Shoplifting continues to cost the garrison time, money and manpower.
According to Darrell Robertson, Chief of Military Police Investigations for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, the USAG Stuttgart Military Police have investigated 60 shoplifting incidents at Stuttgart Exchange facilities since Jan. 1, and 75 percent of these incidents involved juveniles under the age of 18.
“We’ve identified it as a fairly serious issue for the community,” said Col. Carl D. Bird, USAG Stuttgart commander. “Not only is it stealing from the Exchange, but it’s stealing from the community, as we receive a percentage of the sales.”
In the past, those caught stealing from any Exchange facility would automatically have their Exchange privileges suspended for at least six months as required by Army Regulation 215-8.
In addition, AAFES would usually impose a $200 civil recovery fee for shoplifting. At the conclusion of the suspension period, the ID cardholder would again be allowed to use Exchange facilities. Starting Sept. 1, the garrison implemented a new program designed to combat shoplifting.
Under the new program, if a civilian/dependant/retiree is caught shoplifting and/or wrongfully passing bad checks at any AAFES facility, they will have their identification card confiscated by the Military Police immediately after the incident. A voucher will be provided to the shoplifter. The shoplifter must then report to the DEERS/ ID Card Section in Building 2915 on Panzer Kaserne to have a new ID card issued. In a case involving a juvenile, the sponsor must accompany the family member. The new ID card will have Exchange privileges omitted.
The suspension of Exchange privileges will be for at least six months, and during this period, the shoplifter will be prohibited from entering and/or using the Exchange and other Exchange facilities, including food courts, shoppettes and movie theaters.
In most cases, AAFES will continue to impose a $200 Exchange administrative fee under the AAFES Civil Recovery Program. “The new policy looks to enforce the high standards all military personnel and their families are supposed to uphold,” Bird said.
At the conclusion of the suspension period, the ID cardholder will have to request a reinstatement of his or her Exchange privileges through the USAG Stuttgart Assistant Civilian Misconduct Action Authority. The request must be in writing and state why reinstatement of Exchange privileges is appropriate.
In addition, the request must explain how the six month Exchange suspension has served its intended purpose. The suspension will remain in effect until this request has been approved by the garrison commander, the CMAA.
Exchange privileges will no longer be reinstated without a written declaration by the shoplifter that reinstatement is the proper course of action for the individual concerned and for the command.
If the shoplifter is on active duty, the service member will not have their ID confiscated. The garrison is not allowed to confiscate their ID cards; it is the unit’s responsibility to ensure the service member complies with orders from the garrison commander.
Service members will be notified that they are not to enter any Exchange facility for at least six months. After six months, the service member’s first line commander (O3 and above) may request reinstatement and the CMAA will determine whether to reinstate the service member’s privileges. These actions will be taken in addition to any potential Uniform Code of Military Justice action the service member’s command may take.
Bird encouraged community members to do their part to stop the stealing trend. “I would just ask that the community be aware that there’s an issue here and help us curb incidences of shoplifting in our facilities,” he said.
The policy is available on the garrison website at www.stuttgart.army.mil. Click on “Leadership,” then “Command Policy Letters …” then “Policy Letter #41.”
Editor’s Note: Brittany Carlson, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office, contributed to this article.