Organized retail crime (ORC) is a booming business especially in big cities like New York, London, Tokyo, etc. It is conducted by groups of professional shoplifters who steal a substantial worth of merchandise from a shopping mall in one fell swoop, and then turn around and sell the loot to other parties who can repackage and resell it at a cheaper price. These professional shoplifters can make more than US$40,000 per day!


Famous retail marketer of women’s lingerie, bras and panties, Victoria Secret is the most popular target for ORC. Just in the year 2006, it was reported that more than US$2.7million worth of bras and panties were stolen! A few days ago in Jersey City, there was also a report made that about US$12,000 worth of bras and panties at a Victoria’s Secret outlet at the Newport Center Mall was stolen by two men and a woman wearing a puffy white coat. These three thieves grabbed dozens of undergarments from roll-out drawers on two display tables and stuffed the merchandise into large shopping bags lined with aluminium foil and ran away.
In an ORC team, they normally have a leader who is responsible to find a buyer that can buy the stolen products from them. This is important for them as they can quickly move the loot to the buyer. They have a driver who is in charge of delivering the stolen goods to the buyer. They also have distracters. The distracters will distract the sales associates by asking them questions; take them off from the thieves’ working area, etc. Other than that, they have a lookout, a booster and a mule. A lookout is someone who watches and monitors to see who’s coming. A booster is the person who actually steals the product while a mule is the person who is responsible to carry the product to their vehicle.

In most occasions, the distracter will pretend to be looking at the products. So when the employees look over the distracter, what they can see is just a customer looking at their products. But they don’t realize that there are boosters on their knees on the floor taking the product out of the drawers and putting them into the boosters’ bags, which are usually lined with aluminum foil or duct tape that helps defeat the [electronic article surveillance system]. The loot will thence pass to the mules who will send it out to their vehicle!

ORC is very professional and smart! Retailers must be extra careful when they see people with suspicious looks, and those who come in groups! Your “secrets” might be unhooked by these thieves!

Victoria’s Secret sexy lingerie, bra and panties are the popular targets for ORC: