How To Prevent Food and Beverage Theft From Your Warehouse

Criminals are beginning to take advantage of a bit of a loophole when it comes to cargo theft. Food and beverage theft is on the rise because the penalties for stealing the goods are less severe than the penalties for stealing other items like pharmaceuticals and technology.

warehouse security

There’s a black market for everything,” New Jersey state police detective Oliver Sissman told, discussing the investigation following the theft of 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese. And this is why food and drink warehouse managers and business owners should equip their warehouses with professionally installed security equipment.

In 2015 Freightwatch International, a global logistics security services company, noted that 178 cargo thefts were reported in that year’s second quarter alone, averaging approximately $189,307 per heist. According to the same study, food and beverage thefts comprised 16 percent of those heists. At an annual rate, this would amount to approximately $21 million worth of stolen food and beverage goods.

Just this past summer in San Antonio, Texas police arrested three men for allegedly stealing about $190,000 worth of goods from an H-E-B warehouse, according to The three stole numerous pallets of produce from the warehouse and resold the goods on the streets for cheaper prices. The burglars were actually H-E-B warehouse employees, and believe it or not, employee theft is a common occurrence within the warehousing industry.

Food, specifically produce, is very easy to resell. This is because a tomato, for example, doesn’t have a traceable serial number. It can be very tempting for a low wage worker to take some items home in hopes of reselling the goods.

We spoke to Dave Zulawski CFI, CFE, a founding partner of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc. about warehouse employee theft and he gave us some valuable information.

“In a warehousing environment, where your big losses are going to come if you’ve got somebody who is working in collusion with a vendor and they’re buying pallets,” Zulawski said. “Well, if nobody is counting the pallets, or if the person is counting the pallets is saying you got 150, but you only got 100, you’re getting billed for something that doesn’t exist. While that’s not a product loss, it could be a significant financial loss to that warehouse.”

This is why screening your employees and addressing concerns early is an extremely important element of warehouse security. It’s also essential to have a CCTV video surveillance security system installed in your warehouse.

“Certainly if you’re monitoring what’s going on in the trucks, you’re going to see, ‘ok we were supposed to put four pallets of product on here and all of the sudden there’s a fifth pallet going on and that’s not on the manifest.’ You could then use your cameras in that way to investigate,” Zulawski said.

So what’s the best way to prevent employee theft from occurring? There’s actually a pretty simple solution.

“You want to limit the number of exits that are available to the employees,” Zulawski said. “Some of the biggest problems that we have in internal investigations is when there is no perimeter security and people can come and go out of any door that they want, they can park anywhere they want and it doesn’t take long for them to realize, ‘well, I can take a case of this and set it in my car when I’m on break.’ Controlling the perimeter of the warehouse and the bays where your truckers come and go are critical points in a warehousing situation.”

This is why installing security cameras, motion detection and perimeter protection, and a comprehensive card-based “Access Control” solution (where every scan is date/time stamped and logged) from a professional security system can save a warehouse from devastation.

No matter how complex or sophisticated the threat to your business, Supreme can design and build a system to meet your precise needs and requirements. These expertly installed systems can be seamlessly integrated into other systems, such as fire and environmental monitoring for maximum safety and security. If reading this blog made you realize that the entry and exit points in your warehouse may be vulnerable, consider installing professional perimeter security.

Contact us to learn more about home & business security solutions.