Shop Theft

Reporter Mark Gibson

Dannielle Warrilow is a respectable, well-dressed woman.. who steals for a living."I love my job, its a great job. -You get paid to steal? -I do, I get paid to steal."And she's doing nothing illegal. Dannielle steals from shops, then hands it all back.. teaching retailers how to prevent theft in the first place.

"In order to catch a thief you've got to think like a thief and thats what I do I think like a thief so then I'm able to come into your stores and show you where in your store improvements can be made."

In this case, Dannielle went on a shop-lifting spree in a Perth surf shop.. watch here as she takes a pair of board shorts, rolls them up with the hanger still on, pops them in a plastic bag and moves on to her next target. "There is nothing worse in a store than a hanger sitting there swinging on a fixture, or a hanger shoved up left in the fitting room so a good thief will always take the hangers."Next, it's a t-shirt, discreetly slipped into a handbag.. then it's off to pinch a belt.. Dannielle simply rolls it up and slips it into her jacket. All this happened in just a few minutes.. and no-one noticed a thing. "I'm looking for staff who are behind the counter, not on the floor and if that opportunity is there great for me, I walk in, select the items off the shelf and into the bag I like to consider that Ive got about 2 or 3 minutes in the store after that the staff know that Im there and I start getting approached."

Her most brazen effort in this store was a pair of shoes, still in the box. It's amazing how easily she carries the box through the shop and straight out the front door. No-one stops her. "So what sort of reaction do you get when you go back to stores and say look at all the stuff I stole? -Shock and horrror usually, the stores cant believe that thats happened."

Dannielle returns to the surf shop with a suitcase full of stolen goods. The staff can't believe it when she reveals the box of shoes. And you might remember among the stolen shorts, those boardies with the hanger still on. "There's about a thousand dollars there. Does anyone here earn a thousand dollars in 15 minutes? No? Well thieves do."

Dannielle's critics say she teaches people how to break the law."I'm not teaching anyone anything, we all know how to steal, we walk in, we pick it up, we put it in a bag, we walk out the door and that's basically what I'm doing, but what we dont understand is where are the weaknesses in the store, the staff need to know how are the fitting rooms exploited, where are the quiet, blind little corners?"

Check out these real thieves in action.. police want to track down this bloke, who stole five thousand dollars worth of cigarettes from the Gull service station in Alexander Heights.

Four young men decided to pinch a bottle of tequila from the Captain Stirling botle shop in Nedlands.

And the most brazen of them all.. watch as this woman steals a laptop computer from the Kingsway City pharmacy. Her accomplice politely picks up the chair.. she walks out with the laptop.

If you know any of these people, police would love to hear from you. "Stealing affects us all. It costs Australian retailers $5 billion every year, but they've got to get that money back somehow so who do you think pays for it in the end? Thats right, you do."

Vicky Prastidis owns the Waves surf stores."It's just so basic, its just you know they're there, help them. Notice that they're there, give them the best possible customer service that you can." Dannielle agrees.. good customer service reduces theft. "Theft is private, it's a very private crime, not only does the thief not want you to know that they're there, they also dont want you to know what they're looking at or what they've got and as soon as you've said oh thats Roxy they've got some great back pockets I'm thinking oh well I cant take that can I?

Dannielle says "Who steals? -Anybody and everybody, I guess the figures out there are that 10% of people will always steal, but 80% will if given the opportunity." In these tough financial times, shop-lifting has gone through the roof. Women aged in their thirties are the main offenders. But after tips from the professional pilferer, don't even think about pinching something from this place.

Dannielle Have you ever been tempted to use your powers for evil, not good? -I like to consider myself to be a professional thief in my career life but I certainly wouldnt want to take the fun out of my shopping."

Dannielle Warrilow. Her business is called Loss Prevention Solutions.

The phone number is 9525 3555.