PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia ABC announced that it is cracking down on thefts from its stores — including by its own employees.
This comes after an investigation was launched into a store in Portsmouth that found more than $50,000 in checks and cash missing.
“Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) is undertaking a multipronged approach to address retail and internal theft in its distribution center and network of 399 stores,” a recent release read. “These changes include law enforcement initiatives, additional audits, enhanced staff training and other tactics to best serve customers and reduce the impact of crime in our communities.”
Their approach involves things like stocking items that are stolen most often in clear view of the cash register and maximizing interactions with customers. It also involved counting over a millions cases of bottles in its possession for an inventory.
Perhaps most notable, however, are the steps it has taken, and is taking, to tamp down on so-called internal thefts. ABC says it is revamping the way it does store audits and plans to increase their frequency.
That follows a system-wide investigation sparked when ABC discovered a vulnerability in its sales system last year that may have allowed employees to take money undetected. Investigators combed through more than 1,000 transactions at 34 stores and found seven locations in which theft was suspected to have occurred.
According to court documents, the store at 3014 Turnpike Road in Portsmouth may have been one of those locations.
In January, auditors notified the manager of store #361 that $52,038.89 in checks and cash were missing from the bank.
An investigation by ABC police found video footage in which at least two employees are seen taking deposit bags from the store’s safe that were never taken to the bank. This occurred on several days spanning from December 2022 to January 2023.
Asked for comment, ABC Police said the case is still under investigation.