Here is the classic Stealing Super Target by Xap. Note that some of the things mentioned are out of date and have changed.
I have 2 more files by Dr. Santa on the same subject as well as the 2006 Target AP Directives (Target Security policies)
***Stealing SuperTarget: How to Hit the Bullseye***
First Created Industriously on: 11/28/2004
Between the Hours of: Midnight and 8 AM
Boring but Necessary Disclaimer:
The following document is purely for informational and entertainment purposes, and the sole responsibility for any illegal actions lies with the reader. The author is in no way responsible for the mistakes the amateurs will make while potentially
attempting to perform things described herein. Read at your own risk.
Oh - and if you do get caught, tell 'em Xap (pronounced "zap") sent ya.
They won't know me, but they'll probably think the name is clever.
So, you've decided to join the Five-Finger discount club offered by so many
fine retailers today. The most popular store chain around where I live
seems to be Target and SuperTarget. I mean, great prices and none of the
evil and filth you find at Wal-Mart, right? And look at all the incredibly
expensive goods your sticky little fingers just can't wait to shove in your
pockets. . .but wait. . .what's going to happen if someone who works for the
store catches you stealing? How can you get away with it?
To allay the fears of many readers that this is going to be just another
stupid file written by an acnefied teen h4ck3r. . .(sorry, "cracker", I
don't believe the media stereotypes either) everything written here is
absolutely true Target procedure, written by someone who spent a long time
working in the heart of their security department. It is all up to date as
of today, but who knows what the future holds, right? The best I can tell
you is, if you don't believe me, go apply for a job there yourself and find
out. They hire 18 and above for the security dept. And good news - Target
policy actually has more rules *preventing* their security from being able
to stop you than the other way around. The odds are highly stacked in favor
of thieves who are well-informed, as you are about to be. Gods bless
wrongful-arrest lawsuits and the fear they have inspired in Corporate
America. Reap, my friends! Reap!
So why give them up when I used to be their loyal watchdog? Eh. They
never knew the reason I was so good at catching thieves was because I used
to be one myself. Talk about reverting to type now, huh? I actually
started writing this as a book to try to publish with an alternative
company, but didn't want to deprive the young and bold but short of pocket
money from this valued information. In the spirit of sharing knowledge for
the sake of everyone's betterment, I'm offering this up for free, and just
hope no one will alter it in any way or try to claim it as their own. So,
fly free, my beautiful tutorial! Enlighten the masses!
Anyways, enough intro, on to the meat. I'll take you through all of
Target's procedures, physical security, everything, and the ways you can go
about circumventing and defeating all of them to the best of your ability.
By the way - I'll use the terms Target and SuperTarget interchangeably.
The only difference between the two is that SuperTargets are newer, tend to
have better equipment, and have a grocery section.
********** The People **********
The first line of defense in any Target is its Asset Protection Department,
or "AP" for short. You may have heard someone in the store calling "AP"
over the radios all employees carry. This is the security department,
usually called loss prevention at other stores. Every AP dept. has a few
levels of employees. The bottom rung is the Target Protection Specialist,
or TPS. These are the men and women in tan shirts and black pants, carrying
handcuffs and radios on their belts. They patrol the stores, and by policy
are supposed to spend most of their time at the front register lanes unless
something else requires their attention. The main portion of their job is
watching people checking out to see if any items have been left in the cart
"by accident", and politely reminding them to pay for it. TPS's get quota'd
on these items, so it's important they catch as many as possible. They
watch the doors for suspicious looking people coming in, and assist with any
emergencies, apprehensions, or anything else that may come up. But, due to
their lack of rank, *TPS's cannot arrest anyone on their own*!
I repeat, a TPS cannot stop you from leaving the store with stolen goods. They can
scare the crap out of you, and check your receipts, and if they're feeling
bold they can even request the stolen merchandise back. (That's against
Target policy, though. No one is *ever* supposed to be accused of stealing.
It hurts customers' feelings.)
Next up the ladder are the Asset Protection Specialists, or APS's. These
are the undercovers of the store, and believe me when I say that these folks
are on the ball. Anyone not dedicated to their job won't last very long in
this line of work. They patrol the store in plain clothes, carrying a
hidden walkie-talkie (usually in a purse for the ladies, or in a pocket or
clipped to the back of the pants for guys, with the shirt covering it).
They might sit in the office and watch cameras instead, but they're
encouraged to stay on the floor. A good way to Spot-the-APS is to look for
someone dashing around to endcaps, ducking down and then moving quickly away
to act nonchalant. Or just look to see if the rectangle-shape of the radio
is poking through the back of their shirt where it's hidden. (P.S. - An
endcap is just the Target term for the end of an aisle. All of Target's
endcaps are perforated, partly for hanging hooks, but mostly so AP can hide
and look through the holes to watch you steal. It's very hard to see
someone hiding behind the endcaps, so be careful and listen closely for
shifting and breathing.) APS's can arrest people all on their own, with or
without backup, although if they're worried you might fight they will have a
TPS, another APS, or enthusiastic regular employees ready to jump on you,
too. Remember, an APS doesn't have to win the fight with you. They just
have to slow you down long enough for everyone else to catch up. However,
if you physically resist they are legally allowed to drop you, using minimal
violence of course, and cuff you.
The manager of the AP dept is called an Asset Protection Team Leader, or
APTL. They usually spend more time researching employee theft than
patrolling the floor, looking over cash register reports and so on. Many
APTL's will not spend a lot of time in their personal store, traveling
around to assist at other stores and leaving the APS's in charge. They
essentially have the same powers as an APS, they're just way more
experienced at it. Above them are the District and Regional APTL's, so on
up the chain. These bigwigs usually never go to a store unless there's some
major booster making the rounds and they're trying to set a trap for them.
They're kind of like Target's personal shoplifter SWAT team, but without the
guns or cool outfits.
Something to keep in mind: every other employee in the store really wants
to be in AP. AP is the coolest job in the store to have, and its members
are constantly getting asked by regular employees if they can apply. What
this means for you is that every other employee in the store is eager to
prove that they can catch thieves too, so don't relax just because they're
wearing red and khaki. Regular employees will go out of their way to alert
AP to your presence and follow you around. However, if the red-shirts try
to stop you leaving the store, breeze on by. They have no legal powers, and
cannot arrest you.
********** The Electronics **********
Okay, on to the electronic security. You've no doubt noticed the hundreds
of black plastic camera domes mounted in the ceiling of your local Target.
Well, just as you suspected, quite a few of these are fake. But several
dozen of them are not. Every Target store has a "camera placement plan"
they follow, which may vary slightly from store to store, but generally
follows similar guidelines. Most real cameras will be placed over
high-theft item areas, such as Electronic Goods, the Pharmacy, Automotive,
and so on. There is literally a camera mounted over every single register
in the store, pointing down to watch transactions. There are *no* cameras
in the Grocery section of SuperTargets (but there are fake domes). The
closer you are to the outer wall of the Grocery, the farther you are from
any real cameras. Along the back wall of most stores is the Domestics and
Furniture sections. . .these usually have no real cameras, either, although
fake domes are spaced every other aisle. And, of course, it is illegal for
Target to place cameras in the bathroom, or near enough to the open-ceiling
dressing rooms to see in.
