Friday, March 18, 2016

To Catch A Thief

Although she no longer does this line of work my daughter worked in fast food operations for more than half her life. More than half that time was as a manager of pizza take-out stores.

In the big city where we lived robbery was a real danger to any fast food store. Especially a pizza store. Part of the training to work there was learning what to do in case of a robbery.

The lobbies of the stores are open but the entire work area including the cashier is behind bullet proof glass. The pizzas are either placed in a revolving delivery after they are paid for or slide under a slot. Customers never come into contact with employees or any part of the working area.

Only small amounts of money are kept in the tills. Large bills and accumulations of cash are deposited in envelopes directly into the safe.

The safe is opened using a combination known only to management. It is set on a timer so that it does not open immediately in case someone is forcing the manager to dial the combination. There is a false front of sorts so a certain amount of money can be used to buy change for the cash register.

Most robberies are found to be "inside" jobs. Former employees, present employees, and people who know employees are the most common culprits. They are the ones who know routines and can cajole someone into letting them in through the back door. That is why no one who is not supposed to be there is supposed to have access.

If somehow the store is robbed it is to be immediately closed. The police will be called. No one is to be let in or out except police and store officials. Only after the police have taken statements can people go home.

Eventually my daughter was transferred to a suburban store. All the stores operate the same. But this one had no bullet proof! She felt quite vulnerable for a long time.

My daughter is an extremely careful (and at times suspicious) person by nature. She was often the last to leave the store after closing. She had paperwork to do and money to balance.

She made sure all her employees were safely on their way too. She would watch until their cars were moving out of the parking lot.

When she left she looked all around before she even left the store. Then she went purposefully and quickly to her car. No chances taken.

My daughter began to notice a car parking in front of the pizza store for several nights in a row. No one ever got in or out of the car and it just drove away each night.

She notified the police that a suspicious looking car was coming every night. They made a notation of it but there was not much they could do.

One night very late as she was getting ready to go home she saw the car parked directly in front of her store. She waited about half an hour and it stayed. Finally she called the police.

As the patrol car passed through the parking lot the car finally left. She waved to the police as she got in her car. She never saw the car again.

A few years later my daughter was managing another pizza store.  She was pregnant and having severe problems with her blood pressure. As a matter of fact she was days away from being placed on medical maternity leave.

Late at night she received a phone call from her store. It had been robbed.

She went immediately to the store. The police were on the way.

The two employees were a brother and sister. The brother was in charge and his sister felt safe with her brother.

The thief had managed to grab the 16 year old female employee and held a knife to her throat. She was hysterical when my daughter arrived but not hurt physically.

After comforting the girl the best she could my daughter surveyed the store to see what was taken. Then she called the girl's parents.

Calling the parents was totally against the rules. My daughter knew that I would have been more than upset if it had been my daughter and I was not notified. She also felt like she would want to know in that case too. When the parents arrived she let them in to comfort their daughter and son.

There were two reasons she did not consider the son when she called the parents. First he was an adult. Second he was not hysterical.

The police were not happy the parents were there and neither were the higher -ups of the company but they understood why she did it. She was not disciplined for it.

As so often happens it was an inside job. The young man's friend was the robber. He was also a former employee. The young man had let him in after the store closed. The sister knew nothing about it.

The young man had no idea that the robber was going to grab the sister either. Once he finally confessed he cried that he did not mean for his sister to be involved in any way.

The next time you hear on the news about a robbery at a fast food place... remember it was probably an inside job.


  1. How terrifying for the young girl. You daughter was so sensible, in all of the situations she faced.

    1. My daughter has always amazed me with her wisdom. She gets it from my mother-in-law who was the wisest person I have ever known.

  2. Those are tough jobs. Managing staff is difficult and when danger is right there it makes it so much worse.

    1. I still do not know how she stayed in that line of work as long as she did. And she truly enjoyed it. I tried it and will starve before I ever do it again.

  3. Robbery is a universal problem.

    I do believe it happens also at the other side of galaxy.

  4. I think it was the right thing to inform the parents!
    As to "inside jobs" - curiously I just saw an old episode from 'Softly, softly: Task Force Police", called "Inside Job" - but I will not write a spoiler here :-)
    I think it is a hard job your daughter is doing - and good that she is so very careful!

    1. As I said she is so wise. I wish I could say she got that from me but it would not be true. She no longer does that kind of work. I suppose that will be a future post.