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Do I report this person at work?

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Quite recently at my job, several people have complained about certain personal belongings such as jackets, glasses and even picture frames, going missing. Administration is appalled that someone in the office would actually take it upon themselves to steal others' belongings. Thankfully, nothing serious has been stolen, like a wallet or bank card, or anything like that, but people worry that it might happen.


Anyway, here is my dilemma: Yesterday, I came into work an hour early, because I was planning to leave early for a doctor's appointment that day and didn't want to have my pay docked.


I turned on my computer and while it started up, I went to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. On the way back to my desk, I saw a coworker, whom I'll call Mrs. B, walk out of someone else's cubicle and round the corner. She did not see me. I sped up a bit, bewildered by the fact that she'd been at someone else's desk with the lights off.


When I rounded the corner, I saw her rummage through MY inbox and then she proceeded to walk into someone else's cubicle and I heard her opening drawers and rummaging through them. I was floored. Mrs. B is a middle-aged woman who has always seemed so nice and polite, yet there she was, going through someone else's things. With coffee mug in hand, I walked over to the desk she was violating, but she walked out of it just as I reached it and nearly crashed into me. She was surprised and looked a bit embarrassed. I asked her what she was doing and she said she'd been searching for spare staples.


I decided to forget about it, until my neighboring cubicle dweller came in and complained that she was missing a small ornament from her desk. That was the desk Mrs. B had been going through.


So, it seems, I've caught the office klepto, but I don't have proof. Should I tell administration what I witnessed? Or should I leave them an anonymous note telling them about it? Mrs. B is really nice and I would never have thought she'd be capable of such a thing, but then again, it's always the person you least expect.

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I think if you do decide to report this, you should report what you saw exactly, nothing more or less (i.e., don't extrapolate to the fact that you think you saw her take something, but exactly what you saw and what she told you).


there is always the possibility that she was looking for a stapler and the thief is someone else (though most likely she IS the thief), so present what you saw and nothing else.


It really is the company's responsibility to stop the thefts, and with today's technology that would be very easy. there are really tiny cameras they can put anywhere to catch people, in fact, in one company i worked with they used small cameras that were hidden in fake automatic water sprinklers they put into ceilings for fires... the lens of the camera looked just like a screw in the sprinkler head.. so if they want to catch this thief, it is relatively easy.


but the point is that legally, companies are not liable for anything personal brought onto company property, and people take their own risk bringing their personal stuff in. so the company may or may not be concerned, especially if it is petty theft, and they would have to spend a lot of money to catch the person.


and they definitely don't want to get into a your word against hers situation between employees... firing someone is also problematic, if they don't have concrete evidence of the theft, and the employee could sue them (or you) for wrongful firing and slander.


so you might drop it into an anonymous suggestion box, and be very careful if you did not actually see her pocket something, because you could end up being accused of slander, or hurting her financially if she gets fired and she was not the person stealing stuff, and sued for her loss of wages.


there is right and wrong, but in today's legal environment, one can get sued for being a good citizen, if you don't very carefully plan what you saw. most companies have anonymous ways of doing this, so you might want to go that route. but if the company has decided it is not worth the trouble to catch the thief (since they themselves are not experiencing losses), then you might let it go (and don't leave anything important around unlocked).

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I've always been taught in my field that if you know a coworker is doing something wrong, to address it with that person first. So approach Mrs. B and tell her that if she is the one taking people's things, she should come forward. Otherwise, you feel obligated to report what you saw. It's always better for everyone if the guilty party is the one to handle the situation.

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omg adahy you just made my day. Thats hilarious. I agree DESTROY HER!!!



Ha...I'm glad.


I think confrontation will only lead to lies (it's a thief afterall), and the thief will remain in their midst. I'd set her up and get rid of her for good. Maybe the thief will learn a lesson. Otherwise, she'll stay there and hone her craft being careful not to get busted again...or, she'll get transferred and continue stealing. But, totally flush her and maybe she'll learn a life lesson.

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I agree, reporting her sounds like the best idea. Just be certain that you only tell exactly what you saw, and explain that you aren't making accusations against this woman - you just saw suspicious behavior. Do be sure to mention that later in the day, one of the desks had something missing from it.

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Most likely Ms. Goody Two Shoes like to look perfect for some very serious psychological reasons. She's hiding an awful lot. I know some people have a very serious disorder. Klepto is not a myth! She could be suffering and hates doing it, but is addicted. She might even do it every time she goes into a store. If she isn't caught at work first, she may be caught in public and arrested. I think if it's addressed now you could actually help her!

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