A less common shoplifting technique used for smaller high-dollar items is the milkshake subterfuge. A milkshake is purchased by the shoplifter and taken into the store. The shoplifter proceeds to drop small heavy items like jewelry into the milkshake. On leaving the store her milkshake is unlikely to be searched. Shoplifters using this method must be wary of drinking too much of their milkshake or the items will be revealed in the bottom of their cup.
Opening the item
This is a very simple form of shoplifting that has been used for years. The shoplifter gets a small valuable item, quickly puts it in a pocket, so that CCTV cameras and store staff don't notice. Then the shoplifter goes to the public toilet, opens up the item, and flushes wrapping down the toilet. The shoplifter is sure to unwrap the item so that alarms will not go off when he or she leaves. After finishing this, the shoplifter simply walks out with it in a pocket. To combat this, many stores have policies barring unpaid merchandise from being taken into restroom facilities.
Alternatively, with DVDs or other disc type merchandise, the shoplifter picks up the item and walks away with the look of wishing to buy additional merchandise. In another area of the store, the shoplifter very precisely cuts a slit in the cellophane wrapping on the side the case opens on. Using a plastic knife (most commonly, but can be anything rigid and flat that will do little damage to the disc, such as a popsicle stick) the shoplifter pops the disc off of the internal clasp and slides the DVD out from within the case. They then leave the item's case somewhere in the store and exit with the disc hidden. Often this is not discovered until the item is purchased and opened legally.
Another smaller value version of this method is usually used in a grocery store. The shoplifter walks up to an item that they could eat or drink while browsing and does so. An empty can be discarded on any shelf in the store (stores usually do not provide a trash can so no forgetful consumer throws away what they should be purchasing). Even if the shoplifter is not finished with the item, by the time they approach the check out counter the cashier will sometimes think they came in the store with it.
Out the wrong door
This method requires a common outside door with two diverging doors from the vestibule: one for an entrance (which is not usually supervised) and one for an exit. Two people enter the store. One person retrieves merchandise from the selling floor. When this person is ready to leave the store, he waits at the entrance door. The other person walks around to the exit, walks into the vestibule and activates the entrance door on the way out, and the person with the merchandise also leaves. Sometimes the second person will just distract the cashiers while the person with the merchandise waits for some unknowing customer to enter the store and activate the entrance door.
Another variation is to exit through a fire door. Although these are alarmed, by the time staff respond, the shoplifter will be long gone. Many stores now have fire exit doors that operate with a delay - the alarm is set off several seconds before the door can be opened.
In the event of a power failure where all lighting and CCTV goes out, the shoplifter quickly grabs as much merchandise as possible and calmly leaves the establishment before power is restored.
This technique involves using a razor blade to remove or destroy security tags on merchandise. The razor blade is taped onto the fingers with medical tape to give the appearance of an injury. The blade is then used to cut off or destroy the security tags. This technique was used in the book ''Evasion''.
The receipt matching scam involves using receipts to match merchandise codes from the receipt to items found in a store. Most retailers use company specific merchandise codes on their merchandise so store personnel can identify the location more quickly and efficiently. Additionally the merchandise is used to verify merchandise that was purchased at a particular retailer during a return. This information is printed onto the receipts of purchased merchandise.
Typically shoplifters will search either retailer's parking lot or trashcans looking for receipts that have a high dollar item on it. The shoplifter then enters the store and compares the code on the receipt to the codes printed on the merchandise in the store. Once the shoplifter finds a match he will take the merchandise to the return area and receive money for it. Typically, to avoid detection, shoplifters will use a piece of paper with the merchandise code they are looking for written on it.
Another variation is to purchase the target item, then leave the store, and send a friend back in with the receipt to obtain the same item. The friend can either return the item right then, or leave the store with a second target item.
A person walks into a retail store and buys a high-value item, such as an iPod. On the way out he gives the receipt to a friend who enters the store, receipt in hand, picks up the same high-value item and a low-value accessory, at the checkout he shows the receipt to the cashier explaining he already bought the item, but walked back to buy the accessory. The accessory is then purchased, and thus the thieves get two for the price of one. This method is combated by locked merchandise.
Rope and fenceline
In large retail stores such as Home Depot and Walmart that have Garden areas where there is no ceiling, two shoplifters will attempt to steal merchandise. One shoplifter will wait outside, while the shoplifter inside will take a cart full of merchandise (such as drills or sawblades) to the garden center. The shoplifter inside will then tie the merchandise to the rope, and throw the rope over the fenceline, and the shoplifter waiting on the other side will untie it and take it.
At some larger retailers, such as Wal-Mart, customers have the option of using self-checkout lanes, in which customers do not interact with employees at all when making purchases but check themselves out at a computer. Customers are expected to scan the items that they wish to purchase, insert payment for the scanned items, then bag the items and leave the store. Shoplifters have been known to purchase small items with these machines, and place additional items in their bags without paying for them. In some grocery stores with salad bars, thieves can find the UPC for a small salad and place a pack of cigarettes on the weighted scanner, type the UPC for a salad, and get away with a cheaper pack of cigarettes. Many shoplifters intentionally act slightly confused when using these machines, and act as if they are attempting to scan the item which they wish to steal, so that, if confronted, they can claim that they took the additional items by mistake.
NOTE: The majority of these self check out machines have scales under the shopping bags (where you place the item after scanning). The scale checks that the amount of items in the bag weighs the same that is scanned. If the weight is off, generally, the supervising attendant will be signaled to come to the station for assistance.