RM Alert: Flash Mob Robberies

“Flash Mob” thefts are increasing in frequency at retail locations.

Recently a new form of burglary/robbery has been playing out at retail stores in several areas across the country. This new form of burglary involves several individuals conducting the crime as a coordinated group, storming a retailer, and moving quickly to take as many items as quickly as possible. Sometimes these criminals are a team and work together more than once, but others have been forming plans online, meeting and storming a business, and quickly going their way again.  

These “mobs” of burglars target highly-priced items, particularly those smaller in size, easily removed and hidden while they move from the scene. Authorities in several cities are noting an increase in the incident rate. Some escalation of violence is noted.  

A few things to keep in mind regarding this type of organized criminal activity:

  • Do not make yourself an attractive target by displaying high ticket or high demand items in areas of the store easily accessible.
  • Consider adding video surveillance, preferably with a display at the entrance and conspicuous parking lot surveillance.
  • Post signs declaring your intent to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
  • Keep small amounts of product visible and overstock out of sight or in an inconvenient place, such as higher shelves or cabinets/drawers.
  • Contact the local police department to be present in shopping areas, patrolling frequently.
  • Consider tracking devices that can be easily hidden in packaging.
  • Remind staff not to intervene in any theft but get out of harm’s way as quickly as possible.
  • Keep your current theft prevention tools in place and make sure alarms are tested regularly, including panic buttons.

For more information, contact the Pharmacists Mutual Risk Management Team at riskmgmt@phmic.com.