- Ryan Davis,
ISU senior & Kmart loss prevention
It was just like any other typical Wednesday night at Kmart. Around 15 minutes before the start of the closing shift a few of us met outside the front door to have a cigarette before clocking in.
Two puffs into my only enjoyment of the night, a young kid came bursting through the front doors and began his mad dash for freedom right beside us. It was fairly obvious the kid was a shoplifter and he more than likely thought he was a free man when he saw what he thought was the last line of Kmart security all on a smoke break.
Unfortunately for him, we were not the last line of defense for Big K. That position belongs to Illinois State senior Ryan Davis, and he takes it pretty seriously.
Davis began working his part-time loss prevention job at Kmart a little over six months ago, and in that time has already thwarted more than ten shoplifting attempts.
“When I first started here it was tough to catch anybody because the old guy who was training me wasn’t too great at catching anybody,” Davis said. “He left after like a month only though and from then on it’s only gotten easier to find people stealing.”
Kmart store manager Ron Burnett could not be happier with the performance Davis has given so far.
“Ryan has done such a fantastic job stepping in as one of the new LP’s,” Burnett said. “Since he has started we have seen a significantly higher number of people caught shoplifting. It makes me sad we only get to have him for another month or two.”
That is because Davis graduates from ISU in May and afterwards has a full-time job as a police officer waiting for him in his hometown of Orland Park. His pursuit of a career in law enforcement is what led him to loss prevention at Kmart in the first place.
“There aren’t too many places in a college town where you can build up a law enforcement background part-time,” Davis said. “Loss prevention at a department store was seriously the closest I could find and I think it has actually helped me out a lot. I never thought it would be this demanding.”
During the weekends he was not working, Davis was required to make the commute back to Orland Park in order to qualify for their police department. He had to pass both a written and physical test in order to be considered for any position.
“The written test was fairly simple, a lot of it is pretty much common sense or stuff straight from the book,” Davis said. “The physical test was a lot tougher though. The toughest part for me was being able to bench press your weight. I’m a big guy at 230 pounds so it makes it hard.”
At the store for more than half a year, Davis has keyed in on some of the products that are a fan favorite for shoplifters. He said watches, pocket knives and DVDs are what most people think they can get away with the easiest.
However, those are not the only things Davis has caught people trying to nab. He said the strangest thing he has ever seen somebody try to steal was a full-size grill still in the box.
“The customer was actually pretty smart about it, I kind of got lucky catching him,” Davis said. “The only reason I was following him was because I saw he was pushing one of the flatbeds himself and normally one of the closing guys will do that. I stopped him outside when he wheeled it straight to the parking lot without paying.”
So as the young shoplifter ran past us in front of the store and got to about Circuit City he started to take it easy thinking he was safe. That was right when Davis came sprinting past and in the blink of an eye had the shoplifter in his grasp and heading back to the store. A golf clap from us spectators as they walked past brought a smile to his face.
“The feeling you get when you catch somebody…it’s just intense there are no words to describe it,” Davis said. “I know when I’m a full-time cop it won’t be fun and games like it is here at Kmart, but in all seriousness I think it is helping me out a lot.”