Thief Pretends To Work At Target, Steals $17k Worth Of iPods

The North Miami police are looking for Antonio McKenzie, a “fake Target clerk” suspected of stealing numerous iPod Touches from Target Department Stores in South Florida.

Mr. McKenzie (allegedly) dresses up as a Target employee, wearing a red polo shirt and khaki pants, and pretends to work at the store before grabbing the iPods.

“North Miami Beach police officials say he has extensive knowledge of Target procedures and has even assisted customers,” reports CBS4.

Police say Mr. McKenzie has stolen $17,000 worth of iPods.

Fake Target Clerk Steals $17K In iPods [CBS4 via Switched]

Comments

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  1. UpsetPanda says:

    He might be a thief, but it’s possible he’s more helpful than most Target employees.

  2. MissTic says:

    Our Target keeps the iPods (and similar items) behind glass in a locked case. In fact, it’s a pain to track down an employee with a key!

    Does “extensive knowledge of Target procedures” include where they keep the key?

  3. Szin says:

    I must say…I’m impressed!

  4. youbastid says:

    @MissTic: I’m gonna guess he took them from the stockroom…there usually aren’t $17,000 worth of iPods on display. Not to mention the extra attention drawn to taking every single iPod off the store shelf.

  5. youbastid says:

    @youbastid: Cancel that, I RTFA’d, he’s taken them from over 3 different stores. Could’ve been either, I guess.

  6. sleze69 says:

    “and has even assisted customers”

    Should have been the first giveaway that he didn’t work there.

  7. ClayS says:

    @sleze69:
    Now that’s funny!

  8. Munsoned says:

    Deja vu?

  9. DeeJayQueue says:

    @MissTic: “where they keep the key” you mean, on the hip of the electronics associate or the LOD? Cause that’s where they keep the key.

    @youbastid: even in the back room the ipods and other small electronics are locked up. At least they were in the Target I used to work at.

    The only thing I can think of is that he went into the hallway next to customer service where they push the carts full of returned merch waiting to get fetched by the department, and pilfered the stuff from there.

    This is sad, because I always thought Target was pretty cool for having a relatively open dress code (just khaki pants and any red shirt with sleeves and no logos) for retail. Best Buy, Circuit City, even *-Mart uniforms are pretty tough to fake because of the embroidery or the custom vests or whatever.

  10. ludwigk says:

    I suppose its good that this will raise awareness of potential systemic problems in their loss prevention procedures.

    Its kinda sad that this guy walks in and out with tons of iPods and nobody stops to ask “hey, do you work here?”

  11. DashTheHand says:

    $17000 / 3 = approx $5,666

    Lets assume he stole the highest end iPods available recently (not counting 32GB since it just came out).

    $5,666 / $399 = approx 14 iPods per theft

    Ok, I’ll bite. How did this guy fit *at minimum* 14 iPods on his person and able to make it out of the store unnoticed?

  12. arch05 says:

    @DeeJayQueue: You think the dress code is ‘cool’? I think it looks sloppy, with some workers wearing old faded tshirts and others wearing stovepipe jnco-type khakis. Fugly.

  13. m4ximusprim3 says:

    1) He looks like bernie mac.

    2) @DashTheHand: Probably in a box or bag. Possibly out the back in a trash bag, heading in the general direction of the dumpster? Thats how I’d do it.

  14. BlondeGrlz says:

    He probably did this over a period of time, not one day. Turnover can be SUPER high at Target (I used to work in HR) especially during the holidays. It would not be hard to just wear red & khaki, tell people you were new (or sent to help from another store) and have them give you access. As long as you stayed away from the Hardlines manager and perhaps the Electronics Specialist, no one would know. Hell, I can even give you a real Target name tag that says Bob if you want.

  15. missbheave (is not convinced) says:

    I’m amazed this hasn’t happened before given that employees are generally scarce and anyone can walk in wearing their “uniform.”

  16. DrGirlfriend says:

    I have to admire his ingenuity. He hatched a plan, did his research, and put his plan into action.

  17. UX4themasses says:

    he is walking through the security (see chrome things behind the pic). I would assume that the iPod box/packaging would have some theft protection. Especially at such a large store.

