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NEWS | Sept. 8, 2014

Shoplifting at Joint Base Charleston Exchange, resulting costs down in 2013

By Joe Puryear Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, there are approximately 27 million shoplifters in America, accounting for more than $35 million a day in losses. This fact is not lost on retailers such as the the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

While it may not be evident to the naked eye, the JB Charleston Exchange employs a variety of shoplifting prevention measures such as Closed Circuit Televisions with DVR technology, high-tech Electronic Article Surveillance and an aggressive youth awareness campaign to prevent theft. Last year, Exchange efforts led to a 52 percent decrease in theft, from 42 incidents in 2012 to 20. Sophisticated anti-shoplifting measures are also being cited as a factor in reducing the costs of products involved in detected cases from $2,274.84 to $1,027.10 in 2013.

"Shoplifting at the JB Charleston Exchange results in a reduced return on investment to our primary shareholders - the military community," said the Exchange's General Manager, Common Orris. "Because the Exchange is a military organization with a retail mission, those who steal from the Exchange are, in essence, stealing from their fellow Airmen and Sailors. Additionally, since the Exchange is part of the Department of Defense, theft from the Exchange is considered larceny of government property."

If shoplifting is suspected, the Exchange Loss Prevention office turns the issue over to the installation's law enforcement authorities. In addition to possible disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution, the Federal Claims Collection Act allows the Exchange to enact a flat, administrative cost (Civil Recovery) of $200. There may be further fees, in addition to the Civil Recovery Program, depending on the condition of the stolen merchandise.