Case Study: A Turning Point for Transformation in Passaic, NJ
November 14, 2023
Miranda Reyes

In the heart of Passaic, New Jersey, a national retailer in partnership with ALTO faced a recurring safety disruption that put staff and patrons at risk. The store was frequently targeted by a lone offender, leading to weekly chaos and a demoralizing atmosphere of frustration.

ALTO’s on-site team of experts stepped in to address the issue. But this mitigation did more than just put a stop to the recurring offenses. The offender’s arrest, a direct result of ALTO’s collaborative efforts, proved to be a pivotal moment in his own life. Confronted with the reality of his actions and the destructive path he was on, he decided to embark on a life-altering road towards rehabilitation.

This case study showcases the transformative impact we strive for with our comprehensive approach to retail safety. Through meaningful collaboration, our team addressed the store’s safety concern while also taking into account the offender’s sincere desire to turn his life around. Our approach, and the below story of this case, showcase our commitment to safer communities and the belief in everyone’s chance at redemption. Facing the consequences of our actions can be a catalyst for change.

A Turning Point

The Passaic store was being targeted on a weekly basis for quite some time by the same offender. Recognizing the frustration and concerns of the store team, our on-site Customer Support Specialist (CSS) promptly took action to mitigate the situation on the store’s behalf through comprehensive strategy.

The CSS, in partnership with a local ALTO staff attorney, organized a Law Enforcement Partnership Meeting (LEPM) with the local police department and a main detective. Together, they discussed the situation, aligned store policies and expectations to that of local law enforcement, and established a collaborative initiative focused on the safety of the store and the surrounding community, as well as accountability for the recidivist, who would later be apprehended for his consecutive disruptions.

The offender, faced with the consequences for his actions, realized it was time to address his substance abuse issues and embark on a path of transformation.

One Last Visit

Before his court date, the offender made another unexpected appearance at the store he had frequented for so long. But this time, it wasn’t to cause trouble. It was to express genuine gratitude to the store team. He acknowledged that their actions, including calling law enforcement and working towards his arrest, played a crucial role in his turning point to seek help.

Since his arrest, he was actively participating in a methadone clinic and comprehensive treatment program that addresses his substance abuse as well as mental health. He expressed that without the store team playing their part and him being arrested, he would have never been able to seek help and embrace a second chance at life.

Advocacy in Action

As the case progressed to court, ALTO’s legal expert continued to advocate for the safety of the store team and the best interests of the defendant.

During the initial hearing, our team noticed that the defendant seemed healthier and expressed a commitment to recovery. In the presence of both his court-appointed attorney and our legal team, the defendant shared that his previous arrest served as a wake-up call, pushing him to address his substance abuse issues directly. At the time, he was living in a shelter, actively seeking employment, and saving money for rent and a security deposit. He also expressed a desire to be more involved in his son’s life in the future.

Throughout the court proceedings, he consistently expressed his gratitude towards the store team who, despite repeatedly calling the police on him, ultimately saved his life.

Finally, our local legal expert had the opportunity to conference with the prosecutor and address the judge in open court, informing him of the defendant’s efforts towards rehabilitation and life transformation.

Taking this into account, the prosecutor offered the defendant a plea deal, which was accepted. In exchange for all other charges, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property. A no-trespass order was also imposed to protect the store, under penalty of additional criminal charges.

This plea deal allowed the judge to avoid a mandatory minimum jail sentence, opting instead for a 6-month probation period. The judge, considering the offender’s financial situation, waived fines and fees associated with the conviction, emphasizing the importance of rehabilitation over punitive measures.

The ALTO team, our retail partner and store team members have high hopes for the offender’s path to rehabilitation, thanks to the remarkable work accomplished by our local team. The collaboration in this case between ALTO, law enforcement, the store team, and the court officials was an unstoppable force for positive change. The impact is tangible, reminding us that together we can truly make a difference and foster safer communities.

Learn more about how your store can partner with ALTO to comprehensively address safety disruptions and build a safer retail landscape and community.