Home Depot Exec Describes Soaring Violent Threats From Shoplifters In Congressional Testimony

"Retailers are not exaggerating the problem."
MOUNT PROSPECT, IL - FEBRUARY 19: A Home Depot sign is seen through one of its orange shopping carts February 19, 2004 in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, will announce its 4th Quarter and Fiscal Year 2003 Earnings February 24, 2004. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

A top Home Depot executive told a congressional panel Tuesday that the company is facing increasingly dangerous threats from shoplifting.

Scott Glenn, head of loss prevention at Home Depot, said employees have been threatened with weapons and even been killed in some cases since 2020, when the company saw a “significant uptick” in workers coming into “violent contact with bad actors.”

“Retailers are not exaggerating the problem,” Glenn said during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence.

Overall, retailers across the country lost $112.1 billion due to theft last year, up from $93.9 billion in 2021 and $90.8 billion in 2020, according to this year’s National Retail Security Survey.

“These individuals are becoming increasingly aggressive, they are dangerous, and often care little about any consequence other than getting out of the store with as much as possible,” Glenn said. “I want to be very clear that we’re not talking about petty shoplifting. We’re talking about theft for greed, not theft for need.”

In April, a Home Depot security guard in California was fatally shot by a woman who was stealing a phone charger and fled in a car driven by her boyfriend with her two-year-old child in the back seat. The victim, Blake Mohs, 26, was a Boy Scout leader and was engaged to marry his fiancée, Kasey.


Last year, an elderly Home Depot worker also died after a serial shoplifter shoved him down onto a concrete floor.

The spike in organized retail crime has also forced Home Depot to lock up valuable products and hire off-duty cops, among other security measures, Glenn said.

“There’s the myth that [organized retail crime] rings happen only in big cities. Unfortunately criminals don’t discriminate,” Glenn said, saying this type of crime is happening “everywhere,” even in suburban areas.

Home Depot has more than 2,000 stores and more than 490,000 employees across the U.S.

Glenn pointed to several issues he said he believes are root causes of the crime spike, including the drug crisis, third-party marketplaces that make it easy for criminals to resell goods, and a lack of resources for law enforcement.

A bill sponsored by one of the House committee members, Representative Dina Titus (D-NV), the “Combating Organized Retail Crime Act,” would launch a federal response across multiple agencies to fight organized retail theft.

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