Kmart Employee Busted For Letting Relatives Walk Out With Shopping Carts Full Of Stolen Stuff

Employee theft is a serious problem for retailers. It makes prices go up and return policies more strict. So when we hear about an employee getting busted for such a spectacularly stupid, yet probably effective and routinely performed scam we are glad.

Police arrested Derrick Devin Smith, 18, and his aunt, Eyvonne Marie Johnson, 29, both of Des Moines, on charges of second-degree theft involving some $1,082 in allegedly stolen property,according to the Des Moines Register.

Smith and his aunt pulled a real Ocean’s 11 caliber scam. The aunt filled her cart with the items she needed. Smith pretended to ring them up. You can guess what’s coming next. From the police report:

“Derrick’s aunt, Eyvonne Johnson, came into the store and put numerous items in a shopping cart and went through Derrick’s check-out line. Derrick scanned a couple of items to make it look like Eyvonne paid for it all. Then Eyvonne walked out the front door with a cart full of unpaid property.”

Smith admitted to letting his friends do the same thing. One too many times though, it seems.

Kmart employee fired in alleged theft scam [Des Moines Register]


Edit Your Comment

  1. joeblevins says:

    What else is he supposed to do with name like Derrick Devin? He has been scared..

    We already know that Eyvonne has issues. Heck, her mother couldn’t even make up a name should could spell.

  2. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    Whats a K-Mart?

  3. Sudonum says:

    Maybe he could be a porn star, but perhaps lacks the equipment?

  4. slapstick says:

    I know a girl who got busted for the same thing working at Target’s garden center. She got away with it for a few months, so I’m sure it’s effective.

  5. What kind of “quality” goods can you steal from K-Mart?

    I bet the total value of the whole shopping cart full of stolen items was less than $100.


  6. Coder4Life says:

    @Tian: Or it was worth $1082 like the article says.

    But anyways once again IOWA makes it on Consumerist I liikeee! I live about 5 minutes from that KMART

    Go Consumerist!!!

    who shops at kmart anyways, ever since they filed bankrupcy I stopped going…

  7. Wormfather says:

    K-Mart is like the Wal-Mart of Targets.

    Have fun with that.

  8. jwarner132 says:

    When I worked at Best Buy, I saw an employee get fired for the same scam. The General Manager made him repay the store for all of the losses, and then STILL pressed charges against the kid.

  9. acambras says:

    And THIS is probably a big reason why some stores want to do receipt checks for all exiting customers.

  10. lordkenyon says:

    Guess the blue light from their specials was really just the police cruiser.

  11. Bay State Darren says:

    @ScramDiggyBooBoo: It’s a bad place to work, I know that much for a fact. [I’m bitter enough that I’m tempted to wish they’d succeeded. But I know better. Kinda]

  12. mopar_man says:


    I do. I have my choice of K-Mart, ShopKo or Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart gets none of my business. ShopKo and K-Mart split my business.

  13. chimmike says:

    this is the biggest “duh” ever.

    Criminals amaze me. Is it adrenaline that tells them stupid stuff like “you’ll never get caught”, etc?

  14. ACruzer says:


    Good call… beat me to it

  15. mikeatnight says:

    I worked for the evil empire…errr walmart as an assistant manager for about 2 years(hated it BTW) and we busted a checker who was doing a similar thing for friends and family. She was using Kool-Ade packages over the barcodes. People were walking out with DVD players, DVDs, CDs and other stuff after paying about $1.00 for 6 packs of Kool-Ade.

  16. quagmire0 says:

    This is the type of scam that you’d want to do maybe once, and then never mention it to another soul! Because you have to figure out two things: 1. The store is going to notice a sudden uptick in stolen merchandise and 2. The more people you tell, the more likely the wrong people will find out.

  17. LintMan says:

    This scam’s been around a long time. A cashier I worked with in the late 80’s at a supermarket was busted for the same thing. It’s probably hard for stores to catch if it’s not too blatant.

