QuikTrip, Ferguson, and store theft

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CNN broadcast security camera video (more here) that appears to show Michael Brown shoplifting from a convenience store in Ferguson, Mo., shortly before he was shot by a police officer. At one point in the video, a thin man in a white shirt with skinny vertical stripes, untucked, and dark slacks confronts a much taller and larger man (allegedly Brown) as the larger man walks toward the door. The larger man looms over the smaller man, appears to push him, and the smaller man backs off as the larger man walks out.

I've seen several websites describe the scene as a QuikTrip store clerk or manager confronting the apparent shoplifter, but that didn't ring true to me, living as I do in the city where QuikTrip was born and where there seems to be a QuikTrip on every corner. While the store's floor tiles looked like they belonged in a QuikTrip, the arrangement of items was too cluttered to be a QuikTrip. The smaller man's clothing was not the standard QT red polo, and I thought the smaller man's decision to confront the larger man was probably contrary to company policy. A story in the Tulsa World about a man accused of frequent thefts from QT here in Tulsa confirmed my assumption. (Emphasis added.)

Retailers in the Tulsa metro area should breathe easier now that a suspect in upward of five dozen thefts from QuikTrips within the past year is off the streets, a company spokesman said Friday.

Jeremy Herman Barnett, 28, is charged with six counts of larceny of merchandise from a retailer, according to Tulsa County District Court records.

But QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said his company has evidence that the same man committed 50 to 60 thefts from QuikTrip convenience stores during the past nine to 12 months -- about 30 percent to 40 percent of the larcenies from the stores....

Thornbrugh said the thief's method of operation during QuikTrip larcenies was simply to walk in, take what he wanted and then leave. He predominantly stole beer and energy drinks, Thornbrugh said, walking away with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

It's QuikTrip policy for clerks not to interfere with a theft or robbery because no item or amount of money is worth endangering the lives of customers or employees, Thornbrugh said.

"We have every confidence in the world with our systems and law enforcement. They're going to catch the people over time," he said.

Every year since 2003, QT has been recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 best companies to work for. The chain has pioneered numerous safety practices for convenience stores, using store design and procedures to deter theft and protect employees and customers against violent crime. They've done a great deal to overcome the stereotype of the rundown, filthy, dangerous convenience store.

RELATED:

Jim Hoft reports "A QuikTrip official told TGP the company has no plans on rebuilding in Ferguson and that the looted store was barely breaking even."

August 19: QuikTrip closed store near looted Ferguson store

A QuikTrip looted and burned during the first weekend of protests in Ferguson has since become a staging ground for further demonstrations and the occasional site of confrontations between protesters and the police.

Nearby, the company has closed down another QuikTrip, at 10768 W. Florissant Ave., and recently sealed it off as a precautionary measure against the waves of destruction that have often followed peaceful protests in the days since Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 31, 2014 9:40 PM.

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