    Methinks this was more than snatch and walk, he had to disable the security (if there is any) and attempt to get the stuff out the front door. I wonder if he just throws the stuff out and comes back later to grab it.

  18. RothRandom says:

    Wow. How in the world did that happen? Obviously, if he could do it, anyone else can.

  19. MissTic says:

    You know what’s really funny? On more than one occassion, I’ve seen customers walking around Target in a red shirt/khaki pants and assumed they were employees. They do seem to have a loose interpretation of the dress code – I’ve seen some employees pushing the bounds of the color chart in deep burgandy shirts and really dark brown pants. No wonder it’s so easy to blend in.

  20. HalOfBorg says:

    I wonder if he got anybody’s credit card info?

  21. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Once, I was in the electronics department wearing a red t-shirt and bending over in between two shelves trying to figure out what kind of outputs were on the back of a dvd player. An elderly man actually came up and tapped me on the ass and asked me where the sporting goods were.

    I was so surprised, I just showed him which way to go and pretended I worked there. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he just poked the ass of another customer.

    Guess I should have stolen some stuff too.

  22. UpsetPanda says:

    If I had a not-quite-Target-approved shirt on, I’d probably weigh buying a few new red shirts vs. how much I’m getting paid to wear them. One of the reasons the Target dress code is okay is because it is simple. Red shirt, khakis. You don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of money just to conform to the dress code. When I worked retail, I was required to wear a black blazer jacket, which I ended up buying for $20 at Kohls and was somewhat ill-fitting because the quality sucked. But I wasn’t going to spend $60 for a jacket just because of a retail job for the summer. I suspect a lot of people choose Target because the pay is comparable and the dress code is less demanding than say, Abercrombie, where the average “vintage” t-shirt is $30.

  23. cybercjh says:

    Ha! I once went into Target with khakis and a red polo on. Didn’t think twice about it. It was just what I had on that day. After the third person asked me where something was, I asked, “Why do you think I work here?” And they said, “You’re dressed like you do.” If there was a light bulb above my head, it would have exploded. I just cracked up. Couldn’t believe how dumb I was. Anyway, I decided to conduct an experiment after that. I went home put on a dark blue polo like they wear at Wal-Mart and then went to Wal-Mart. I walked around that store for damn near an hour and nobody asked me anything. It was just as I suspected … Nobody expects help from a Wal-Mart employee. I wonder if I still had my red polo on if someone would have asked me something. “Excuse me, where is the dog food?” “I don’t work at Wal-Mart. I work at Target.” “Oh, that’s right.” “But, and I’m just guessing here, you’ll probably find the dog food in the pet department.” “Thanks!” HAHAHA. LOL.

  24. floyderdc says:

    Walked into a Best Buy once circa 1998 wearing a blue polo and khaki pants. I was pestered by everbody. I could not stand it. Had I know then what I know now I could have a little fun.

  25. Buran says:

    How many boxes of rocks do you think he got?

  26. FishingCrue says:

    I’ve been asked for help wearing a burgundy polo and jeans at Target on more than one occasion. It’s to the point that as I walk in I have to take note of what I’m wearing.

  27. mac-phisto says:

    @UpsetPanda & floyderdc: “aisle 28!”

    when i worked at a supermarket, that was code in my department for “i don’t know where it is”. see, our department was on the opposite side of the store from aisle 28, so it made sense that if you sent a customer all the way to the other side of the store, they would inevitably find someone else to ask when they discovered it wasn’t actually in aisle 28.

    comically, there was the occasional moron that would walk all the way back & respond that the item in question wasn’t actually in aisle 28, in which case you responded with, “oh, i’m sorry sir, i meant aisle 27″.

  28. UpsetPanda says:

    @Buran: I hope he got more tiles. You can redecorate with those.

  29. redhelix says:

    Heh, I guess it’s all about the environment. My brother and I wear band t-shirts a lot and have been approached by people a bunch of times in various record stores asking where stuff is. One time a lady asked us where some CD was in FYE, where they wear grey polo shirts and khakis. Both of us were in black hoodies and jeans!

  30. Anonymous says:

    @floyderdc: Check out Improv Everywhere’s Best Buy mission for a good laugh.

