Thief In The Shop

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One of my coworkers was robbed in our shop. I was sketching in the front room and another artist was with me. The guy who got robbed was downstairs doing a tattoo. One of our rooms close to the front door had his toolbox with a lot of his equipment in it. 6 people came in and asked us to draw something up. The other artist started drawing and they sat around in the waiting room. One of the dudes was trying to tell us which needle groupings to use "use a single needle to outline that heart." Well apparently after 20 minutes they decided that they didn't have time and left. All six of them piled into a rusty geo metro.

About an hour went by when we noticed that something wasn't right. They stole 15 bottles of ink!

They scheduled an appointment for the following day. I doubt they will show up, but if they do ill let you know what happens!

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What's described in the OP's post is a distraction theft really.

It's cold comfort now but staff tend to be quicker to see things coming the second time around and less likely to let a situation develop where an opportunistic or planned theft can take place. Sometimes clearly being alert is enough (guess it's hard to do if you're alone and making a tattoo at the time).

If force or a threat of force was used you're into robbery territory and that's a different kettle of fish.

In either scenario my take is that physical security measures are your first line of defence if you're a cash business open to the public.

In terms of distraction thefts they tend to occur when the public has access to places like shop floors with goods out. In a tattoo shop it's not clear to me how the ink was lifted in the OP's post, wouldn't have thought they be ordinarily accessible in most shops I've been in. The counter separating the work space and public area is a good idea that should work as a deterrent.

Were some or all of the 6 people allowed 'in back' where the tattooing was going on?

Other stuff worth considering:-

Whether it's theft or robbery visible CCTV can be a deterrent also.

There's a trade off between accessibility and security but there's a case to be made for making access to the shop by buzzer entry after a certain time of day maybe.

If there were a till it shouldn't be visible to the public and doesn't need to be at the counter - unlike in, say, a takeaway outlet where that's your point of service as well as point of contact with the public.

Out of hours if things are going to be left in the shop then if it were me I would want composite or steel doors, anti bump, anti snap locks, shutters etc. And a monitored alarm with an autodialler set for a few people's phones.

Make friends with your local cops :) Chances are if there was CCTV they could ID the people in the OP's post.

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1. Most thieves are pretty dumb. Particularly ones that work in groups to steal a couple hundred dollars worth of ink and drive off in Geo Metros.

2. They made an appointment? Probably used their real names and phone numbers (see #1)

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Yeah for some weird reason we don't have a camera. They didn't show.

I think we've never been messed with before because it's well known that we a couple of our artists are gun fanatics.

@RoryQ is right though, everyone will be much more vigilant now.

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It sucks when things like this happen. A guy tried and failed to break into our house a few weeks ago.

Still caused €800 of damage making a mess of the profile of a door.

Thieves and criminals...

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Most shops have a public area (waiting room) and a client area. If you're not in the chair, you don't belong in the client area, unless the artist says okay. One shop I know, you have to be buzzed into the client area.

I've heard of artists being beaten up (goons sent from a competing shop), and an attempted armed robbery. I won't mention the shop, but the artist raked the tattoo gun across the bad guy's face and he ran. I have given thought to the amount of $$ I may have in my pocket when I sit in the chair. Late in the evening, the artists may have some serious cash on them.

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