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Losing Total Control

The following is a true case and missed opportunity

The district manager received the call. Monday at 9:07 A.M. from assistant manager of one of the stores, reported that the deposits from the weekend were not in the SAFE, as they should be. The losses totaled about 20% of the week’s net sales. The closing manager from Sunday night, said that he had prepared the deposit and put it in the SAFE. Saturday’s deposit was also there at the time. He was certain that the SAFE was secured. The store manager filed a theft report with the local police. 

On Sunday 18:22 Hours, closing the store and rearming the alarm.

However, the alarm activity log showed no that at 22:46 Hours, user #2 disarmed the system.

At 23:05 Hours, the same night user rearmed the system. There was no other activity until 07:56 Hours on Monday morning. So who is user #2, the district manager urgently needed to know, why weren’t we called ? ? ?. The alarm company response “we’ll have to get back to you on that”.

What the manager learned over the ensuring ten days was a costly lesson in failed accountability.

As it turned out, every key holder in the store shared the user code #2. The alarm company could not distinguish which of the authorized users, past or present had entered the store at 22:46 Hours Sunday night. The pass code was the store’s telephone number (absent the area code). The manager at the time was no longer with the company. Issuing that same code to all the users had never been challenged.

The police investigation of the incident revealed, that there had been four perimeter keys assigned to the store, but one key had been missing for over a year. A locksmith receipt was produced that showed the SAFE combination was changed several years earlier, and the combination had been shared with no fewer that eleven persons since that time six of whom were no longer with the company. Lastly the investigation reviewed the tape from the VCR was shut off Sunday at 18:20 when the power was cut off till MOnday at 07:58 Hours.

Without evidence, human resources found zero grounds to proceed against any suspect, concluding (rightly) that any negligence contributing to the loss was more likely the result of FAILED CORPORATE POLICY than direct dereliction by the staff…

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