Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Tiffany & Co. Jewel Thief: Why Employee Accountability Is Essential

Female burglar holding diamond bracelet
former Tiffany & Co. executive was recently arrested for stealing and reselling a stash of jewelry for a total of over $1 million and is now facing up to 20 years in prison.

Because the former exec had authorization to check out jewelry, she had no difficulty obtaining the pieces. To avoid suspicion, she would only steal jewelry pieces that cost less than $10,000, knowing that Tiffany only took daily inventory of checked-out items worth more than $25,000. In four months, she stole over 160 pieces of jewelry and illegally sold them to an international dealer, receiving 75 checks for amounts up to $47,400.

Without a doubt, Tiffany takes measures to secure its jewelry against unauthorized removal, but the tale of the exec-turned-jewel-thief seems to indicate that employees are only held accountable up to a certain point (i.e., if they check out jewelry worth more than $25,000).

This story illustrates an important security lesson: When it comes to securing expensive items such as jewelry, it's vital to keep a verifiable record of each time an employee removes a key to check out these items, making it possible to hold employees accountable and maintain tighter security.

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