Like I said, it may vary between stores, but here are typically where all
the movable, zoomable, real cameras are:
- Over the Electronics checkout
- One at each end of the front lane registers
- Near the Automotive section (back corner of the store)
- If the store has two sets of doors (SuperTargets), there will be one
above each of the front corners of the building, for scanning the parking
- One at the back of the building, near the rear loading docks
- Usually in the middle of the Clothing sections, but far enough away from
the dressing rooms
- Possibly right over the Pharmacy section, or nearby
- Right near the Guest Service desk, usually able to see the Portrait
Studio too in SuperTargets
- Above the wall-rack that divides the Men's and Women's Clothing sections
Also, the fixed, non-movable (and often black and white) cameras are
- Near razors and razor blades
- Near any medicines commonly stolen by junkies
- Pointing at an angle at the incoming and outgoing doors, to catch face
shots of thieves as they enter or exit. After my term of employment, they
seem to have installed a small dome right at the exit doors themselves, at
about head height. I do not know if this is real or not, but probably is,
as face shots were a major concern, and the higher cameras would usually
only give fuzzy pictures at best.
- Over various aisles near the Electronics section, with computers, games,
- Over auto radar detectors
- Over GPS units in the camping section
- *Definitely* over every single register, even in the Deli, Bakery,
Starbucks and Pharmacy
- Over the jewelry counter
A lot of the real ones have been in use for a long time, and have larger
plastic domes. The newer fake ones are smaller, but the older, bigger ones
don't get taken out and replaced to match because who wants the hassle,
right? Don't go strictly by this, because you never know. But it's a good
All the cameras are routed back to the AP Office, which is always somewhere
near the front of the store. At Targets, it's generally right next to the
Guest Service desk, behind an "Employees Only" door with a peephole in it.
At SuperTargets, it will be through some swinging doors at the front, and
then probably right there in a hallway, same kind of door with the peephole.
The doors are almost always locked, even when people are inside. Inside,
there will be a room set up with several monitors, usually about 6 to 10,
which are all connected through multiplexers to VCRs. On one wall will be
shelves and shelves full of tapes, usually labeled something like, "1A, 1B,
1C, 1D, 2A, 2B. . ." and so on. The number is usually the date of whichever
month you're in. The tapes get reused every month, so on the first the "1"
set is used again, and so on. This means unless they saved footage of you,
if you didn't attract any camera attention before, next month that tape will
have been recorded over. The A, B, C, D means the shift the tape was used
for, morning, afternoon, evening and overnight. And a tape log on a
clipboard is kept in the office to tell which tapes were used when, and what
time they started and finished.
So anyways, an AP can sit at the monitors and control the cameras using an
old-style joystick switch, or a more modern sort of trackball. They can
punch up any camera in the store on any monitor, although usually only about
nine or ten will be able to move. The rest are fixed, and are most likely
being recorded on a three-second skip. This means only every third second
gets recorded (to save tape space), which aids thieves since it makes it
hard to review and see quick motions. Sometimes thieves appear on an aisle,
and a moment later seem to just vanish without doing anything. Of course,
watching the cameras in real-time doesn't have the three-second skip. But
if they have to go back and watch the tape again to see if you really did do
what they thought you did, they have to worry about missing it if you moved
The cameras they *can* move are top notch. They can often zoom in so close
that they can read information right off your driver's license all the way
from the ceiling. (If it's held still.) One of the big things AP has to
get is face shots. They depend on being able to say, Yep, that's the guy.
I've got his face on camera right here. So APs become very good at tracking
moving people and objects, and at switching quickly to other cameras for a
better view. If you spend too much time wandering in a spot where there are
no good cameras, or no cameras at all, they'll have to deploy from the
office and watch you on foot. This can be good for you, as it heightens the
chances that they'll miss something important. However, an APS can come out
and follow you while a TPS watches you on camera. If the TPS sees you do
something, and the APS doesn't, APSs are *not* supposed to accept this as
proof, but many often do. Of course, it's the APSs legal fault if the TPS
One of the biggest ways to get caught easily is to *look directly at the
cameras*. I know this sounds stupid, and like common sense, but you would
not believe how many nervous amateurs will glance repeatedly, or just boldly
stare at the dome right above them, giving AP a perfect chance for a face
shot and clear view of whatever they're stealing. Keep your eyes down, boy.
Just assume the camera is real, and that you should be hiding your hand
movements anyways. (Except in Grocery, heh.) If you want to scope out a
camera, do it from a long way off, and do not tilt your head or eyes up.
Use your peripherals. And trust me - you *cannot* see through the domes to
tell if it's pointed at you. They're double-layered to prevent this. And
an upturned face is *very* easy to see in a camera, even on one of the
smaller monitors, and will instantly attract attention.
Recently Target began outfitting all its stores with a system called
"Loronix", which operates on digital recording in a computer instead of
tapes. It's a big time-saver for AP, because they can just punch in a time,
date and camera, and the footage will come up instantly, instead of having
to hunt and peck through hundreds of tapes. Most of the cameras hooked up
to it are fixed cameras, though, and still on the three-second skip. All of
the register cameras will be on Loronix. They can also save the little
movie files to disk, and give these disks to the police as evidence,
playable on any computer.
Also, Target camera monitors can be quickly punched up to display whatever
current transaction is occurring at a certain register, *as the employee is
ringing up the items*, to see if you're price-tag-switching or
short-changing the cashier. Be wary.
We'll touch back on cameras with the procedures. . .for now, on to the EAS
Every Target store has a set of EAS stands at the front doors, and all
valuable merchandise (according to weekly store plans) is tagged with EAS
stickers. These are square, white stickers with bar codes printed across
them, which you've probably seen before. (The bar code is to help guests
believe it's just for price scanning, not that Target doesn't trust them.)
Just pick up a popular CD or DVD at Target, and one will probably be stuck
to the back. They're tiny antennas of a sort (and forgive me if I don't
know the electronics here - please, no techno-geniuses flaming me for
mis-assuming how these work) that will trigger the EAS stand by radio
frequencies. The stands constantly generate them, and the sticker passing
through will interrupt them, setting off the alarm. (Coincidentally, the
numbers printed on the sticker barcode are the actual frequency they're
working on.) When items are "deactivated" at checkout, they pass the
sticker over a CheckPoint pad that shuts them off. There is one of these
pads below the counter of almost every register, so if you can manage to
palm an item across it without employees noticing, you can deactivate the
Supposedly, according to the online company tech specs, the
Checkpoints are supposed to work up to around a foot or so above the actual
pad. Sometimes crooked AP will swipe whole rolls of these stickers across
the deactivator pad, rendering them useless before they're placed on
products. A lot of other things set off the stands too - cell phones,
electronic keycards, anything that might interfere with the frequency. You
might even consider stealing a sticker and hiding it inside your wallet,
cell phone, etc. just so if there's a TPS at the front checking receipts,
you can wave your wallet or phone through and show that it's the culprit,
not the DVD in your pants with the sticker removed. TPS's can not
thoroughly search you, and if you set off the alarm and just keep on
walking, unless an APS was about to arrest you anyways, a TPS can shout all
they want but not stop you.
