WWYD? Stealing?

I want to know what any of you would do.


I long time customer calls you and reports that some items are missing from their home. There were two of your employees at that home along with the owner all day and no one else. One employee has been with you for years and the other only around a month.

You cannot prove or disprove which employee did/didn’t steal the items.

What do you do and how do you handle a matter like this?

ask both employees who took the items at the same time, if no one comes foward, tell them they have 2 days to come foward, if none of them comes forward, tell them they both will be fired… plain and simple.

There is plenty of people looking for work right now, so you wont have any problem finding new guys or gals.

I dont care how much experience the other guy has, training new employees is not that hard ya know.

I also want to add in a more personal side. Lets say one of the employees you are 80% sure didn’t do it but 95% sure the other did. How would you prove it? Would you call the police and file a report? How would you make things right with your client?

Are you Bonded???

remember, the customer is always right, but you can also fire the customer if you think your employees did not take/steal anything…

But if you do that, your company might get a bad name out on the streets.

I have been in that same situation about 4 times over the years. 3 times were false due to the customer misplacing the property that was said to have been stolen. The 4th time was when we were working on a customers property with half a dozen painters all over the place. Her ex husban d was even there. We were 100% innocent (it was me and my brother only doing the windows).

If I were you, I wouldnt go firing people just yet. You could end up in some nasty wrongful termination suit. I would do the following things (if you havent alreadY):

Call customer to tell them that this has not happened to your company before. As her to give it a few days to see if something turns up (Her misplacing the item or one of your guys coming forward).

Tell her to call the police and get a police report. Assure her that you will comply with the investigation 100%. Tell her to have the police/detective call you on your cell phone.

Detective will want social security #s of all persons at the site (I hope you did backgrounds on your guys).

Bond insurance isnt worth the piece of paper its written on unless there is an admission of guilt or they have video or other concrete evidence (A pawn shop transaction for example).

Most importantly- BE PROFFESIONAL! Getting confrontational with your guys and the customer only makes things worse—much worse!

Also remember to ask customer if shes had anyone in her home -friends, kids friends, other contractors etc.

Another scenario could be that a homeowner is trying to pad an insurance claim to get back the money for property they lost. Anythings possible.
Without admission of guilt or other concrete evidence, the case is pretty much a dead one.

I have been able to salvage the customer relations with every one of the accusations that were against my company.

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Your assumptions about who took the items (if indeed were stolen by your employees) should be looked at carefully. Innocent until proven guilty

I highly doubt either guy will step up. I would be fired before owning that (let’s stay in reality).

Hopefully a Rolex was not an item :eek:

I am bonded and insured.

Been done already. I have not talked to the police yet. I found out about all this at about 8:00 last night and wanted to talk to my employees before I did anything else.

small stuff from what I can tell around $700 worth (camera & ipod). I am fully prepaired to replace the items. I almost feel that I should bring in the police. In my eyes I am inocent, so the only way I can proove that is to be proactive and help with what ever investigation needs to be done. I am just looking for as many opions and options as I can get. I have never been in this boat before and it is not sitting well with me at all!

I say absolutely tell the customer to call the police. You have nothing to hide, and it shows that to the customer. Yea the customer is always right, but a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. How did you feel about your 1 month guy before this incident? I wouldnt replace/buy anything yet. Give it at least a week

I totally agree with winderwarsher on this…

I would also call the cops myself and have them talk to both employees. They are trained to tell if someone is lying… They will be able to weed the guy out.

have you ever had this problem chris?

Yep… Most of the time like winderwasher said its just them misplacing stuff… and they call up a day later heavily apologizing… One lady even called crying (lots of tears) about how upset she was that she wrongly accused us.

What did you do about the things that weren’t misplaced?

[B]I feel for you Scott, that’s brutal.[/B]

Aside from the suggestions thus far, I have no other advice for you.

I do have some future advice for you, though: Only hire people that you trust 100%. Not 90% Not 95%.


I was accused like you by the staff at one of our most important commercial accounts, and because I knew and trusted my guys, I backed them up and stood my ground 100%


I called my guys, too, to ask them point-blank, and they denied stealing anything.

I then asked from some proof, which they claimed was on a hidden video tape. I asked to see the tape, which of course, never happened.

The owner called the next day and apologized for the attack on us by his staff, and told me that he understood they were wrong, and that he trusts us with millions of dollars in inventory every month, never mind something of small value.

My heart goes out to you, though.

I hope you can find the most painless way to navigate this until you can find some more trustworthy staff.

What was it that got "stolen’. we have run into situations like this before, and how it is handled depends on whats missing many times. My most recent incident was a woman called us a month or so after we did the windows because she was missing silver candlesticks. I know none of my employees stole them because it would be too obvious (what are they gonna jock candlesticks). Anyways, she called me a month later because she found them in a drawer tucked away.

I had an employee steal $200 bucks from a customer once. We made everyone empty their pockets at the same time and guess what… I fired an employee that day for stealing. Told him to keep the money because he obviously needed it so bad and replaced the money for the customer out of our pocket. She still uses us for window cleaning.

I guess every situation needs to be handled differently, so thats why I ask what got stolen.

I agree with most everything said here. But I agree 100% call the police be proactive in this case. Inform the customer to make a police report.

In my area, pawn shops are linked into the police database. When my company was accused of theft, I consulted a detective friend of mine immediately. He told me to tell the homeowner to file a report ASAP. It just shows the customer that you are truly looking out for their best interest. It doesnt admit guilt in any way. Just a precaution. My guys have been ran through the mill with a background check before being hired. This is piece of mind in this situation.

As for paying for the stolen items, thats your call. If the stuff was really stolen from them and you pay them back, will they continue to use you? Probably not in my opionion. It really depends on if this customer is within a circle of friends you do work for. A tough call to say the least. I would suggest that you go with your gut instincts on that one.

Happened to me too, but she found the item the next day.

As an ex-convict I can tell you that the cops really dont give a crap about small potatoes bullcrap like that, and getting to the bottom of it seeing who is lying really wont matter because if they did do it, they will never admit it and the cops cant do anything about it unless HE ADMITS GUILT.

Even if the cop told you one of them was lying, you still cant fire him on a cops intuition.

Yes, the customer is always right…when you are talking to them…meaning, you should try and help her find the items like you are doing (I wouldnt pay for them) but stand by your guys, if I had a boss who doubted me and I was innocent I would not want to work for him anymore or if I had to, wouldnt have my heart in it anymore for sure.

One of the guys posted that he was able to keep all the customers that this happened to him-ask him how he did it. It happened to me, with one of my guys stealing a watch, I got the watch back and fired the guy on the spot, but I lost her, and besides the tremendous embarrassment…word of mouth was probably pretty horrible.

Let us know the outcome of this situation (if you dont mind sharing it). It is an a very interesting and helpful topic. Others can learn from this including myself.


I will let you all know what the outcome is. I am just giving it time to let the whole thing play out. the investigation is on going and hopefully will be completed soon. I really don’t think they will find anything but with all the evidence we had the police department did feel the need to go after the thief who ever it may be.

How did you get the watch back?