The bright side of the PlayStation 5 scarcity ending now is that the people who want the consoles can finally buy them. The bad news is that it has apparently also led to an increase in GameStop thefts, as thieves target the expensive, easy-to-turn consoles. GameStop’s answer? A reward of $5,000 to catch thieves, even as company cutbacks leave many employees to fend for themselves.
kotaku recently reported at a store in northeast Pennsylvania where thieves stole 10 PS5s for $500 each, but it’s far from the only recent incident. Polygon points that nearly 30 GameStops have been robbed in recent months, according to local news. While it’s only one percent of all US stores, it’s a potentially worrying trend for employees increasingly tasked with being the only person on a shift due to cut hours, layoffs and attrition issues.
Many of GameStop’s recent thefts were part of a string of PS5 thefts in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley, where police told the local Fox affiliate they believed the same group, allegedly responsible for more than 12 store robberies, was involved. HGameStop’s head of loss prevention, Alan Fagergren, told the TV station that many of the incidents involved the suspects posing as customers before claiming to be armed and entering the warehouse. where PS5s are kept.
See more information: ‘GameStop Daycare’ Is A Thing And Employees Are Tired Of Taking Care Of Other People’s Children
While Fagergren is offering $5,000 on behalf of the company for any leads that lead to arrests in the investigation (it doesn’t appear that anyone has been caught yet), it’s a paltry sum compared to the feature reductions that many stores are experiencing right now. Many current and former employees kotaku spoke with him said that while having additional employees on the shift does not prevent an armed robbery, it may discourage attempts in the first place, as well as providing more peace of mind among the other employees.
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As consolidation and cutbacks in work hours have left employees overworked, many are complaining about not having time for lunch or using the restroom, let alone meeting their sales targets on any given day. A new metric even requires loading up PS5 shoppers with at least two to three extra games and controllers before they leave the store. Digital game sales may be dominating the market, but people still need to get the hardware to play them, something GameStop has been keen to capitalize on since the launch of new consoles.
“Worth it”, Fagergren told Fox 11 Los Angeles when describing why thieves are after PS5s. “Like I said, they don’t come cheap. Those who play love it. We are a target at the moment, yes.”