These stickers can be peeled off pretty easily, and you can recognize them
also by the pink underside with the square-loop-whirl of metal that makes
the antenna. Of course, AP watches for people picking at packages and
stickers, so hide your motion as much as you can, or just get rid of the
package entirely during a moment you're out of camera view. And be careful
- sometimes AP hides the stickers loose *inside* boxes, or they come
pre-packaged that way, so you don't even know one's in there. The new rolls
of stickers are kept locked up in the AP office until about once a week,
when someone will go sticker all the new items on the shelves.
Supposedly thieves have tried shielding the insides of backpacks with
aluminum foil to prevent the tags from setting off the stands, but I can't
tell you if this works for real or not. You might experiment by stealing
just a sticker, taking it home, wrapping it in aluminum foil and hiding it
inside your shoe or underwear or somewhere else not obvious, then going back
to see if it sets off the alarm. If not, cool, break out that Reynold's
Wrap and load up, man.
Of lesser note in AP electronics is the AP computer, which keeps e-mail
contact on a private intranet between all the stores, and houses files on
every attempted and successful criminal act caught in the store. If any AP
members witness suspicious activity, they will record their findings after
the fact in the computer, and submit this info by e-mail to all the other
local stores, warning them of potential thieves. (They also call a few
local stores by phone if they scare off a thief and think they may be
heading to another one nearby.) In these files go as much physical
description as possible (age, weight, race, clothing), what the thief did,
the make/model and license plate of a car if obtained, and whether or not
they have good camera footage and face shots.
If you're really desperate and need to steal whatever it is that day, drive
about an hour away and find another one. Typically they only call stores within
a few miles, or within the same general city. The farther you go, the less
chance they've been warned. They also may store digital camera mug shots of arrested thieves in
the computer (some less advanced stores still have Polaroids). Despite what
a dumb cop may bold-face-lie to you, Target does *not* have facial
recognition software in their cameras. Your picture is just for future
reference, and the cameras will not track you by recognizing your picture.
I actually had a cop tell a guy this once, and I was so disgusted I almost
told the thief the truth instead. I mean, really. The APTL also uses the
computer to track employee theft patterns and register shortages.
Also, to touch briefly on communications - APs keep in touch with each
other by radio, and occasionally phone. AP office numbers are almost always
a 209, or 3209 extension inside the building. Every store employee has a
walkie talkie with two channels on it. Channel One is for general calls and
quick conversations, and Channel Two is for more private talk when employees
need to explain something in detail and don't want to block out One for
everyone else. Only on AP walkie talkies is a third channel, private for AP
use. Frequently if an employee spots a potential crime in progress, you may
hear the radios crackle, "AP, go to two please, AP, go to two". Once on
Channel Two, the employee may relate what they are seeing to the responding
AP member. In theory, they try to be private, but other dumb employees will
also switch to Two, wanting to listen to the action. This helps thieves who
might overhear the eavesdropping employee, and realize they're the ones
being talked about.
If a TPS sees something happening and wants to contact their APS, they will
call "AP, go to three, please, AP, go to three", or the name of the person,
i.e. "Bob, go to three please". If you ever hear the call to go to three,
think twice about what you're doing, because you may have been spotted. If
the APS is out on the floor and following someone, they leave their radio on
Three, so no normal store announcements will come out of it. If a TPS wants
to reach them then, they will go to Three on their own radio, blow gently
for a moment, and wait for the APS to respond. On the APS end, it produces
a soft static crackle, and if they can, the APS will get alone and call
back. Frequently they can't because it would alert someone they're already
following. A lot of times the TPS blows too hard, so if you're on an aisle
and think you're alone, and you suddenly hear a crackling/blowing noise
coming from an endcap, drop what you're doing and leave. You're probably
Some stores try to be clever and use other code names for AP, like
"Hardware 4" or Mr. Something-or-other, to keep from alerting thieves that
All Target stores also have emergency codes that go over the radio and
store speaker system. These are Red, Green and Yellow. Red is for fires,
Green is for medical emergencies, and Yellow is for parents who've lost
their children. Codes Red and Green will be announced three times in
succession, with a location of where employees should respond to. Yellow
causes all employees to stop, man every door in the store, and watch for
potential kidnappers, while the other employees quickly search the store for
the lost child. (A child found without a parent is not a Code Yellow, the
store will just page the parents' name over the announcer.) These codes are
useful for opportunity thieves, because unless a violent crime is about to
happen, AP is required to respond to safety issues before theft ones. A lot
of thieves will have a friend cause a fake "accident" on one side of the
store to draw AP away from the side they're about to steal on. Of course,
there may be enough AP members in-store to go around that day, so don't
count on them all being away if they already know you're trying to steal.
It's best if they have no idea you were about to do anything. Hang out in a
totally different area, someplace harmless, like Office supplies. It's
right next to Electronics, usually, so if you suddenly hear "Code Green,
Grocery" over the intercom, you can instantly grab your stuff from
Electronics and head out the door. This works best at SuperTargets, as the
Electronics section is always right in front of the Blue Doors, while
Grocery is all the way down the other side at the Green doors.
(P.S. They're called the Blue and Green doors because that's what color
they're painted on *all* SuperTargets.)
And if you do decide to ever work with an accomplice - come in separate
cars. Don't walk into the store together and then split up. AP will start
watching you. And if you do the whole "accident" gag, please make sure it's
plausible. The store will try to get you to show personal information for
an accident report, in case you try to sue later and lie about how badly you
were hurt. You can refuse to stay for this. Also - don't make your
accident *so* bad that they immediately call an ambulance. You don't want
to have to pay a few hundred in hospital bills just because you're a method
actor, and your friend wanted a $20 DVD. The best course is probably to
fake a fainting spell, and let an employee "wake" you back up. Stay out
long enough to hear the Code Green being called, slowly wake up when the
crowd arrives, and assure everyone you're okay, just a little dizzy, could I
please have some water, but no, I don't think anything is seriously wrong.
No, no ambulances.
One more thing on communications - if you're trying something thieve-y at
the registers, and your cashier suddenly gets a call on their phone, they've
probably been warned you're up to something. AP does this all the time. If
you back out and go to another register and *they* get a call? Leave. Just
go. You're probably not going to make it out of the store with whatever
********** On With The Show ***********
Now down to brass tacks. What do you do when you want to steal from
Target? How do you get away with it?
It starts all the way out in the parking lot, when you first arrive. If
you can, come to the store on foot. Having a car really only gives them
another way to track you, by your license plate. Second to that, park in
another lot nearby and walk over, out of view of the Target. Lastly, park
as far back as you can in the Target lot, but not so far that there are
absolutely no other cars within 50 feet of you. The farther away you are,
though, the harder it is for them to get your plate when you're leaving in a
hurry. The cameras do zoom, but over distance the plate will fuzz out, and
it's hard to track a rapidly moving vehicle. Come in to the store at a
normal, casual walking pace, paying no attention to other people around you,
cameras, anything but being a normal shopper. Way too many thieves come in
fast, hoping to escape notice and be out before anyone knows they were
there, but more often this attracts attention instead.
When you first walk in the store, pay no attention to any tan-uniformed
people you see. The TPSs should not frighten innocent people, and will not
pay attention to you if you don't seem to notice them. Do *not* try to be
clever and glance out of the corner of your eye at them. This is more
suspicious then just giving them a polite smile and walking past.
