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    Good Night, Sweethearting, Good Night

    StopLift Tech Detects 130K-Plus ‘Sweetheart’ Thefts

    StopLift Checkout Vision Systems’ Scan-it-All patent-protected computer vision technology – which was developed to visually determine what occurs during checkout transactions to identify fraud – said its loss prevention system detected more than 130,000 sweethearting thefts in 2010.

    The system -- which recently began deployment at some Tesco locations -- identifies dishonest associates via video evidence the first time they conduct a fraudulent transaction, which reduces inventory shrinkage, deters future theft, and boosts profitability, according to the company.

    “Retailers always suspected that self-checkouts would be highly prone to scan-avoidance, and our technology has certainly found this to be the case,” said Malay Kundu, CEO of StopLift. “Furthermore, using the incidents detected from their own stores, retailers are now able to train staff on the signals indicating when customers are either having problems using the self-checkout or are exhibiting suspicious behavior.”

    StopLift is now leveraging its cloud based technology to work at self-checkout systems, in addition to traditional checkouts.

    In addition to detecting “sweethearting” -- when cashiers pretend to scan merchandise but deliberately bypass the scanner, thus not charging the customer for the merchandise -- the Scan-it-All system was also developed to find incidents of scan-avoidance where merchandise is not scanned or rung up before being given to the customer. This includes incidents which may be due to cashier or operational error with items on either the conveyor belt or left in the middle of the basket (MOB) or bottom of the basket (BOB).

    StopLift’s software monitors existing security cameras mounted on the ceiling over the checkout registers. As soon as a sweethearting incident occurs, the software, which constantly monitors 100 percent of the security video, flags the transaction as suspicious. It quickly reports the incident, identifying the cashier and the date and time of the theft.

    Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y has used the system for the past two years across its 57 stores with successful results. “Malay Kundu is truly a visionary in addressing sweethearting,” said Mark Gaudette, director of loss prevention at Big Y. “This type of theft has been costing the retail industry $10 billion a year and, before StopLift technology became available, there’s been no way to detect it.”


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