As Remi was parking the last boxes into the van, the unexpected happened. His supervisor showed up. Not really, he had been seated at a strategic place witnessing the whole theft process taking place. The supervisor had been patient enough to watch Remi come into the store, open the door, and start carrying the boxes containing the organization’s goods.
This had been a trend for quite some time now. Remi and his friends were in the habit of stealing from the company from time to time. The first time they did it, it was scary. They thought they’d be caught. But they were not caught. No one even mentioned it within the company. This was a relief. They had also gone home with a lot of money.
Free money was sweet. Remi tried to console himself that it was not free money.
“Dan, I tell you that this money was not free. We worked for it.”
“But now that no one has ever come after us, and we made some good money, what do you think about doing it again?”
Dan held his chin, thinking through what Remi had said.
Earlier, Dan had thought about the whole ordeal but was not sure if it was a good idea. He had pondered on how much they’d be taking home as long as they never get caught. Coincidentally, Remi was thinking of the same thing too.
Were it that simple, Dan could have said yes to this idea. However, he thought about the repercussions and simply said. “Okay. That might be one interesting undertaking. As long as we do not get caught. There is nothing to worry about.”
Just like that the two started a secret life that they ran alongside their daily lives. Every week, they found time to take things from the store and take them to the local dealers they had found.
This idea to steal had not been a new one, Dan had been told about it by a senior employee who had been doing it. This senior employee had been eating massively from this venture and having noticed by Dan, he decided to make him neutral by recruiting him.
Every Tuesday and Saturday, they executed their venture. Those were the days when the supervisor was not around. On afternoons of these two days, the supervisor would go on rounds to stores out of town to check on how everything was going on there, giving room for whatever needed to be done by Dan, Remi and Mitch the senior employee.
They would load these goods into their small van and transport them like they were doing official company delivery, only for them to go deliver to their dealer, fetch their cash and leave as if nothing happened.
This continued for some time and had become a normal thing for them. They had never been caught, let alone suspected.
They played their card well. Collaborating with the CCTV guy, they ensured that their 15 minutes in the store never got into the system. Videos were eliminated by the time they got out of that store. Everything was wiped out clean.
On the day that Remi was caught, he was alone. Dan had not been around that day. He had gone out of town for a seminar. Mitch had been sick. This left Remi alone at work. He had been hesitant about the whole thing, but the taste of money on his hands was so sweet he could not imagine not imagining missing out.
When he entered the store, it was business as usual. He had to hurry as much as possible to ensure that the 15 minutes had been enough to carry out the whole process. Before coming, as usual, he had talked to the CCTV guy and everything was set.
He entered and did the parking of the goods into the van. That day, it was official that he would be the only one doing the delivery because the majority of the employees had gone out for the seminar. As he finished packing, he thought he heard a cough. He stepped away from the van to see if he heard clearly. On looking around, he saw a figure.
On looking even closer, he almost jumped. He knew he had been caught red-handed. There was no getting out of this. Seated at the corner was his supervisor. From the look on his face, he had been around for a long time, he had seen everything that had transpired.
“Remi, so it has been you all this while?”
Remi kept quiet, because what was he to say? He had been caught in the act.
“All this while, you had not even come into my mind as the thief that the whole company was trying to catch?”
Remi wondered if to accept that indeed he was the thief that the whole company was after, or open up on how he was not the only one. But he kept quiet.
“What I wonder is how you’ve been able to slip our finders all this while. It has been three weeks now and I can’t believe it. What is it going to be Remi? You going to give me all the details, or I hand you over to the police. I know you are not working alone.”
Remi was very shocked to hear this last statement. He had no thought about it all. Now, a platform was offered for him to be a snitch. H knew the thing that the supervisor would ask was to give up the others who he was not sure about it.
“Do we talk or I give you up?”
“I do this alone. As you can see, there is no one else here it’s just me.”