AP personnel are programmed to watch for behaviors, not stereotypes.
(Seriously - despite what thieves may think, they *don't care* that you're
black, or young, or have three pounds of metal in your face. They saw you
glancing at cameras and opening that package, you dope. *That's* why they
arrested you.) Of course, if you're dressed all raggedy and are obviously
in need of a fix, they're probably going to watch you anyways. It helps to
be neatly dressed, obviously well-behaved (Goofus all you want at home, but
be Gallant in the store), and to be with another person. Single males who
walk in quickly, take a handbasket and go straight to a section or float
around a general area without actually *shopping* are instantly watched.
Having a shopping cart means you're planning to spend more time in the
store. Having a cart and your girlfriend with you means you're probably not
thinking about stealing.
If you really want to mess them up? Spend a half hour, or a whole hour,
slowly going up and down the aisles in Grocery and doing a full cart of
shopping. They'll give up, if they suspected you at all. Go and get that
CD you wanted as an afterthought, pull up to a front lane full of people,
pick up the CD, abandon your cart, and walk right out the front doors. (Try
to go to a door without a TPS guarding it, of course.) It takes time, but
they'll never see it coming. And it's not like *you* have to reshelve all
Do *not* load up your cart full of expensive stuff no one in their right
mind would buy all at once. Even non-AP employees will know to call you in
if they see a cart like that. Too many thieves will stack DVD players in a
cart, and then cruise up and down the front aisles, trying to see which door
is unguarded. This only gives AP more time to spot you, and a TPS *can*
stop you at the door if they clearly saw you walk right past the registers
without paying for a cart full of stuff. If you don't have a receipt, they
can hold you there until you either abandon the cart and leave, or go back
to pay. Don't try the "oh, me, I can't find this darn receipt in my big ol'
purse" thing. If you leave the cart and walk quickly out, the TPS will not
stop you. They do not care, they have the merchandise. You get away to
steal another day. Also, for a TPS, a big cart full of expensive stuff that
they prevented from being stolen is a *big* bonus in their quotas. They
don't get extra pay, but it's major kudos for stopping a high theft amount.
They will still put a report in the computer, and probably try to find tape
of you and record your car as you drive away, but they will never stop you
from leaving empty-handed.
Okay, so you've found a smaller item that you want, say a DVD. Browse
around first. Do not walk straight in, grab the one you want, and head for
the back of the store. Look through several, even read the back of the one
you want, put it back, look at another, check how much money you have in
your wallet, then slowly appear to decide on your target. This goes for
most other items, too. If you can, have a basket full of other items, too,
that you appeared to really shop for. Don't just toss random stuff in your
cart as props. Honestly shop, like you normally would. Wait until you're
shopping through an empty part of the store, and either remove the sticker
or open the package as quickly and quietly as you can. If you know there's
a camera dome nearby, keep your body hunched over the item, your back to the
dome, and move your arms as little as possible. It's all in the hands now.
A long range camera might still see you from far away, so keep your body as
close to the shelf as possible, too. Some thieves will reach back in
between other boxes on a shelf and open the wrapper back there, so no
cameras can see what they're doing (although they will probably still see
that DVD coming back out and going in your pocket). If someone suddenly
comes on to the aisle, don't freeze, don't look, just let go and walk away.
Continue shopping if you like, but remember, they will *never*, ever arrest
you for attempted theft. You have to actually leave the store with items on
you to be arrested. It's a universal law of shoplifting.
A good place to go for opening packages might be the middle of the clothing
section. . .the racks are just below head height, so anyone sneaking up on
you will make themselves very conspicuous if they have to start ducking and
crouching. If you hold the item in between two shirts hanging on a display,
it will make it almost impossible for the cameras to see what you're doing
(and be wary, they also do sometimes put moving cameras in the Clothing
Say you do everything right, no one shows up. . .put the item somewhere it
won't leave a visible bulge under your clothes. Light jackets with interior
pockets sewn in them are great for this. Even if your jacket doesn't have
one, just get a piece of matching-color cloth in a big square, and sew three
sides of it to the inside of your jacket liner, under your arm, to make a
shoplifting pocket. If your jacket has a lining, you could even just make a
wide horizontal slit and drop things into it. This is great when you have
something in hand, because you can lean over with the other hand and pretend
to be getting something off a low shelf, which causes that side of your
jacket to hang down, and your stealing hand slips the item smoothly into
your jacket, while you still appear to only be browsing. This is better
done with leather jackets and things that won't show an outline of the item
easily. I used to shoplift right in front of cameras in my younger days by
taking stuff to a magazine section, turning my back to the camera and
leaning sideways against the shelf. My outer hand would be holding up a
magazine to read while my shelf-side hand would be opening the package. My
body, to the camera, did not appear to be moving at all, because I only
moved my hand and not my arm. I would then smoothly slip the item into a
secret pocket in my jacket, and continue reading, folding the package very
small and hiding it behind the other magazines on the upper racks when I
picked up a different one to "read". Of course, the magazine section in
Target has several cameras nearby, since it's right in Electronics, so you
may have to find somewhere else to lean.
What if it's warmer weather, and you can't wear a jacket? Target AP will
watch for non-seasonal clothing, i.e. people wearing too many layers in
blazing heat, or not wearing a jacket at all in the winter. A very common
(and surprisingly easy to get away with) theft is to walk in without a
jacket, take one of the $100+ leather ones, slip it on, and walk right back
out. Target will often put EAS stickers in their jackets, but it is almost
always midway up the inside of the sleeve, probably the left one. Feel
inside the sleeve for something square and hard, peel it out, wad it up,
throw it away, and you can walk out without any alarm. If you're trying to
steal in shorts and a t-shirt during the summer, it becomes trickier to hide
things under your clothes. For guys and girls, try to slip things down the
front of your underwear. I know it feels weird, and try not to walk funny,
but it's the only place anything more than a few inches across will probably
not show up. Don't just put it in your pants - it'll go straight down the
leg and fall out. You may even want to sew a special pocket inside there,
just for shoplifting. Some thieves will put on a pair of baggy exercise
pants underneath their real pants, and strap them off above the knee with
rubber bands or string to things can be dropped down the pants safely and
won't fall out. A boxer short version of this can be made for summer days.
Just put on your boxers, tie them off near the end around your thigh, and
put on your real shorts over them. And a note for you schoolkids: backpacks
and bags are not a good idea (even foil-lined ones for you experimenters).
Any kind of bag will stand out and you will be watched until you leave the
store. Ladies who carry purses are lucky. . .it's often very difficult for
AP to establish that a lady actually put something in her purse, especially
if her back was to the camera.
A sure-fire way to guarantee messing up AP's strategy at any time is to
duck into a bathroom or the dressing rooms in Clothing. Remember - you can
cross the registers to the bathrooms at the front with stuff inside your
clothing, because *it's not theft until you leave the store*. Literally.
