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Home Depot is cracking down on shoplifters by bricking power tools that are stolen

The tools have to be “activated” at the register before they will work.

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Image: KnowTechie

Dealing in expensive power tools and equipment, Home Depot has always been a prime target for shoplifters. Now, the company is fighting back with a new policy aimed to stop thieves from targeting its stores. The company will soon unveil its all-new shoplifting deterrent: tools that won’t work if you steal them from the store.

In an interview with Insider, vice president of asset protection at Home Depot, Scott Glenn, detailed the company’s new point of sale activation feature. The new policy will require all power tools to be “activated” via Bluetooth at the checkout counter when you pay for them. Without this activation, the tools simply won’t work.

Glenn then details Home Depot’s fight against organized retail crime, being sure to differentiate between organized crime and everyday thieves. “There are very organized groups where the leaders at the top are recruiting people…and offering them incentives and providing shopping lists to go out and bring back certain products,” he says.

According to a 2020 survey on organized retail crime from the National Retail Federation, organized crime is costing retailers nearly 60% more in losses than it was just five years prior. Glenn attributes this increase to the increase in online reseller platforms.

“Years ago, there was eBay, and that was it. Now there are probably 80 different large-scale online resellers out there, and not all of them have the same level of control and vetting,” says Glenn. With so many different options for reselling stolen goods, it’s no surprise that retail crime is becoming more appealing.

This seems like just an okay policy on Home Depot’s part. While it won’t necessarily stop thieves immediately, it won’t be long before it is widely known that tools stolen from Home Depot won’t work. That is until the criminals figure out how to activate the tools themselves…

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