WWYD? Stealing?


I would to the insides myself unless I know the employee very well which is hard to do.

I find it hard to put that much trust in an employee that I can’t know that well. You are taking a chance. You also don’t know whether the customer is telling the truth or whether the customer is wrong. Maybe they lost the item themselves. If you do it yourself, you know you did not do it. Other than that you know nothing.

I made him empty his pockets…I wouldnt have done it if I didnt think he did it, but there was no way he was just gonna drive away with an expensive watch like that and stick me with the problems!

It’s over! The best part is that I saved the client. Thanks for all your help!

So here is how it all went down (sorry if I ramble):

I got a call from my office manger around 8:00 at night and was informed that something things were missing from a job that was done that day. I called the client to get some details and informed them that we would do an investigation of our own and get to the bottom of things. I also informed them that we have only had one other instance like this in the 25+ years the company has been around and that we take matters like this very seriously. I asked what was missing and if they had searched every where. I was told they had been searching for hours. From past cleanings I know this is a very clean tidy well kept house. I have been doing work for the owners for over ten years and my father in-law for more past that. These people are retired and well settled down. Over the years I have gotten to know them as well as them knowing me and my family. I sincerely felt like I could trust them. Plus the money that they have I am sure they are not worried about replacing what was missing. It was the items on what was missing that was the issue. I called my washers to get their side of things and see if I could figure out into more detail what had gone on. After speaking with them I had two stories from the washers, one was exactly what the client had said and the other was totally into left field. Just by that one phone call I knew something was up. I called the client back and had them file a police report. the next day I questioned the washers in more detail. I felt certain in my gut that one guy was guilty. Just to cover myself I suspended both until I was certain of what went on. I then called the detective that took the burglary report and filed what’s called a information report. this report was my statement saying I knew of the matter and I have questioned the washers and my findings. After this report was filed I called both washers back that evening to talk with them and let them know that they were both being investigated for burglary. One was completely ok and willing to work with me. The other had lie after lie after lie. Every time I would question him on one lie he would dig himself even deeper. Being the child of a vet. police officer that worked narcotics I was very good at getting the whole good cop bad cop routine. I was even better at the “don’t mess with this cop” routine. at the start of this meeting I told them both that I was going to video the whole meeting. Well long story short I mad the one I suspected go from calm to angry to crying and all over the place just by calling out his lies. I was sure I had the guy but could not prove it. After I sent the tape to the detective and filed yet another information report with my statement and had both washers file one for themselves. Guess what…the liar couldn’t even tell his story twice. So now the detective had one story on tape and another from the guys mouth. This all prompted a real investigation by the police. I am not sure where that is heading but I am sure I will be in the loop. the clients thanked me for being so on top of things regarding the whole matter. I then wrote out a check for the missing items and sent it off to them plus a nice card for a free window cleaning in hopes to cover the inconvienience. They called me and said the detective called and told them all of the work I had put into this matter. She said that even though it happened I went way beyond what they had expected me to do to resolve the situation. For that they would be a life long customer. We will now see if I hear anything from the cops.

Again thank you all for your help and hopefully this will never ever ever ever happen again.

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[SIZE=“7”]WOW![/SIZE] You handled that like a pro! Chris should put that post on a sticky so people can reference it if it happens to them. I will do things EXACTLY like that if it happens to me again. I like how you salvaged the customer too. Good job man.


Nice job Scott! let us know what the police say.

sounds like they should have this case wrapped up shortly thanks to your hard work!

Kudos to you on a job well done. Anyone who “dodges” this sort of thing is really dragging their company name through the mud. By going through all of the motions you did, you both (homeowner and your company) re-established trust between the two of you.

If you dont already, get background checks done on new hires. If you put a homeowner in harms way without running a background check, you could get into a serious legal situation that involves possibly losing your business and personal property.

I have seen guys come into my shop looking for work and find out they have been in prison numerous times for grand theft, receiving stolen property, GSI-Gross sexual imposition with a minor. Ive seen so much on applications that I am amazed when someone comes through that HAS a clean record.

Do your home work on all new hires before they go into someones home. A ton of my customers have became good friends over the years. I owe it to them to background check every employee that I hire.


P.S. Did the cops find a rap sheet on this guy for any priors? Just wondering?

Great job Detective Scott!

Very professional, and reassuring for your client.

Excellent example for the rest of us.

Who da man?

You da man!

You did exactly what a seasoned pro does. Nice job.

The situation in question has happened to me twice; once when I was in the home with a trusted employee, and the other I was not. Both times were cash from the client’s child’s room, money these kids had been saving for months. [B]Now that’s low[/B].

When such a situation occurs, we would hire a private dick, a former police detective with a polygraph machine.

Whether or not you trust in the reliability of such tools is for the most part irrelevant. It’s one of those “It’s the thought that counts” things. Similar to a video taping of an interview, like you used.