If AP sees you heading that way, they may send a TPS to tell people the
restroom is closed, and force you back into the store. There is also a
restroom at the Pharmacy, though, and chances are they won't beat you there
first. If you do get in, though, head for a stall and stay there for a few
minutes. A TPS or APS may follow you in, pretend to use the restroom, or
probably just wash their hands (so they can immediately follow you back
out). The restroom is not a good idea if you have a package you want to
open, just if you've already got something hidden. Open it on the floor,
hide it, go to the bathroom. Too many times APs will break the rules, and
follow you in to the bathroom. Then they will pretend to leave by opening
the door and letting it shut, waiting silently. You, being previously
unaware, would then proceed to loudly open your package, thinking you're
alone, at which point the AP will sneak over to the stall, whip the door
open and tell you to give it up and get the hell out of their store. A good
hard yank will pop open a restroom stall, and they don't care if your pants
are down. This is true even if you're a little kid, because children will
almost always take toys and stuff to the bathrooms and think they're safe in
Of course, if they arrest you, you know now Target policy and can
claim that they made illegal surveillance of you while in a private area.
Under normal circumstances, if an AP is following all the rules, they will
wait until you come out, send in someone to check for the stolen items you
may have dumped or for empty packages in the toilets, paper holders, or
trash, and then try to establish if you still have the item hidden on you or
not. Many times this will instantly break their chain of surveillance and
they will have to let you go. Also, if you use the Pharmacy bathroom and
dump the wrapper in the trash, you will have a few moments to get to the
doors while a TPS or APS will have to verify that the wrapper is there, and
radio to the person making the apprehension. However, this still
constitutes breaking observation, and they will probably just try to scare
you by manning the front doors. Under very rare conditions they can call a
DAPTL and get permission to make a bathroom apprehension, but this is almost
never allowed. Another thing to consider - the bathrooms in SuperTargets
are always right next to an Employees only door, usually right in front of
their break room. Come back out, and if no one's nearby, you could duck
right in there and run for the Employee entrance door. Careful, though, as
sometimes AP will hide right behind that first door and watch through the
window to see when you come out of the bathroom.
The same goes for ducking into the changing rooms. Hide an item like a DVD
inside a folded up pair of pants, request an item count tag from the
attendant at the changing rooms (if they're there) and walk inside. AP
cannot watch you from cameras while you're in there, and no cameras are near
enough to see in. This is law. They can try to get in another booth next
to yours and listen for packages opening, then find the empty package after
you leave. And changing attendants will often call AP if they think someone
is acting suspicious, or if they hear wrappers being torn. If an AP member
ever does arrest you after you entered the bathroom, they are probably
counting on the fact that you will be scared, and won't know that they can't
do it. They will alter their report to say that you unconcealed the stolen
items and reconcealed them again back out in the store after you left the
bathroom, which is enough to arrest you on. (Of course, if you really do
take the stuff out and then hide it again after you leave the bathroom, you
deserve to be arrested.) Many, many times APs of all levels will fudge
their reports to hide small mistakes they made or rules they overlooked for
the sake of arresting someone they were sure was guilty, and other AP
members will probably cover for them, for the greater good. Of course, they
risk arresting someone with nothing on them, which is very bad for an AP, or
of a fellow team member later ratting them out to an APTL, but chances are
they'll get away with it, especially if they're working alone that day.
********** The Ties That Bind **********
Now to touch more directly on AP rules. These explain why the bathroom
trick works. An APS has many rules about when they specifically *cannot*
make an apprehension (arrest you). More so, as I said in the intro, than
they do about when they *can* arrest you. The odds are *always* stacked in
an intelligent thief's favor, if they know the store policies. The stores
are too afraid of lawsuits, and let APs know they may be fired for even only
one false arrest, even after years of good service. They have several steps
they have to acquire during watching you that if they lose even one of, they
may not be able to make the arrest.
First, they must observe you enter the area without the about-to-be-stolen
merchandise. This rule is the most often overlooked by APSs, because
chances are they won't know you're a thief until you're stealing something.
Second, they have to see you select the merchandise from the shelf or
display. They can't risk arresting you for stuff you brought in to the
store on your own.
Third, they have to actually see you conceal the merchandise. They are
allowed leeway here, because you may have your back to them, but if they see
you pick up an item, fiddle with the wrapper, and suddenly the empty
wrapper's dropped on the shelf and the item has disappeared, they can make
"reasonable assumptions" that you have it hidden on you. Again, someone
watching on camera may be able to record you clearly hiding the item, and if
it's a fellow APS, the APS on the floor will probably be okay in trusting
their judgment. If it's a TPS on camera, the APS is not supposed to take
their word on it, but still can if they're willing to risk accepting the
legal blame and losing their job if they're wrong.
Fourth, and most importantly, the APS then has to *maintain* observation of
you so well that there is *no* reasonable doubt you still have the item on
you. This is the hardest bit of any surveillance, because a thief with an
item hidden knows they're a time bomb. The thief will start moving more
quickly, trying to find a safe way out, ducking around aisles, making it
harder for the APS to follow them. This is always a good idea for thieves.
Moving quickly, weaving, makes it harder for visual contact to be
maintained, and for cameras to follow you. A lot of times a thief good at
doubling back and weaving may lose the entire AP dept, and it won't be until
later when the tapes are reviewed that they see the thief leaving the store.
This gives you every opportunity to dump the stuff if you feel unsafe, and
still walk out a free person.
Fifth and last, you then have to actually walk through the doors with the
item still on you. All SuperTargets have double doors, and AP plays on
this. They will always take you as soon as you pass the first set of doors,
inside the foyer. If you haven't left the store with stolen goods, it isn't
theft yet, no crime has occurred. APS's are always asked, "Did you have
your Five Steps?" to determine if they actually followed the rules. There
are lots of mitigating circumstances where they can bend the rules, but
overall these ties bind them very tightly, and help you out enormously.
For instance - if you place a large box under your shirt that's so obvious
anyone can see the corners poking out, and the APS loses you during Step
Four, but finds you again right at the doors, still poking out squarely,
they can act on reasonable assumption that you are still stealing. Or if
you clearly are carrying the item in your hand, not concealing it at all,
they can ignore that rule too.
What this also means is that at any time, if you know that you are being
watched, or even suspect it, you don't have to hide anything. You could
walk right up to the APS, and remove every item from your jacket, hand it to
them, smile and walk out the door. There's nothing they can do.
Theoretically, you could even stop at the stands, before you leave, and drop
everything on the floor right there, wave to the camera, and go. But when
you get near the doors, it'll be hard to prove you weren't intending to
leave, so best to do it a ways back.
To help your case if you do get away, try to wear glasses, a hat, and
clothing you never intend to wear again. Alter your appearance as much as
possible. Die your hair, even. Too many thieves get recognized by their
signature clothing, and when you come back to steal the second time and get
caught, they'll remember the first time.
********** The Rundown **********
So let's say you've decided to go for it anyways. You know you're being
watched, but you really want that item tucked away in your jacket. You've
weaved and moved, but you're not sure if you lost them or not. You're near
the front doors, and you want to act casual, but suddenly one of several
things can go wrong.
