Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dennis M. Giever, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Erika Frenzel, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daniel R. Lee, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

John A. Lewis, Ph.D.


This study examines the causes and cost of theft, both internal and external, at one particular specialty retailer and offers an explanation of motivation for those being caught committing internal theft. Historically, crime has been perceived as an activity of the nonworking or lower class members of society (Hollinger & Clark, 1983). Some still may not even consider illegal actions that occur during the course of business to be crimes at all (Kuratko, Hornsby, Naffziger & Hodgetts, 2000). Currently, business crime costs the United States approximately $186 billion annually (Kuratko, Hornsby, Naffziger & Hodgetts, 2000). Most individuals spend the majority of their adult lives at their workplace; making the study of occupational deviance and theft critical in the field of criminology, as the inclination towards criminal activity does not disappear once an individual enters into the workplace (Kane & Lybarger, 2002). Employee theft is one of the most rampant and costly issues faced by today's public and private business owners (Kane & Lybarger, 2002). The purpose of this study is to provide answers as to who is being caught committing theft, the characteristics of store locations that lead to loss, how much loss is occurring annually, the cost of internal theft, what prevention techniques are being used in an attempt to control/prevent loss, and the motivations to commit internal theft as provided by those individuals who admitted to fraud at the specialty retailer. The results of the study add to the current literature, inform future research, and guide policy changes within retailers in regards to total loss, employee theft and what may be done to prevent it.