retail crime topic
Retailers should be aware that offenders are coming equipped to steal with bag checks increasingly finding portable de-taggers, knives, and even bolt cutters. 


Retailers have reported to the National Retail Association during recent engagements the following findings:


  • One retailer reported approaching an individual in the change room after smelling burnt plastic. The retailer assumed the individual was trying to melt the plastic security tag off with a lighter and noticed that his hand was bleeding, likely from attempting to manually remove the tag. The individual denied everything when confronted.
  • One apparel store reported thieves shamelessly cutting around the security tag, undoubtedly leaving large holes in their stolen items.
  • A retail manager reported being distracted in the changing room by a team of perpetrators whilst another used bolt cutters to remove security brackets on a $500 skateboard.


Common types of de-taggers seen


These are one of the main tools used to remove hard tags –they are small, easy to hide and are extremely cheap.



Small devices that use strong magnetic energy to disengage the internal locks and remove security pins.


Electromagnetic Shielding

Electromagnetic shielding has seen a recent resurgence having been witnessed in multiple stores.

Shoplifters line their purse, backpack or even jacket pockets with a material, often aluminium foil, that blocks the magnetic signals that security tags send to the sensor gates, preventing the alarm from activating. These are also called “booster bags.”


What retailers can do

  1. Always prioritise exceptional customer service to deter potential shoplifters.
  2. Pay particular attention to those who are withdrawn, lingering in quieter parts of the store or watching staff.
  3. Remind staff of your bag check policies and keep an eye out for the different types of de-taggers.


Retailer resources available