There may be a TPS blocking your way out. Often, if they think you'll
spook and give up, a TPS may just walk nearby you while you're still in the
store, glancing very obviously in your direction and making a few more
passes as you continue. If a TPS is handling it, an APS may not even be on
duty. Remember, a TPS can only scare you, they can't stop you. If you go
all the way, they may stand right in front of the exit doors. If you cross
to the other doors, they'll cross with you, either pretending not to notice
you or staring blatantly at you. If this happens, head back out into the
store. Get to a safe distance, and see if the TPS is following you. Lead
them to the back of the store, and as fast as you can, don't worry about
other customers, sprint for the front. Blast out the doors, and away. You
never have to shop there again, you know. Or just quickly and casually
weave until the front doors are open, then walk quickly out. They cannot
You may not see anyone, but an APS may be waiting nearby for you to head
out the doors. They will then run quietly up behind you, whip out their
orange security badge, and shout, "Target Security!" or "Asset Protection!"
or any combination of these with "Freeze!" They have to announce who they
are, otherwise you can claim later you thought you were being assaulted by a
stranger. They won't always pull out their badge, a verbal warning is
legally enough. Be ready if you think you've outrun them, too. . .many
times a lone APS will enlist burly, video-game-generation-violent store
employees to wait outside the doors and trap you. These guys don't know the
rules as well, and may just try to beat you into the ground instead of just
There's also a very important rule that Target thieves need to know - the
Sidewalk rule. If you can make it past the sidewalk, Target is supposed to
let you go. They can't risk the liability of chasing you into traffic and
getting you hurt or killed by a car. Of course, if an APS has their arms
around you, and you drag them past the sidewalk, you've just waived your
right to the Rule. It's all just part of the fight now. This is another
reason to be nervous of normal, non-AP employees. They may not know the
Rule, and drag you back from the lot if they can catch you, and AP will
probably bend the rules and fudge reports to cover. I witnessed it a few
If you do get jumped by an APS at the door, it's best to assume there's
backup coming. A TPS has to maintain camera footage of the actual
apprehension starting, but the instant the APS makes contact with the thief,
the TPS will sprint out to help. This is why the AP office is at the front,
and exactly between both sets of front doors. Other employees and even
customers will often run over to help.
If you are going to do anything
violent to get free, do it as soon as you know you're being attacked.
Remember, the second doors will slow you down, no matter how fast you're
moving. An APS will run around in front of you, so if you do try to run, it
will probably be back into the store, where they can control you. APSs come
in all shapes and sizes, too, from tiny little women to massive,
bodybuilding men. And don't just assume that since they're small, you can
overpower them. Most of the tiny women I knew at Target could beat the hell
out of men twice their size in a few seconds. Target security are not lax
in their fight training. They are not allowed to use their radios,
handcuffs or anything else as weapons. They are not supposed to strike you,
only subdue you by grappling, but if you start swinging punches, they
probably will too, and then you have no legal excuse. You started it, and
they *will* have tape to prove it. (Remember those fixed cameras at the
front doors?) Other than that, all bets are off, and chances are no one
will care if you sustain extra bruises during your capture.
Here's a rule I would not advise you to use unless you're absolutely
desperate: Target policy forbids AP from attempting to arrest you, or even
coming near you, if you have a weapon. If at some point, while you're in
the store, you very clearly display a knife or gun to the cameras, they will
back off, and attempt to spook you into leaving. APSs will probably start
making themselves very obvious to you, not even trying to hide anymore, just
glaring as they walk past. *****HOWEVER*****. The instant they know you
have a weapon, and are apparently thinking about needing it to get out, they
may call the cops to provide backup. They will most certainly report you to
the police even if you do leave without stealing, especially if they get
your license plate. I would say that a smart thief should *NEVER* carry a
weapon for something like shoplifting. It will go *way* harder for you if
you do get arrested, and if you know the rules about being able to walk away
whenever you want, it's just not worth it. When stealing from Target, you
are never going to end up in a life-or-death situation. Or even a
life-or-jail one, if you can just get yourself to dump and walk away. If
you do want to carry something, I'd suggest pepper spray, as it's
non-lethal, and many people would just happen to have it on them. You could
always claim you were panicked by the sudden shout and person barreling down
on you, and you just reacted and sprayed them. You always carry pepper
spray for self-defense, right?
Of course, as with every other rule, there's an exception. . .if an AP
member is absolutely *sure* you cannot get to your weapon before they can
drop you, they may risk their own life and try to arrest you. They will
probably receive a stern warning later, but it's their choice. But it's
very heavily pushed upon all APs that no item in the store is ever worth
anyone's life. Just let them go, get video footage, report it to the
A good idea for any thief is to consider alternative exits. Every Target
store has several emergency exit doors located around the outer walls.
These doors always have a Detex unit panic bar attached to them, and the
double doors (mostly found in SuperTargets) will also have a knob-controlled
vertical locking bar. These doors are also all hooked into the Operator's
alarm panel in the recesses of the Employee Only area. To open a panic bar,
you need only to push on the arm, and the door will open, setting off a
blaringly loud alarm, so be ready to run. (Unless the batteries have run
down, in which case it might be almost silent - hey, it's really happened a
lot. You could also plausibly pick the main lock to open the latch, or use
a set of Detex keys to open the casing lock and pull out the battery if you
had time.) And there’s a magnetic switch hooked to the top of the door
which sets off a small alarm at the Operator’s desk to let them know the
door has been opened. They will immediately contact AP by radio if a Detex
door is opened, and let them know which one. On the double doors, you can
first turn the knob on the vertical bar, which will unlock it, then slam
open the panic bar and run out. Neither of these devices can ever actually
be really locked, because they're emergency exits. In a fire or disaster,
they can't count on being able to get a key to them, so *anyone*, at
*anytime*, has to be able to open them easily. This is very popular with
kids, who know the odds of AP catching them running out an emergency door
are slim. If you don't think you're being watched yet, you might even
release the locking bar first before you've taken anything, and then when
you've got the stolen goods, run at full speed, slamming open the Detex bar
and, simultaneously, the door, and sprinting away. AP might notice it's
unlocked, though, and set a trap for you by waiting right outside, or behind
nearby shelves. A lot of times fixed cameras are pointed right at these
doors because they're so popular with repeat boosters. (Oh, side note -
anyone who has been recognized, even vaguely, as having used the fire exits
to steal several times, even from different stores, will attract the special
attention of those RAPTLs and DAPTLs I mentioned earlier, the Target SWAT
team. They don't like fire exit boosters, and will specifically set traps
just for you, boyo.)
But, warning aside, they are a very good alternative when other doors seem
blocked. Many thieves will even have an accomplice waiting right outside
the emergency door in a car, so they can peel away. If AP sees a car on
camera waiting by an exit door, though, they may come out to speak to you or
call the police to shoo you away. Or just set traps for you. Anyways.
There is usually a door in the sports section of the store, near the Camping
Goods, right on an aisle. There are usually four hidden in Employee Only
areas at the back of the store. In Grocery where the long freezer walls
meet at the corner, there is a swinging door set. Go through these, and
just beyond should be another emergency exit door. The same goes if you're
along the back wall of the store, in the Domestics sections. There will be
a large set of swinging doors, charge through these, you should see straight
ahead of you a fire door. Also, if you follow the tall shelves of items in
the rear warehouse area of SuperTargets, it may look like you're heading
towards a dead end, but in between the last shelf aisles will be another
Detex door (with no locking bar!), and beyond that, in the employee
training/conference room, there will also be a non-bar Detex door. You risk
employees spotting you, of course, but unless they're ignorant of the rules
they shouldn't try to actually stop you, other than shouting "Hey!"
