job immediately.

    Here is an update: Today, the manager told me that Bear said I took the money from the registers, and I said the opposite, as I knew I didn’t steal the money. Luckily, the manager checked the cash register forms, and she found that what I said matched with what was on the forms, however, Bear declared that the amount was correct and subsequently said that the money was gone prior (so the dates and time don’t match). She later admitted that she was the one doing it.

    No one mentioned the word “theft”. Before this happened, I kind of brought it up in a non-conspicuous way, like a normal conversation (in the lines of “oh, I’m so worried about the cash-ups, it shouldn’t be hard, perhaps I’m new.. But hey, Bear, did you know that when you were not here yesterday, the manager was here and she checked that the amount wasn’t right? I heard it was a little bit unusual..” I said that in front of a few people including the manager so there were witnesses.

    Bear was a bit shocked as she thought the manager wasn’t here yesterday (there was a change of plan). So her plan of blaming it on me failed completely. I think she is a little bit scared now. But I have to cover myself as well. I still need to work with her most days.

    She didn’t get fired. Other than that she is a lovely person.

    #411508
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lemon Tree:

    You are welcome. “She didn’t get fired“- I am not sure that I understand: she (Bear) admitted that she stole money from the cash register (“She later admitted that she was the one doing it“), the manager knows it, and yet she is allowed to keep working at the cash register?

    Other than that she is a lovely person“- Bear is a lovely person.. when she is not stealing from the cash register and when not blaming you/ someone else for being the one stealing?

    anita

    #411513
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Yes you are correct. She admitted to stealing. The manager had a conversation with her in private. Later the manager told me that she is aware of what is happening and my suspicions were right. However Bear being sneaky and having blamed me for that previously still means that I still have a target on my back knowing that she is not too happy about it and the manager is aware that there is a lot of tension. It affected my performance at least it is what I think.

    She is allowed to work at the register, however not alone. She is the second in charge so she has got the keys and access to the safe. This is kind of confusing. Putting my feelings aside, if I were the manager I would fire her immediately regardless of the amount of money (and goods) being lost from the shop.

    I would remain professional and be friendly to Bear after the incident. I had another conversation afterwards about how certain goods were lost sometimes referring to the customers, as it was obvious that there is a corner in the shop that is not clearly visible to the counter and when we closed the shop, I saw that the packaging was there, however it is empty. It wasn’t an expensive item.

    Bear said why would it be a problem? Isn’t it smart? It is a small item and you can just take it.

    That rings many alarm bells and she is a walking “red flag”. I do not know why she is still allowed to work here.

    I am sure that she is the one stealing money from the shop which is confirmed by the manager now. Not sure if it has anything to do with the goods that disappear from the shop every once a while.

    I was really fuming as I do not have questions about my own integrity.

    #411516
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lemon Tree:

    She (Bear) admitted to stealing… the manager told me that she is aware of what is happening and my suspicions were right… She (Bear) is allowed to work at the register… she (Bear) has got the keys and access to the safe. This is kind of confusing. Putting my feelings aside, if I were the manager I would fire her immediately… I do not know why she is still allowed to work here“- the only way for me to make sense of this senseless situation is that both Bear and the manager are stealing from this charity organization that you are working for.

    anita

     

    #411533
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    I am having a break now so I’ll keep it short as I have to be back to work soon. As always you are able to be calm and you can read the things I’ve said quickly and even quote the specific sentences that I have said before so it is really impressive. I really appreciate it, and it is nice to know that you are always here for me (and other members as well).

    I would say that you could be right. I have never thought about the possibility that the manager and Bear could be working together. I have spoken to Giraffe who I thought might (or might not be) related to this, and her being quite defensive and looking confused, saying huh? Do you now know about cash ups? I can show you how to do this.. she sounds quite natural so (even though I know the cash ups already and I do not like to be told what to do) I would say that is a positive response. I have spoken to someone else who is not always here, and I can trust her as she is in her 60s (coming here in her free time) and she doesn’t think it is Giraffe. So it was between me and Bear she said.

    Now that there is a possibility that the manager is involved as well (considering all options), I don’t think there is nothing more I can do about it. Again I think I need to defend myself and knowing that I am under the spotlight as well, I try not to have my slips (especially major ones) that could be used against me.

    Sorry about all this explanation as it is quite hard to put everything into words while concealing the identities and I do not want to reveal which organization I am working for. There might be people here who I know as well (despite that being a remote possibility). Just want to be careful with what I say, even though it is generally quite a safe place for me to vent, and share my own experiences (and of course, learn from others as well) so thank you very much for being here for me all this time.

    #411534
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lemon Tree:

    You are welcome and thank you for your kind words, I appreciate it. This is a safe place for you to vent and share your experience. I am not clear about what is happening there, in your workplace, but if it is clear to you that there is corruption taking place, that is, that the manager and another worker or workers, have been stealing cash from the cash register, and maybe merchandise as well, what I would do, if I was you, would be to contact the people higher up in the charity organization and expose the corruption. I’d do it even if it meant that I’d lose my job.

    anita

    #411538
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Thanks for your advice.

    I have discussed with my partner and he said unless there is undeniable evidence, which means if I take it to the police it will be incriminating, the fact that I “know” what is happening and “someone told me about that” is not going to help. I agree with him. And I agree with you as well. If I report to someone higher up, at least I need to “show” them something. I have got the roster with who is doing what on which days, and who has access to the safe (also we have CCTV, however, it is not going to cover every corner of the shop. If you are there long enough and you have permissions to check the footage then it is kind of easy to work out how to get away with it if you’re going to steal something). However most of the other evidence that I have is verbal.

    What I’m doing now is that I try to avoid getting into more trouble i.e. when doing the cash ups, if I am going to sign off the forms for that till, I will do the whole thing from start to finish including doing all of the records on the software so that there is no opportunity for someone to mess that up for me. Also at the end of the day I try to use some sort of excuse e.g. the manager asked me to go to the back (there is always something that needs to be done, and she always asks me to do something and then forgets about it or puts it off for later). So I can avoid working with the ones that I find suspicious. If the second or third in charge is there and they are happy to sign off everything to declare the amount is correct, then I let them do it.

    I would say, from my experience, most of the thieves, unless they’re in the movies so they’re extremely smart (which is why they’re in the movies only), most thieves are actually not that smart and can be recognized easily. Unless it is an organized crime that is committed by a group of people.

    So if I let them do the records there is a greater chance that they will mess up somewhere, and their heads will be chopped off first, as it has already happened that what they said do not match what they put on paper.

    I heard that there is a chance that some of the staff will be leaving so the change might be good in this case.

    I will be sure that if my signature appears anywhere on the forms then I will have my eyes on the cash from start to finish and I won’t even get 10 cents missing until it goes into the bag and is completely sealed for the security to pick up.

    The only thing is with the computers the system has a thing that automatically allows you to do a few transactions even if you switch users and come back into the same account (no password is required). So there is a chance that my account can be misused.

    I’m going to have a good relaxing week so I’ll worry about it later.

    #411556
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lemon Tree:

    You are welcome. “I will be sure that if my signature appears anywhere on the forms then I will have my eyes on the cash from start to finish and I won’t even get 10 cents missing until it goes into the bag and is completely sealed for the security to pick up“- good, be consistent with this, do it every single time. That’s the best you can do.

    I’m going to have a good relaxing week so I’ll worry about it later“- please do have a good relaxing week/ weekend with your partner (or alongside him when he plays his computer games)!

    anita

    #411569
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Yes I will do that. You too have a nice weekend! Will catch you later

    #411571
    anita
    Participant

    Thank you, Lemon Tree!

    anita

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

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