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Malaysian Retail Workers Reveal Their Most WTF Encounters With Shoplifters

You'd be surprised by how often people get away with shoplifting.

Cover image via SAYS

Retail workers sure do put up with a lot. Not only do they have to deal with customers and their sometimes ridiculous demands, they also have to worry about "customers" who are only here to steal stuff from their workplace.

Shoplifting goes beyond simply stuffing some merch in your bag and walking out without paying, as most shoplifters employ pretty creative and/or balls-y methods to steal stuff.

So we asked some Malaysian retail workers to share the most WTF shoplifters they've ever encountered:

Disclaimers: Shoplifting is a crime in the eyes of the law. The following stories should be regarded as informational and for entertainment purposes only, and SAYS does not advocate doing any of the things listed below.

All names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals and all images used are for illustration purposes only.

1. "He'd torn off the packaging, and stole ONLY the discs."

Image via kars4kids

"According to my co-workers, this actually happens pretty often but I've only ever caught someone doing it this one time. I didn't suspect him initially, coz this boy (I think he's in his early teens) always comes in with his parents or his friends, so he's kinda considered a regular customer.

He was alone this time. We didn't really pay attention... until I noticed he's been standing at the back of the store for a very long time, with his head bowed down. So I crept to the back... and found him tearing the packaging off a CD! And there was another empty CD cover next to it (I still remember it's the 'Titanic' soundtrack)!

I was damn angry lah, but luckily (or stupidly, on his part) he hasn't noticed me walking towards him, so I yelled, "Excuse me, what are you doing?!" and he panicked and dropped everything and ran out. One of my co-workers managed to catch him though, searched his bag and found the 'Titanic' disc. We made him pay for it and every time he walks into the store after that incident, we follow him all over the store, even when his parents are with him."

- Pei Nee

2. "Two guys carried an entire DVD player out of the front door."

"This happened just as we were closing up the store. They just picked up the box, and walked out of the store with it. No one stopped or confronted them. None of my co-workers, including me, even suspected that they were stealing, because we all thought they must have already paid for it!"

- Bing

3. "We found several security tags on the fitting room floor, with pieces of ripped fabric still stuck to it."

Image via Staples

"I worked at a clothing store over the pre-CNY rush, so it's always busy day in and day out. In that one short month, we discovered at least four attempts of shoplifting in the store, but this is the first one I encountered.

This woman came in with five pieces of clothing (the max limit) to try on. I don't recall the exact details, but I remember she took a few pieces with her when she left the fitting room, which I assumed were the ones she wanted to buy.

Little did we know that she'd actually ripped off the security tags from the clothes she took with her, and we only found out after our supervisor (who was manning the fitting rooms) went in to tidy up for the next customer. Unfortunately, the thief had already left by then.

I would later find out that this is a common shoplifting method in every other clothing store. Yeah, they'd rather have an ugly hole in their stolen clothing than pay money for it."

- Lim

4. "She probably panicked when we knocked on her door, so she stuffed the things she couldn't steal in the corners and under the stool."

"We suspected this woman was up to something shady because she was in the fitting room for a very long time, more than half an hour. So we started knocking at her door to (nicely) ask if she needed any assistance.

Shortly after, she came out and we immediately went to search the room. She stuffed the things she couldn't steal in the corners and behind the stool, but we think she managed to run off with a few items coz we found empty packaging on the floor (the sensors are on the packaging). I'm guessing she panicked when we knocked on her door, because we also found a winter jacket with the security tag cut out, so now there's a hole in the jacket."

- Rachel

5. "Someone stole an entire stack of T-shirts from the front display."

Image via Pinterest

"That's it. That's the story. We don't know when it happened, who did it, nor how they did it."

- Baz

6. "She was caught red-handed stuffing a pair of jeans into a plastic bag. Then she marah us for wasting her time. Wtf?"

"One of our management staff chased her when she was about to leave the store. Brought her to the backroom, and forced her to take out whatever was in her handbag and this huge plastic bag she was holding. She'd stuffed a lot of clothes in the plastic bag, and was even wearing a jacket she claimed she brought from another mall (but the security tag was still on...?!). Overall, she stole about RM600 worth of items.

Anyway, security was called in. She was given the option to pay for all the items she stole, but she was like, "I don't have money now. Can I go home and take?" Um, lady, NO. She went on and on, promising to pay back the amount and scolding us for not letting her go. At that point, security got tired of her excuses, so they said they wanted to bring her to the balai (police station).


Finally she shut up. She begged security not to and promised to pay today. She called so many people to bank in money to her account, then a part-timer had to follow her to the ATM along with one of the security guys to make sure she doesn't run away. This dragged on for an hour plus until closing time. -___-

The best part is, she actually smiled when we wanted to take a photo of her... until we told her the pic will be plastered in all our branches."

- Christine

7. "They spent a veeeeery long time in the fitting rooms. When I went to check on them, the women had disappeared with the dresses."

Image via Emma Peters

"This happened on my first week. Three ladies took three dresses from my department to try, but they insisted on going to a fitting room that's quite far away from my counter. I thought it was weird, because there are two fitting rooms right behind my counter, but we don't have the right to stop them from doing so.

I waited for more than 15 minutes, and they still haven't reappeared. I was like, "What's taking them so long?" but I wasn't supposed to leave my counter coz I was alone. After another 10 minutes, I went to check... and the fitting rooms were empty! The women and the dresses were gone!

Luckily I didn't get penalised (each dress was about RM100 you know!), because I was still new to the job, but quite pek chek also."

- H. Theng

8. "He ran off with the stuff he stole and left his friend behind to take the fall."

"We've been monitoring these two boys for a while, because one of our part-timers noticed one of them slipping a 'Harry Potter' DVD into his bag. Unfortunately, we cannot confront them while they're still in the store, coz apparently it's illegal or something.

As expected, they walked out of the store without paying. My supervisor, who's already waiting by the door, shouted and grabbed onto one of the boys. BUT... the one she caught didn't have anything on him. The one who ran off did.

This boy is obviously panicking already lah right, coz he kept trying to call his friend but the a**hole didn't pick up (duh). Because we're nice people, we gave him two options - either pay for the thing his friend stole, or we hand him over to mall security.
Luckily for him, he had enough money to pay for the DVD his friend stole (about RM60).

Right before we let him go, my supervisor gave him a stern lecture about choosing his friends wisely (she's small, but she can be scary). I hope he learnt his lesson."

- Ming

9. "Someone swiped an iPhone demo unit. We all had to pay for it because no one wanted to admit they took it out of the drawer."

Image via 9to5mac

"All of our demo units are attached to a security system, except for two iPhone demo units that we keep in a drawer at the cashier counter.

To this day, we have no idea who removed it from the drawer (apparently the theft wasn't captured by CCTVs), so all of us who worked that particular shift had to fork out about RM400 each to cover the cost of the missing phone. I'm still angry that I had to pay so much money for someone else's mistake!" >:(

- Eunice

10. "One of the sales guys stole an external hard disk... and actually had the balls to come back to work the next day."

"That night, after the closing stock take, we noticed that one of the hard disks was missing. So our manager reviewed the CCTV footage. There was no CCTV in the store room at the time, but he noticed that the dude took his backpack and walked towards the store room, then left with his backpack.

Manager confidently confronted him the next day. Dude couldn't call his bluff and admitted to stealing.
He had to return the HDD and - obviously - got fired. We've had CCTVs installed in the store room since then, and every employee is required to stash their bags in the lockers the moment they step foot into the store."

- Sid

Have you ever worked in retail before? If your answer is "ugh, yes", you might relate to these experiences: