Hank was notorious in his area for shoplifting things both big and small, but by the time the store managers in his area finally found out who was walking out with their most pricey items, he was already far from their grasp. Luckily they gathered together with a plan in mind to finally capture the thief who had evaded justice for so many years. But first, they had to lure him in with something he just couldn't resist...
Hank Was a Notorious Shoplifter
Hank lived in Portland for over twenty years and was known to be a shoplifter. He’d been busted a handful of times over the years but always seemed to somehow go back to shoplifting without serious repercussions. Local department stores knew about Hank but had a difficult time catching him. As far as shoplifters go, he was one of the best.
Hank Stole Tens of Thousands Worth of Merchandise
Within only the last few years, Hank had stolen tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from various department stores. Despite getting caught repeatedly, he not only kept shoplifting, but he got better at it as the years went by. When he thought one department store was onto him, he’d move on to another store.
He Found His Perfect Mark
One day, Hank found the perfect store to steal from. No one could figure out how he was doing it, but he kept shoplifting from one department store called Stones. The new manager wasn’t particularly good at catching Hank in the act but Hank had a bunch of ways to stay hidden.
One method Hand used to continue stealing from Stones was disguises. He became good at hair and makeup skills. He could make himself appear to be someone completely different. When he entered the store in a disguise, nobody ever seemed to notice him. So the new store manager, Carol, began looking through security camera footage.
Hank Was Clever
Carol thought that if she looked through the security camera footage, she might be able to find the vehicle that Hank was using to get to Stones. But she realized that he not only didn’t drive a vehicle, but he changed the way he got to the store every time he came.
He Could Avoid Detection
Sometimes, Hank would arrive via a bus. Sometimes he would use ride share but get dropped off far enough away from the security cameras that the vehicle couldn’t be seen. Sometimes he would take a different bus and walk several miles. No matter how he got to Stones, Hank always flew under the radar.
No One Could Figure Him Out
But beyond his disguises and clever modes of transportation, Hank also had a special skill for stealing items in the store. It would be hours, sometimes even days, before any of the store employees realized something was gone. And by the time they realized it, Hank was gone too.
But How Did He Do It?
No matter what he stole or how often he stole, none of the store employees could figure out how Hank stole things. He would always remove the security censors somehow. He would always rearrange items so that it didn’t seem like anything was missing. And while he was stealing items, he never drew any attention to himself.
The Store Manager Contacts the Police
Carol the store manager was watching helplessly as expensive items went missing almost every week. So eventually she realized she wasn’t going to catch Hank. She called the police to report the problem. But she was shocked to discover that the local department didn’t seem to care about her shoplifter.
The Police Couldn’t Solve the Problem
The local police department was dealing with record high crime rates and didn’t have the staff or resources to deal with shoplifters. When Carol reported the problem, they told her that her company could recoup the costs and to keep an eye out for the shoplifter. Carol was frustrated that the police were of no use. How would she ever catch Hank?
Carol Tries to Set Up the Shoplifter
Carol came up with a scheme to try to catch Hank. She placed tracking devices in some of the more expensive items in the store. Hank always stole different items so it was difficult, if not impossible, to know what he might steal next. But he always stole expensive items.
Carol Installs the Tracking Devices
So Carol installed tracking devices into some of the most expensive items in the store, hoping Hank would steal one. Then, Carol could track the stolen item’s location and send the police to Hank’s address. Carol thought her plan would definitely work, it was just a question of how long before Hank stole an item with a tracking device.
Carol Waits For Her Plan to Work
Carol patiently waited for weeks for one of the items with a tracking device to be stolen. But it didn’t happen. She wondered if there was some way that Hank could tell which items had a tracking device but doubted it. So she asked her assistant manager Julie to try something else.
Julie Tries Something
Julie the assistant manager tried a new scheme. She looked at all the items Hank had stolen in the past and noticed that he tended never to steal similar items. He was always shoplifting a different type of item every time, probably to stop the store from predicting what he would steal next.
Julie Realizes Something
Julie realized that Hank had never stolen any men’s watches before. He’d stolen lots of women’s jewelry but never men’s watches. She figured it was only a matter of time before he went after expensive men’s watches. So she planted tracking devices in all the most expensive mens watches.
The New Plan Works
Carol the store manager thought this was a smart plan. Neither she nor her assistant Julie knew exactly when Hank would strike or what he would steal but they had to be persistent if they wanted to catch him. So they waited to see if their new plan would work. And one day, it did.
Hank Takes the Bait
On a Friday evening, a store employee noticed a missing men’s Rolex watch. It was the most expensive model in the store. Carol and Julie were thrilled. They had installed a tracking device in the watch. Carol immediately went to her computer to see what they could learn from the tracking device.
Carol Tracks the Stolen Watch
Carol watched on her computer as the tracking device indicated the location of the stolen watch. It was headed down a highway. Obviously Hank was driving somewhere. But where? Carol watched as he took an exit and then, 10 minutes later, seemingly parked at a residential address. Carol couldn’t believe it: she got him.
Carol Calls the Police
Carol immediately called the local police department and gave them the address of the stolen watch. The police said they would go to the address. Carol quickly got into her car and drove to the address as well. She needed to know what would happen. She needed to see the cops catch Hank, once and for all.
Carol Goes to the Address
Carol drove as fast as she could but she wasn’t fast enough to beat the police. When she arrived, they were already there and inside the house. Carol parked outside and waited to see Hank brought out in handcuffs. Instead, she saw two police officers exit the house, waving to a woman inside.
Carol Needs to Know What Happened
Carol got out of her car and approached the officers to see what had happened. To her shock, they said they had discovered the watch in a trash can outside the house. The woman inside lived alone and didn’t know anything about stolen goods. She’d even let the officers search her house.
Carol is Stunned
Carol couldn’t believe what the officers were telling her. Had Hank somehow found the tracking device installed inside the watch? It certainly seemed like it. The police agreed. They figured Hank had tossed out the watch as soon as he realized he was being tracked. Carol was shocked that Hank had discovered her plan.
Carol drove home and tried to think of what she could possibly do next to catch Hank. If he was able to detect tracking devices, how could she possibly catch him? He always seemed to be one step ahead of her, no matter how clever she thought her plan was. Now she needed a new plan.
Carol Talks with Julie
The next day at work, Carol talked with her assistant Julie and filled her in on everything that happened the previous night. Julie seemed shocked as well. Now, Carol said, they would have to figure out some other plan to capture Hank. Carol asked Julie if she had any ideas.
Julie Surprises Carol
Then Julie said something that surprised Carol. She suggested they give up. Sooner or later, Hank would probably make a mistake and would be caught. Until then, there seemed to be nothing they could do. Julie thought Hank was simply too good of a thief to be caught red handed.
Carol quickly disagreed with Julie. She couldn’t accept that they would just sit by and watch as someone stole from their store again and again. There must be some way to catch Hank, Carol believed. But right now, she wasn’t sure how. Carol knew she had to come up with a new and better plan.
Carol Contacts Headquarters
The next day, Carol had a meeting with the company’s headquarters to discuss her new idea. She wanted to see if the company would approve facial recognition technology. With this, perhaps they could use software to detect Hank, even when he wore disguises. Carol wasn’t sure if the company would approve the cost but she had to try.
The Company Discusses the New Plan
The company’s top executives agreed with Carol. It simply wasn’t acceptable that merchandise was constantly being stolen. They approved Carol’s request to spend funds on a facial recognition program. Carol was thrilled. Maybe this would finally do the trick. Maybe Hank would at last be caught.
The Facial Recognition System is Installed
A security company came to the store and installed special cameras to scan the faces of everyone who came into the store. If the same face was detected at least twice, the software would log the person’s face into its database. Carol thought the system was a bit complicated but felt confident it would put an end to Hank’s thievery.
Weeks Go By
Several weeks went by without the store losing any merchandise. Carol thought this was odd. Hank visited the store frequently. Perhaps the tracking device had scared him off. Or maybe he noticed the new cameras installed at the entrances. In any case, no shoplifting had occurred in weeks.
Carol Still Hopes to Catch Hank
While Carol was pleased that the store had experienced no thefts in weeks, she also hoped to catch Hank. She had become so invested in his capture that a part of her hoped merchandise would go missing so that she could use the facial recognition software to catch her long-time nemesis. And then one day, it happened.
A Pair of Shoes Goes Missing
One day, an expensive pair of shoes went missing. Carol felt a little guilty that she was secretly happy. She thought this might finally be her chance to catch Hank. After the store closed, she reviewed the footage from the facial recognition software. It took a while but eventually she found what she was looking for.
Carol is Close to Catching Hank
Carol saw in the camera footage a man with a mustache. He had entered the store twice in the past two days, including the day the shoes went missing. As Carol searched through the rest of the camera footage throughout the store, she saw this man with a mustache discreetly grab the missing pair of shoes and slip them inside his jacket.
Carol Contacts the Police
With this new evidence, Carol contacted the police. They created a clip and still images of the man with the mustache. They told Carol they would check to see if they had any record of this man in their database. And they would distribute his face to the media to see if anyone recognized him.