If you're really bold, you could even charge into the Employees Only
swinging doors at the front of the store (SuperTarget only), and towards the
Employee entrance door. (It will always be right by the Operator's desk,
and has EAS stands around it, because they don't trust employees, either.)
You'd probably have to run past several employees, and definitely right past
the AP office door, but once you're out, you're gone into the parking lot.
Of course, with all this excitement and bravery, there still comes the
gentler ways of getting out. AP, despite being well trained and on the
ball, is only human and cannot be everywhere. They probably only spot about
10% of the theft going on, and catch about 1%.
Many people will try just filling up a cart with whatever they want and
walking through the register lanes and right out the door. Out in the
parking lot, they can load up their car at leisure. (Not quite the same as
the cart-full-of-DVD-players I said earlier, this is just a cart full of
different, probably not too expensive items.) Someone may have a Target bag
from a previous purchase that still looks relatively new, pull it out of
their pocket in the store, load up, and walk out. Some people make a small
purchase, ask for a bag, and then head back into the store and load more
goods into it. And there's always the most common supermarket theft in the
world - eating candy out of the candy bins without paying for it, or "just
one or two" grapes from the shelf. I used to take great pleasure in
sneaking up on little fat kids stealing candy from the bins, coming right up
behind them, and saying, basso profundo, "You gonna pay for that?" Deer in
the headlights, every time.
********** When It All Comes Down **********
Uh oh. . .you made a bad mistake, and now you're in cuffs and being taken
to the Office to await your punishment. What do you do now?
Let's backtrack a moment and look at the theft you made, to see where we
can improve your chances. First - AP doesn't like to apprehend for items
under $20, because then they can really only warn you, take the stuff back,
put you in a report, take your picture and let you go. If you have a
one-dollar candy bar, you could probably walk right out the door waving it
over your head and no one would stop you. And I really mean $20. . .if
you're even half a buck under, they'll probably let you go. But Gods help
you if you're a penny over.
If you don't think your chances are good when you're being arrested (i.e.
the APS towers over you, biceps bulging), do not fight in *any* way. Calmly
hold up your hands, palms open, and state that you surrender. Lay down on
the floor with your hands behind your back if you want, and let them
peacefully cuff you. I guarantee, if you're calm and don't look like you'll
run, they won't even cuff you. They'll take you firmly by the arm to make
sure you can't get away, though. This is a time when some thieves might try
to suddenly attack the AP, break free and run back out the door, but the
police will then be after you for assault. Chances are they probably got
good enough footage of you to screw you over on that count, and there
probably won't be just one AP holding your arm, either. The more you
cooperate, the better they'll treat you.
If you were dumb enough to bring a weapon, and you're now cuffed and being
led away, clearly state, "I want you to know, I have a weapon, a (knife,
gun, etc.) in my (right pocket, holster, etc.)" Do *not* try to remove it,
as this might be taken as hostile action.
When you're taken to the Office, you will be on camera the whole time
you're in it. Don't try to make up any stories about AP beating you
severely (unless they really did), or sexually molesting you, because AP is
*very* good about getting everything on tape, and will be able to prove
quickly that you're a thief *and* a liar. They also always leave at least
one AP or store team member of the same sex as you in the office the whole
time, to act as a witness.
You will be sat down in a plastic chair, or in one of the new restraining
benches being installed in most Targets. These are metal benches with a
crossbar for attaching handcuffs, so they don't have to worry about you
running away until the cops get there. Here's an interesting secret - the
crossbar actually is made in two pieces, and screws together like a curtain
rod at the center. You can't see the seam because of a support, but the bar
can be unscrewed, and not only are you free then, you have a length of metal
pipe for a weapon. Of course, many AP people have realized this, and taken
the time to superglue it together. (And they will probably just have
attached a second set of cuffs to the chain on your cuffs, and that to the
bar, so even if you do get free, you're still cuffed behind your back. Not
a good situation for escape.)
Here's something to drill into your skull: please, *please* do not try the
"I have to go the bathroom" trick. Even if you really do have to go. AP is
not going to let you, no matter how much you whine. If they've been around,
they will probably tell you, "That's why the chair is plastic," or, "That's
why the bench has all those little holes in it." They're serious. Wet
yourself right there if you want. And don't try the "Owwwww, my handcuffs
are too tight, waaaah," thing. In a few minutes the police will be there
and will change out their handcuffs for AP's, so you can whine all you want
to them instead.
Now they move on to questioning you. They will need all the personal info
they can get from you for their reports. Name, age, ID if you've got it
(don't bring it if you're feeling rebellious). They will want to know why
you stole, and most of the time all they ever hear is "I don't know."
Unless you tried to beat them up, they will be very civil and polite to you,
and try to convince you to tell them more about what you were doing when you
tried to steal. A *very* common line from APSs and APTLs interviewing
thieves is, "Now we're going to try to establish your honesty, so I can tell
the cops you're dealing fair with us. It'll go better for you. Now, I know
everything you took. I know everything you did. And I want you to tell me,
in detail, what you did, to see how honest you're going to be with me."
They usually only use this line if they're missing some important gap in
their observation of you. They will also tend to sit you down and
immediately tell you, "I want everything you took on this desk right now.
Everything you were going to steal." If you're cuffed, they may have to
remove it for you. But it's definitely smart to obey them on this count at
least. . .they're right, the police will be searching you as soon as they
arrive, and it will be noted that you tried to lie about not having any
other stolen goods on you. However, if you *did* take stuff under $20, and
they haven't found it all, and you're pretty sure you're about to be let go,
you can risk bluffing it out and still get away with something for the day's
Overall, if you just want to get the legal stuff done with quickly and
accept your punishment, I'd say cooperate completely. However, you are not
required to cooperate with Target in any way. You can just say, "I'm taking
my right to remain silent in advance," and then shut up until the cops get
there. It's probably better this way. The cops may submit all your
personal info back to Target later, but the less info they have on you, the
better your chances are for stealing in the future. Don't try to lie to the
cops, though. You can still continue to remain silent, it is your right.
But the cops will be able to really check if you lie about your name,
address, etc. I know this seems like common sense, but there are probably
going to be a lot of dumb people out there who would try this.
Another note: Target can hold you for a reasonable amount of time before
calling the police. They could keep you in that office for a few hours if
they wanted, pumping you about your theft.
Honestly, I'm not sure what'll happen to you after the cops take you off, I
never checked up. I do know that I've seen people I personally fought to
the ground and arrested walking around free a few months later, so it can't
be that bad.
********** Common Sense and Random Ideas **********
Since I've written this whole thing from about midnight until 8 AM, my
mind's getting fuzzy, but I wanted to finish it all in one go. So here's
the rest of the advice and cool ideas I can offer up before I hit the sack.
Price tag switching is a very common means of theft at any store. You can
steal the sticker off of another, less expensive item, and lay it over the
item you want. Hopefully the cashier will not notice, or you might even
find a slightly crooked friend already working at that store who's willing
to overlook it. Some crooked cashiers will attach stickers to their
forearms or watch, so when their friend comes through the line at a
pre-decided time, they can simply swipe their own arm across as each item
goes pass, ringing up the same price every time. This will be very obvious
if AP ever reviews the transactions by computer, but otherwise is a great
way to help your friends steal. Tech-savvy thieves can also try printing up
their own sticker labels at home by buying an item with a low price,
scanning the image of the barcode into their home computer, and printing
them up on adhesive backed paper, available at any office supply store.