  18. banned says:

    I need to marry into one of these families because I could sure use some free stuff :p

  19. Toof_75_75 says:


    Agreed…If you were going to pull this off, it seems like you should make one big strike and then never say a word about it! As LintMan said, it is unlikely that anyone will notice as long as it’s not every couple of days or something.

  20. foghat81 says:

    @mikeatnight: that’s actually sort clever at first….but it’s way too easy for somebody to see the total screen and realize $1 is crazy low.

    A friend of mine was a cashier at Home Depot for a few months and would do stuff like this with a couple other friends. They’d put some slightly valuable item in a tool box and put the whole thing down on checkout lane. The security strips would be deactivated for everything, not just the toolbox. Viola — pay for a toolbox, get the stuff inside for free.

    also worked to an extent with those huge 5 gallon buckets.

    shady character this one

  21. spanky says:


    I don’t understand why, really, but that is so true.

  22. Keeko_ca says:

    Back in the day, I used to work at a store called The Bay while I went to school. Anyways, this kid I was working with was studying to become a cop. He got busted letting his friends walk out with everything under the sun, approx. $16,000 worth of merchandise. No joke.

    What he did was have his associate actually buy the item, then they’d return the item…err…they’d PRETEND to return the item by basically bringing said item in, he’d give them a refund, and let them walk out with the item.

    Worked well until greed consumed him…Ahahahahhahaha!

    …wonder how well his cop studies went?

  23. adrock75 says:

    I would rather shop in WalMart’s bathroom than have to set foot in a Kmart.

  24. Bourque77 says:

    I’ve said it before employee theft account for almost 80% of theft in stores like that. Its not a suprise that they eventually get caught.

  25. mopar_man says:


    The K-Mart here must be different than everywhere else. It’s clean and the employees look like they enjoy their job. Exactly opposite of the Wal-Mart 100 yards away.

  26. Snakeophelia says:

    I would rather shop in WalMart’s bathroom than have to set foot in a Kmart.

    Actually, the K-mart near us is much nicer than any of the WalMarts. However, I bought $60 worth of stuff there on Saturday and that filled three bags – how on earth did they fit $1000 worth in a cart?

    And this scam has been around since the dawn of time (or cash registers). When I was a cashier in 1985, we were told (a) that we could not check out our own friends and family and (b) we would be subject to random buggy checks to be sure we rang up the items 100% accurately.

  27. methane says:

    Back in the HS days, I knew of a guy who would do this for his friends at Media Play. Ring them up on a key-ring or pack of gum and let them walk out with a CD or whatever else.


  28. Thrust says:

    You read an article like this, and can’t help but think that if people are this damned “honest” when shopping, are those self-serve checkouts at Home Depot all that great of an idea?

  29. The Bigger Unit says:

    I guess the “toolbox” story is why the self-checkouts have a scale. Your ring-up of a filled up 40 lb toolbox might be problematic in that case…

  30. Jasmo says:

    I don’t understand – stores like this pay these kids good money for the privilege of working there – and then they turn around and steal!

  31. TWinter says:

    @Tian: You can hit $100 easily by picking up a couple packages of razor blades.

  32. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    This is an old, old scam. Roseanne Barr/Arnold/etc. wrote a book (or “wrote” a “book”, if you prefer) once, in which she explained why commission-only salespeople in malls dressed so well even though they had zero sales skills: they had mutual larceny agreements with their friends who worked in other stores, so they could have all the free clothes that they wanted without being caught with their own stores’ inventory.

    In the early nineties, I worked for a short time in retail (drug store), and most of the training video seemed to center around employee theft, and we were specifically warned against “pass-around” scams in which it looked from most angles that we were scanning merch before bagging it, but were in fact moving it in a semi-circle around the scanner so that it didn’t really ring up. We were told, up front, that there were security cameras over our heads to catch us in this very act; that, and my experience with custodial engineering for Target (not nearly as much fun as the movies would have you believe, trust me) lead me to think that employee or employee-aided theft is waaaaay more of a problem than shoplifting.