Carol is Thrilled
Carol was thrilled that the police were finally helping her solve this mystery. She strongly suspected the man with the mustache was Hank, and with his image out there for the world to see, she believed someone would recognize him. His image was scheduled to be released in a report on the local news the next day.
Carol Anxiously Watches the News Report
The next day, Carol anxiously watched the local news report. The anchors discussed how merchandise had gone missing from Carol’s store. Then they showed the still image and video clips of the man with a mustache. Carol was thrilled and believed it was only a matter of time before Hank was caught.
A Surprising Development
When Carol came into work the next day, she was surprised to find Julie waiting in her office. Julie then said something surprising. She said that she had received another offer from a store a few states away. She said she had accepted the offer and would be leaving in two weeks. Carol was surprised at Julie’s sudden resignation.
Carol Waits for Hank’s Capture
Despite Julie’s absence, Carol was still fixated on catching Hank. It had been a few days since the news report and so far, she had not heard of anyone recognizing Hank. But then, it happened. Julie got a call from the police saying someone had identified Hank and knew where he lived.
Carol Meets with the Witness
Carol went to the police station to meet with the witness and the police. The witness said she lived in an apartment near a man named Hank Smith. She said Hank was a strange and secretive fellow. But she often saw him coming and going at odd hours. And most strangely of all, he would often dress very differently.
The Witness Reveals What She Knows
The witness said she had long suspected her neighbor Hank was up to something but could never prove it. Then, she saw the report on the local news. While Hank Smith didn’t have a mustache, she recognized a jacket he wore as the same one Hank Smith owned. She believed her neighbor Hank was the store shoplifter.
The Police Arrest Hank
After ensuring the witness’ account of Hank Smith matched everything they knew about the shoplifter who had been plaguing Carol’s store, the police decided to arrest Hank. They arrived at his apartment early the next morning and woke him up. Carol followed along to see what would happen.
Hank is Arrested
As Carol watched from the hallway, the police put handcuffs on Hank Smith. Then they searched his apartment. They not only found stolen merchandise from the store but also wigs and disguises Hank had used over the years. He had created all sorts of special jackets and pants that allowed him to easily hide stolen items.
A Shocking Revelation
As Hank was brought into custody, he began giving the police some information about how he went about stealing from Carol’s store. Then he said something truly shocking. He said he had an accomplice who worked with him. The police asked who this accomplice was. Hank shocked them all when he said it was Julie.
Carol Can’t Believe It
Carol couldn’t believe it. Her assistant Julie had been helping Hank steal from the store all along. But the more Carol thought about it, the more it made sense. Julie had told Hank about the tracking device. That’s why Hank had gotten rid of the watch before he was caught.
Carol and the Police Set Up One Final Plan
Carol and the police then devised one final plan: they would capture Julie. She was due to come into work the next day as she finished her final week before leaving the company. Carol knew now why Julie had quit so abruptly after Hank’s image was released to the public. Julie knew it was only a matter of time before she was found out.
Carol Calls Julie Into Her Office
The next day, Julie called out sick from work. Carol and the police suspected Julie might know she was caught. But they had made sure Hank didn’t contact her following his arrest. So they tried to see if they could lure Julie to the store one last time so they could apprehend her.
Carol Lies to Julie
Carol called up Julie and asked how she was feeling. Carol could tell Julie was pretending to be sick. Then Carol lied and said that they had recovered some of the stolen merchandise. Because the merchandise couldn’t be resold, they were giving some of it away to employees. Carol said as a parting gift, Julie could have one of the recovered watches.
Carol’s Plan Works
Carol’s plan worked. Julied thanked Carol for the gift and said she would come in the next day to get it. The next day, Julie entered the store. Within seconds, the police grabbed her and put her under arrest. Julie was hauled off to the police station. Carol couldn’t believe it but she had finally stopped the shoplifting operation.
Julie and Hank Are Sentenced
After a thorough police investigation, both Hank and Julie were sentenced to prison for their roles in the shoplifting operation. Hank, who had long been stealing from stores across the country, had finally been found out and put behind bars. And it was all because of Carol.
Carol is Promoted
When the top brass at Carol’s company heard about what she’d done, they promoted her. Now Carol would oversee all security operations at all store locations. Carol realized this was the perfect job for her. She had been obsessed with apprehending Hank and now would be sure that no shoplifters would steal from any of her stores again.
The events of this story are entirely fictional and are products of the author’s imagination. Images included are meant for illustration purposes only. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.