When cutting open a totally sealed package, don't rip it with your bare
hands. This makes way too much noise, and is very noticeable on camera.
Bring along a sharp exacto knife or box cutter, and slice as much as you can
around the item inside. If you can cut it completely away so that no
bending or ripping of the package has to occur to get it out, all the
better. A lot of tricksters will pay cash for a DVD, take it home, and very
carefully open the bottom part of the clear wrapper. They remove the box,
take out the DVD, and carefully slide the box back inside the wrapper, then
reseal it with clear glue. Sometimes they might use a cheap, throwaway CD
or blank CD-ROM to replace it for correct weight. Take it back to the same
store, and return it for your money back (they only make you
exchange-for-the-same if the package has been opened). Your crime will
probably go undiscovered until the next person buys it off the shelf and
brings it back to complain. (Pay with cash so you leave no trail of
yourself, just in case.)
Box stuffing is another common means of theft. Select a very large box
(say a baby stroller), open it up, and stuff lots of small, inexpensive
items into it, then tape it back up (bring your own tape). The cashier
rings up the big box, you pay for it, take it home, and empty out your
goodies. You can even return the big box item the next day and get your
Don't waste time on small potatoes. Sure, you could steal that DVD today.
Or you could steal a $100 jacket, sell it on Ebay, and buy five DVDs
If you ever find a receipt from Target on the ground or in the trash
somewhere, and it doesn't look horribly mangled or dirty, see if there's
anything expensive on it paid for by cash or check. (Make sure it's for a
previous day if it's by check, so they can't just say, Oh, here's your
check, we'll just tear it up.) You can then walk into the store, grab that
same item off the shelf, take it to Guest Services and "return" it for the
cash. If you can ever get your hands on a roll of real receipt tape from
Target, you could scan in a real receipt from a minor purchase, and alter it
according to match more expensive items, then print it out yourself. Brand
new is much better than trash receipts. Of course, AP watches for people
doing this, and you may not even realize you have the whole dept. casually
waiting around you at the desk, looking just like customers. I suppose you
could also just buy entirely blank receipt tape of the same texture and size
from an office supply, and scan both the front and back of the receipt,
printing up new ones all your own. However, be forewarned that since they
keep computer-cash register records, they can instantly bring up your
previous transaction, and see that the receipt doesn't match, or doesn't
exist at all. This is why it's better to just use found receipts, or if you
find a dirty, mangled, receipt, print up a shiny new one with the exact same
info on it.
AP also watches specifically for people waiting in cars right outside the
front doors. Thieves will have their buddies wait for them in case they
come out running, so they can peel away. This is stupid, because Target
won't chase you into the parking lot. Just have your friend park way back
in the lot, and run out to them. Or, as suggested earlier, come entirely on
foot, and leave the same way so there's no way to identify you.
If for some reason you ever think about robbing Target's Guest Service desk
(beats me why, it's right out in the open and all), don't fall for their
Robbery Fund. It's a plastic clear bag with wads of cash inside it labeled
"$2000" on each wad. It's really a load of ones with big bills around it.
(I don't think it's an ink-pack or tracker, just a sucker batch to make you
think you got more than you really did.)
If you're one of those ridiculous drug thieves that likes to steal Sudafed
for your suppliers, keep in mind that Target will let you actually buy three
boxes at a time, with no problem. APs don't mind buyers, but when a
jittery, obvious junkie comes in and starts dumping boxes and boxes of
Sudafed into a handbasket, they are definitely going to be waiting for you
at the doors.
The AP offices will always have a spare handcuff key somewhere, probably
hanging on the wall, and a door that has to be opened from the inside
(meaning no one else can come in from the outside without their own key).
The ceiling is usually a false lowered ceiling, which means a person could
push up the acoustic tile, climb onto the wall structures and make their way
carefully to another room, climb quickly down and run for it.
Do not ever act nonchalant, then suspicious when you think you're alone,
then nonchalant again when you see a person walk by. This is what AP is
hoping to see you do. The best thieves will appear casual and like they
don't even notice that they *are* stealing while they're doing it. If you
can open a package while moving around a corner, even better. Corners are
your friends, as they momentarily break surveillance of you as the APS
follows or the camera view has to be switched. If you need to conceal or
dump, do it on the move, preferably the instant after you turn a corner.
At some Targets (the plain Targets), ceiling mirrors will be installed over
some high-theft aisles. APSs will carry small hand mirrors covered by a
magazine or other item, and look down into their mirror, which reflects the
ceiling mirror, and shows them what you're doing in the next aisle over.
For some reason most thieves never look up into these mirrors. They
probably think they're hiding cameras or something. Even without a hand
mirror, an APS can simply pretend to be shopping the top shelf, and glance
upwards directly at the ceiling mirror. If you start to head down the
aisle, they will pace you in the opposite direction, moving around the
endcap right as you do, watching you in the mirror, and you may never even
know they're there. They also sometimes will push along a cart with a large
mirror in it, turned at a sideways angle so they can see down an aisle
they're walking past just before they themselves actually come into view.
If you ever see someone up on a hydraulic lift repairing cameras or moving
camera domes, do not assume it's just a janitor. Only AP touches the
cameras and domes, and they now have a bird's eye view of you.
The best time of day to steal is probably the instant the store opens in
the morning. TPSs working solo shifts have to make the rounds of the store,
and take a tally of all the high-theft items on a clipboard. This keeps
them in a predictable pattern of movement, as they generally make one big
circle around the store, and they won't be in the office watching the
cameras. Many shifts are covered completely alone by a TPS or APS with no
backup at all. Every store usually has only one or two APSs, and at least
three or four TPSs that come on different shifts. At store closing, the
main lights will be shut off, and the doors manned by regular employees so
that no one new comes in, but the last people in the checkout lane may get
out. The TPSs have to make the rounds with the inventory clipboard again at
closing, so this would also be a good time to steal, although it increases
the chance there will be another AP member somewhere in the store or
watching cameras. The TPS will check in Pharmacy, for drugs and razors,
through a lot of aisle for empty packages, the radar detectors, GPS units,
and anything else being watched for high theft.
To sum it all up, the best things you can do for yourself are:
- Come on foot, or park out of view of the store.
- Pay attention to your "shopping". Only lifters watch other shoppers.
- Be casual. Don't look up, or around.
- Once loaded, move fast, and weave.
- Use alternate exits if you don't feel safe.
- Pay attention to radio announcements from nearby employees.
- Hit the bathrooms or changing room to screw them up.
- TPS's by their own lonesome cannot stop you. But they may have backup.
- Try to keep it as far under $20 as you can if you think you'll be caught.
- If all else fails, drop the stuff in very plain view, and leave.
Good luck to all the up-and-comers out there. I hope this tutorial was as
entertaining and informative as the disclaimer says it was. Again, I accept
no responsibility if you actually act on any of this info, and it's your own
damn fault if you get caught. I apologize if I forgot to mention anything,
you'll just have to figure it out on your own. And there's always the
chance that after a few months from this tutorial's release, they'll find
out about it, freak out, and change everything. But, life is an adventure.
Just think slow, follow the guidelines, and you'll be right on Target.
Peace, cheers, and I'm out.