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Stealing not worth the risk

Military service members spend years building careers on values such as trust, competency and responsibility, all which can come crashing down with one shoplifting incident. The MacDill Exchange has several avenues to prevent shoplifting and supports legislation to recover stolen merchandise.

Army Air Force Exchange Service Loss Prevention associates focus on deterring shoplifting by identifying area that tend to have high pilferage rates. These areas include electronics, sporting good and cosmetics. Most AAFES exchanges have some type of surveillance, whether it is cameras, detectives or both to monitor these areas and try to prevent shoplifting before it occurs.

If a customer has passed the opportunity to pay for merchandise, loss prevention associates turn the issue over to military police. In addition to action pursued by military police, the Federal Claims Collection Act allows AAFES to enact a Civil Recovery Program, which began March 1, 2002. The flat, administrative cost, applicable to every shoplifting incidence, is $200 and there may be further fees depending on the condition of the recovered stolen merchandise.

"The costs involved in shoplifting affects more than just the shoplifter," said Exchange general manager Myra Florence. "AAFES has a mission to return dividends to Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, so it ultimately affects everyone."

Shoplifting in military exchanges cost service member millions of dollars annually. In fact, the MacDill Exchange detained 48 shoplifters in 2004 alone. Thus far in 2005 the Exchange has detained 36 shoplifters.

Civil Recovery allows AAFES to recoup some of the cost associated with shoplifting: however, the damage to a career can be irreparable. (Courtesy of AAFES)

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