Craft show tips requested - theft

Many years ago I built several flat show cases. They were wood
edged boxes about 4" deep with a wood framed hinged glass lid. I
installed triangular shaped Plexiglas side panels that were hinged
to the base. The sides, when lifted up held the case open and
provided protection from someone reaching into the case. I designed
a spring catch that locked the lid closed whenever it was lowered.
To lock the case all I had to do was raise the lid about 1/4" and
the side would fold down. When the lid was dropped against the
lower box the catch would lock the case. I had the cases bolted to
the table. I was slightly paranoid. I felt if someone ran with a
piece I could drop the lids and chase after them without having the
rest of my jewelry lifted. I only do two shows a year now. I do not
put out anything out on the table that is easily lifted. However
the chance of a sale increases if you can get the customer to hold
the piece they are interested in. I knew an artist that pinned all
his jewelry to the table cover. This prevented anyone from lifting
a piece when he was occupied with another sale.

I have known artists that will deal with only one customer at time
and with only one piece at a time. All cases with hinged lids
should have side panels. Plexiglas type material can be purchased at
home depot and cut to fit into the case between the hinged lid and
the bottom of the box. Lee

Folks, I have to chime in on the subject of theft and robbery here.
My father worked retail all of his life, as a grocery store manager.
Much of his career was spent in very rough neighborhoods, and theft
was a daily issue. Robbery was an occasional issue, as well. So it’s
a subject that is rather near and dear to my heart.

No matter how financially and artistically devastating the loss of
your premier piece – or even your entire collection – would be,
it’s not worth the loss of your life.

If you find yourself threatened by someone with a weapon, hand over
the receipts and the jewelry without argument. Take careful note of
every detail of the person’s face and body build (the things that
they cannot change by cutting or coloring hair, changing clothes,
etc.). Move slowly and deliberately, and speak carefully. Calmness
on your part may promote calmness on their part – and that’s what
you want if they are armed. When they leave, try to notice which
direction they went and if they had an assistant, vehicle, etc. –
again, jot down immediately any details you can remember. As the
adrenaline rush fades, you find yourself forgetting surprisingly

As soon as they have left your place of business, feel free to raise
the biggest alarm you can – note that more people will respond to
shouts of “FIRE” than they will to “THIEF” or “RAPE” or “HELP”
(proven fact).

In a show situation, so-called “smash and grab” thiefs are more
common than armed robberies. Secure cases and secure practices are,
again, the best remedy. But if you are targeted, don’t make the
mistake of leaving other items unprotected while chasing them –
raise a BIG ruckus and enlist others to help you chase them and watch
your booth – don’t try to do it alone. And only chase them and
physically confront them if you are reasonably certain they are NOT

All of us – especially women working shows solo – should take a
good personal defense course. Many local police departments offer
seminars on personal defense that are well worth the time. If not,
then find a local martial arts dojo who offers something targeted to
personal defense – you don’t need a black belt to be able to
effectively fend off an attacker. And you will probably find (as I
have) that taking the course teaches you to look at your situations a
little differently… to be aware with different senses … and to
find ways to prevent confrontation and danger before they can
escalate into something nasty.

Just my $.02
Karen Goeller