  31. solace says:

    To all who’s been mistaken/pretended to be an employee of a large retail store:

    [www.improveverywhere.com]

    Wish I could pull something like that off where I live.

  32. Angryrider says:

    Ha! Ha! Those Targets deserved it! Were they that stupid enough to realize that there was a stranger walking around the storehouses? He HIT THREE STORES!!! How could anyone not notice that? And I’m pretty sure employees are supposed to wear their IDs, usually hanging from the pants, at all times. At least at my Target.

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    Supervisors realized he wasn’t a real employee when they noticed him helping a customer.

  34. DamThatRiver says:

    @redhelix: I’ve been approached for help in Target while wearing a black System of a Down t-shirt.

    Some people’s children…

  35. Empire says:

    @mac-phisto: That was you?!

    Jerk. After aisles 28 & 27, I decided you didn’t have it and just left.

  36. crackblind says:

    1. Buy red shirt & Khakis.
    2. Steal iPods from Target.
    3. Profit!

  37. savdavid says:

    I give him an A for guts and business planning.

  38. mac010 says:

    My sister works for Target as the head of HR for a store (dept manager technically). She told me about this a few weeks ago. The guy will go up to the normal Electronics employee, ask for the keys to help a guest (when the regular employee is busy helping someone else) and then take the Ipods out of the case. What isn’t seen in this picture, is the fake namebadge that he made for himself.

    Disabling the electronic tag would be a joke. The magnetic pads are sitting at the registers by the Electronics cash registers (guests would often lay movies on them when checking out).

  39. deweydecimated says:

    I’ve had customers assume I work in stores while I’m shopping there. I usually help if I actually know the information, but not if they’re rude. One guy in a Kohl’s asked me where something was (the wifebeaters, IIRC), and when I replied I didn’t know and didn’t work in the store, he actually argued with me. “But you’re helping that guy find pants!” “And I’m married to him.”

  40. XTC46 says:

    many people who work in retail devolpe a way they walk around another store. It is more definitive and not really browsing. I get asked if i know where stuff is all the time because I rarely browse for stuff, I walk with a specific purpose and tend to wear slacks and a collard shirt, and have a bad habit of straightening shelves that are messy from my years of retail.

  41. DeltaPurser says:

    I’m telling you… If some of these crooks put their evil minds into something good, they’d be waaaaay ahead of themselves!

  42. lockdog says:

    @mac-phisto: See, its people doing things like that to their customers that makes Lowes have their policy that I can ask some poor schmuck in plumbing about something all the way over in hardwoods and they have to walk me all they way their instead of just telling me an aisle. But its still funny! As an aside, I have a really good geo-spatial memory and during my high school stint at a supermarket if someone asked me where something was I told them not only what aisle, but the side of the aisle, how far down the aisle and roughly how high the shelf was. Drove coworkers crazy…especially the ones with years of seniority on me.

  43. s0m3guy says:

    This is actually a pretty smart plan, one that would most likely work during the christmas rush, but should not possibly work at this time of year. Im the team lead for the electronics department at my Target, and I could very easily see how well this would work. Especially if he had been doing his research on our policies for dealing with the lock up items.

    It would be as simple as asking one of the team members for the key to assist a guest with ipods. Then when you hand them back the key you rub the ipod on the magnetic pad next to the register and tell them they are running it to guest service. Easy as that. But at this time of year, there are so few team members because the hours are cut horribly for most stores. The daytime team all know one another and should instantly suspect a person trying to pull this off. Though with a plausible enough story I doubt any team member would really question it.

  44. Leohat says:

    My sympathy for Target is extactly ZERO.

  45. @sleze69: LOL!

  46. karmaghost says:

    That is so awesome. I understand that it’s totally illegal, but it continues to be awesome.

  47. irid3sc3nt says:

    Ugh, wearing red and khaki together out in public is disgusting.

    Gotta admit, the thief has a lot of chutzpah.

  48. Oshawapilot says:

    Your plan on stealing iPods worked out.

    So your a thief, but apparently not a very smart one – you forgot to disable the security cameras.

    Fail.

  49. Nitero says:

    It looks like Gary Colemans older brother…. hell maybe his nephew! i am telling ya, this reaks of coleman!