  33. Buran says:

    @acambras: They can want to all they want. Unless it’s a “members only” store, they can’t do a thing if you keep walking.

  34. Trackback says:

    The Verve reuniting and this Chris Benoit shit is almost too much to bear. If Alex Rodriguez is discovered to actually be in a band, that is the only thing that would supercede the weirdness of this day.  More on the greatest band ever besides Jason Pierce’s here and here.

  35. raybury says:

    I worked for a good-sized regional department store chain fifteen years ago, and what struck me in the monthly newsletters was that the number of employees caught was 1/10th the number of outside shoplifters, but the value of their theft and fraud was 10x as much.

  36. nhme says:

    Did you know that there’s a database called “Esteem” through which these giant retailers share info on employees who they think might have stolen/shoplifted? It’s like that permanent record thing we all grew up fearing, but it’s for real.

  37. dohtem says:

    This is an old trick that every kid thinks they are the first one to come up with.

    Here’s a new twist. I used to work for a retail store that would let customers buy items and for a nominal fee, ship them to any address in the US (mainly for gift giving). The backroom where the items where shipped from was also the same place new items were received every morning. And there was no supervision. Security was focused on the main entrances in the store. You can guess what happened.

    The kids in the back room shipping the items started popping DVDs and CDs and shipping them to their friends. This was real clever. There were no cameras on the loading dock, no security, the shipping was already paid (business account with FedEx), no risk of walking out of the store with it.

    I dunno how but they got caught and charged.

  38. WhatsMyNameAgain says:

    HOW do you get caught doing this, unless you’re a complete idiot? This kid was an idiot, obviously. Best to do small amounts at a time.

    I’ve, uh, done proper “research,” and trust me… Shoplifting is simple. I don’t like the shipping idea… Too much of a paper trail.

    Back in my day, I used to just consider it one of my fringe benefits. For the amount I used to get screwed over on my paycheck and hours, I think we were just about even.

  39. eli_b says:

    I worked in a K-mart in high school about 10 years ago and one of the ladies at the service desk was refunding stolen merch. 40 grand worth. Think she got caught?

  40. Major-General says:

    Frankly, who likes their relatives enough to do this?

  41. tdave365 says:

    I guess I’m confused. Why is this described as effective? The bigger question should be why the parties involved here ever thought it was feasible to cart out basket loads of stuff and expect they would never get caught? Between computer inventory tracking, surveillance cameras, and just plain ol’ common sense, it sounds like the dumbest thing in the world to try. Could this be a diversion scam where in fact they were trying to go to jail?

  42. bnissan97 says:

    Shame they got caught. K-Mart rapes the employee by paying them a low pittance. Turn about is fair play.

  43. thepassenger says:

    Long time ago I worked in a bookstore. Book buyers get lots of free books from their sales reps. Before there were places like to sell books quick & easy, a buyer at the store where I worked would “return” her free books for credit to her credit card. Like most of these things, she eventually got caught (because she returned too many books at one time and the manager noticed the large, suspicious return amount) and was fired.

  44. lonelymaytagguy says:

    I was a stock boy at one of the discount department stores that Wal-Mart eventually put out of business — this was in 1965.

    The back door was locked, chained, and alarmed and security had to be present when we opened it. One of the other employees used to slide record albums (picture a 12 inch CD) under the door and pick them up later.

    The receiver used to mark shipments of TV’s short and sell the sets back to the truck drivers.

    An assistant manager set up an extra checkout on a card table during busy times with a spare cash register that wasn’t accounted for and take the cash out in his pocket.

    A department manager would let his friends select their merchandise, then he took their items into the stock room and repacked it in boxes that cheaper stuff came in. He threw the cheap stuff away and rang up the now cheaper goods with his employee discount.

    The only person who ever got caught was the extra cash register guy. He told the police about all the other scams going on, but they didn’t believe him.

    Never mind the part about Wal-Mart. I guess the chain self-destructed.