I was terrified that the machine was gonna spit out a false positive on me, even though I hadn’t touched a thing in the home that wasn’t part of the job. Never the less, I kept the appointed time and stumbled through the interview and testing as best I could.

The other employee? Well, much like your one kept changing stories, this one kept finding excuses to not show up for his scheduled time. When he finally did he blurted out a confession after takin’ one look at the polygraph machine.

Both times we reimbursed the customer after confirming just who had done the dirty deed, and we only ever recovered it from one of the employees. However, we lost neither customer, although each was very specific about who they wanted in their homes in the future.

Whenever a new employee comes on, we always state explicitly that anything of [B]any [/B] value whatsoever, even if it’s a nickel, that gets found when in the process of servicing a home gets put on the nearest table/countertop, etc. We make it clear we don’t fool around with BS from anyone, right from the start, now.

I haven’t had an issue in years, due to this friendly little reminder before ever going out in the field.

Some folks will even put out a test, to see how trustworthy you are. I’ve had customers that have security systems completely hidden in the home, that they can monitor remotely. They’ll put out large amounts of cash just to see if you’re tempted or not. This is beside the point, since you shouldn’t be anyway. Just sayin’.

Always take your guys side than the customer.
Ask them in away that you are not accusing them of stealing . You always have to think like a great manager. If someone told you that you stole something how would you feel ? Now these are your guys and you have to get their trust. If you can’t get their trust they will not respect you. Maybe they replaced something and they didn’t know.


Don’t do this. The OP handled this perfectly. Had he “taken his guys side”, the guy who in fact was a theif, he would have probably lost a customer, tarnished his reputation, and most definitely had to deal with this again at some point. Playing good cop bad cop is one thing. By coming in as a friend, that you already trust they had nothing to do with any wrongdoing doesn’t put someone on the spot.

I don’t think a business owner really has to earn the trust of their employees other than paying them on time and treating them fairly. Employees however, do have to earn the trust of their employer. Customers are a business owners lifeblood, you are trusting that employee to act accordingly on your behalf, not the other way around.

Way to resurrect a 5 year old thread though!

Many years ago this actually happened to me. Within the first 2 months of owning my company. I was working with an employee/family acquaintance and within 2 days of each other, 2 customers called me to tell me about missing items. One was an irreplaceable heirloom necklace and the other an heirloom ring. I was in shock and disbelief and had no clue what to do, but after consulting with some mentors and advisers I encouraged the customers to call the police, suspended the employee, and called other customers to check if they had been satisfied with their recent experience. It was a devastating experience that could have easily ruined my company. I felt horrible all around. The cases went to court, but because the incidents had happened in different towns, and because one customer’s case was less evidence based, they could only bring one of the cases forward. He was found not guilty, but a couple jurors spoke with me later and said though there just wasn’t enough evidence, their instinct was that he was guilty. I wrote both customers a heartfelt apology, and also checked in with them so they knew that I cared what was happening. My customers didn’t sue me, or ask for insurance money. Both items were irreplaceable. I think they saw that I was deeply remorseful for their lost sense of security, and the loss of their family heirlooms, and they saw that I wanted to make amends. They both forgave me. I was very lucky, but I think being humble, open, and honest are very important in these situations. Trust was extremely difficult after that incident, and I was angry that the guy got away with it for many years after that incident. He fooled a lot of people with his character. I find myself in a similar situation of having been fooled by someone’s character and now I’m paying the consequences once again. But I learned a lot from that first incident, and that is helping me to handle this new situation. (which doesn’t involve stealing).

This thread just hit my heart today. My mom lives in Fla. She is a seamstress for a dry cleaner. 17 years she worked for this guy. Always went the xtra Mile for him . Brought work home just to get it done for him .
I just talk to her today for Easter. She quit Friday because he accused her if stealing. Now I know you don’t know
My Mom , but trust me when I say "NEVER"
She brought work home to finish for a customer an he accused her of doing it on the side . This bastard yelled in her face an told her to shut up . An listen . Long story short she quit.

More than lkely if someone has been with you for a good amount of time there colors will come out in the beginning . Not 3 years later not 17 years later within the first year

This guy is lucky cause I won’t tell my brother what happened, but he will be getting a phone call from me.
Tommorrow first thing in the morning ,

Sent from my iPhone using Window Cleaning Resource mobile app.

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Really hard situation!
First off I would tell the customer you are completely shocked by this and she is well within her rights to contact police and that you have given the 2 guys a couple of days to come forward before the police will be speaking to them.

Chances are the guilty party will come clean so as not to have to deal with police.

Hard to fire both unless you are completely sure they won’t go after you for wrongful dismissal!

Ultimately I would rather compensate her than have my company dragged through the mud locally.

Really hope this is a hypothetical scenario because it’s a horrible one to deal with.