  50. @Buran:
    better yet, do you think the reason he got busted was for trying to exchange a box full of rocks that he had originally stolen?

  51. parad0x360 says:

    How could he get at them? They are locked up on the sales floor and the electronics stock room door is also locked.

    Its also Target policy to not let anyone in the electronics (zone 9) stockroom alone, you need someone from Electronics dept to open the door as they have the only key besides a high level manager. Then the Electronics person waits in the room with you while you do whatever you do.

    This makes little sense. Unless he is duping people who work there into making them think he works there. I guess thats possible but thats a tricky scam.

    Either that or this Target isnt following their own rules to prevent theft and if thats the case heads will roll.

  52. Leah says:

    @m4ximusprim3: I’ve totally done the same. I wear red a lot (but never khakis), and I’ve definitely ended up helping people several times.

    then again, I help people a lot in any store. The other day, in Rite-Aid, a guy asked an employee about alcohol free mouthwashes. The employee just shrugs and goes “um, I have no idea.” As for me, I glanced at the mouthwash on the shelf right next to us, picked one up, and said “this one says alcohol free on the label! Here you go, sir.”

    Maybe I should go work in retail.

  53. For the last decade, employers like Target, Kmart, and Walmart have done everything in their power to turn retail jobs into low wage, mindless labor; they hire and fire at will, without any thought to the long-range consequences of their actions; they offer the bare minimum in healthcare benefits and very little in terms of advancement within the company. In short, they treat their employees like easily replaceable drones. Is it any wonder that this pretend employee was able to get away with this theft?

    Long-term employees who are well-treated and earn a living wage are more vested in their company. They care about their store and would most likely notice some joker trying to pass himself off as one of them.

  54. Tonguetied says:

    @deweydecimated:
    You could have said instead of “And I’m married to him.”
    “And later on I’m gonna sleep with him!”

    [www.snopes.com]

  55. PeterLynn says:

    Of course it’s wrong, but I still hope this guy gets away with it. Maybe he can put on some dark blue shirt and pants, wander into the North Miami police department, and tell a desk clerk that the warrant for Antonio McKenzie’s arrest has been cancelled.

  56. PeterLynn says:

    Although what this guy did is clearly wrong, I still hope he gets away with it. Maybe he can just put on a dark blue shirt and pants, stroll into the North Miami police department, and tell a desk clerk to cancel the warrant for his arrest.

  57. PeterLynn says:

    Oh, so my original post finally appears just as I finish retyping it. Maybe I can put on a fedora like the guy in the logo, walk into the Consumerist offices, and use their computers to delete my duplicate comment.

  58. puyro {who was banned for "junk comments" what? says:

    I go to Walmart all the time in my red, logo embroidered shirt, and get asked all the time if I work there. Ugh.

    Then again, when I am at work, organizing DVDs, with a walkie on, and in a red and black uniform, I again get asked if I work there.

    Go figure.

  59. puyro {who was banned for "junk comments" what? says:

    Oh and to the person who asked how he could possibly fit 14 Ipods on himself:

    The Ipod touch has a pretty small box. The top slides completely over the bottom. If the Ipods arent in individual cases, which I’m assuming they’re not, all you have to do is open the box (it’s sealed with just a clear round sticker) and you have an extremely thin Ipod to put in a pocket. For most guys pants, including khakis, the pockets are huge. Plus since the Ipod itself does not have any security tag on it, he would not beep going out the door.

  60. JragonFli says:

    @DashTheHand: I am with Target Asset Protection (Security) and I have seen the videos. He usually walks into the store through the main entrance, walks straight to electronics and starts helping guests. When it gets really buisy, he walks up to the electronics cashier (Who is helping a guest in line) and says he needs the keys for a second to help someone in personal audio. He then opens the I-Pod case and places between 6 and 15 I-Pods in a Target bag he brought in with him. He then leaves the key and exits out the Garden center doors, which rarely have security at it.

  61. radiochief says:

    If only that guy could harness his guile for good!

    Speaking of mistaken identity… I have a North Face blue vest that I wear in the fall. When I stop into Wal-Mart to shop, especially if I have my work IDs on– people ask me questions all the time.

    “No, sorry I don’t work here, but I can help you…”