“Remi, if you worked alone, then we could have caught you in your first week, you came a couple of months ago. This theft had been happening since last year. We caught the perpetrator who gave up his whole team. Now, it is back and happening in the same format. No trace in our CCTV footage yet we fired the one who was an accomplice last year. You can’t be working alone.”
“Sir, I work alone.” Remi was not going to give up his accomplices.
“When did this start?” The supervisor asked.
“This is the second time?” Remi lied boldly.
“Our records show that the theft has been going on for at least a month now. Then why is there no footage of you in the store the first time, if this I actually the second time?” The supervisor asked probingly.
“I do not know. I do this alone and this is the second time.” Remi was sticking with his story.
“Okay, I believe you.” The supervisor said removing his phone. “I hope the police officers will believe you too. Had you opened up, maybe things would have turned up differently!”
He dialled and put the call on the loudspeaker. As it rang for the first time, reality hit Remi.
“Wait.” He spoke.
“What do you want to say?”
“What will happen if I speak up?”
“The severity of your punishment may be reduced.”
“Okay, I will speak up.”
The supervisor hung up.
“I know of two others,”
“Who and who?”
“Come here on Saturday afternoon. As from 3:00 p.m., you will know everything that you need to know.”
“How sure am I that you will not change your mind before then and tell them of the plan?”
“I will not.”
“Good thing, the cameras were up. I have evidence this time round.”
Remi unpacked pharmaceutical products from the van and drove out of the store area. At that time, the supervisor waited to lock up the store.
One thing to note is that the store was at the far end of the company compound. The whole company compound had a perimeter fence that had electric walls. There was no security guard at the gate to the store. The only security measure was the CCTV. Meaning, if one passes through the videos, they were as good as successful.
As Remi went away, he was conflicted about whether to sell his accomplices or to go under alone. He parked the van at the parking lot and walked out of the premises. One thing he was sure about, was that the CCTV guy had sold them out. So, there was no point even going in there to ask him what had happened.
The days before Saturday were heavy for Remi. He was in dilemma on whether to tell Dan and Mitch about the plan that was in place to catch them all red-handed stealing or to allow the trap to play out and catch them.
Every time he wanted to speak out, he remembered the words of his supervisor. The thought that he could get a less severe punishment motivated him to keep quiet. However, he was still uneasy. He avoided eye contact with them as much as he could. Additionally, he told a few stories until Dan asked him what the issue was.
He wanted to blurt out that he had been caught and that a plan was underway to catch them all that coming Saturday. Then he remembered that the only evidence that the supervisor had was on him. Mitch and Dan may decide not to show up. Remi thought about it and realized that it was either he lied or snitched on them.
Lying might not help him, but going and trying to iron things out with the supervisor might just be it. He thought maybe they could “agree.”
He found him in his office.
“What if we talked things out?” Remi asked.
“Are you serious right now Remi?” The supervisor said these words sternly.
“Is there anything we can give you to let this all go away?” Remi asked pleading.
“Meaning you have already told them about the plan?” The supervisor looked at him threateningly.
Remi went silent.
“I should have called the police on you.”
“There must be something we can do,” Remi said with a plea in his voice. “Please.”
The supervisor thought about it and said, “200k before tomorrow noon.”
Happy to have a way out Remi left. He spoke to Dan and Mitch about it and ensured he had played it well, never telling them about how he had almost sold them out. He only mentioned the supervisor having a video of the three in the store stealing.
“How do you know?” asked Dan.
“He showed me. It’s from the other week. Seems like there is a way deleted footages do not totally disappear and can be retrieved.”
“It is either we give him that money or the worse.”
By 10:00 the next morning, they had scavenged enough and had 167,000 of the 200,000. They presented this to the supervisor, who seemed to have been too hungry for money. He took it and that was the end of the fiasco. Remi applied for a job somewhere else and soon left the company. He knew if he stayed the supervisor would keep blackmailing him.
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