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She looked towards the camera as she walked leisurely to the door separating the 2 living areas and closed the door a little, while peeking outside to see if anyone was coming to the main entrance. Then she went to the table, put her hand in the bag, drew out the cream and brown coloured wallet and took out a couple of N1,000 notes. Nothing new; quite normal and natural, something she did almost everyday. After all, it was hers by right.

…….NOT!!!!

This is what my husband and I watched yesterday when we replayed CCTV DVR footage of the 30 minutes when I had gone out for a walk while my husband was at our front gate talking to a neighbour. The person we watched was my maid and the wallet she took the money from was mine.

This has been going on for a while and I had started thinking I was crazy, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I had both a Nanny and Maid in my employ so wasn’t sure which of them was pilfering from me. But after months of wondering if I could just be mistaken about missing money, we got CCTV cameras installed in almost all the rooms in the house (we installed them so we can always watch what happens with the kids when they’re not in the same part of the house as we are) and this weekend while the Nanny was on her weekend off, decided to set a trap for the Maid and see if she’d turn out to be the culprit. The Maid, being the not so smart person that she was and having gained confidence over time because I seemed to believe that I was wrong about my money missing, fell for it hook, line and sinker. And to think she spent so much money buying phone credit to make midnight calls to her boyfriend and it never occured to me that she was using more than she earned; I thought it irresponsible of her to spend so much money on calls but figured (shrug!)….it’s her money and she’s an adult so she can do what she wants.

Now I’ve started doing an inventory of things in my home to see what else she could have stolen that I haven’t taken note of and wonder what else I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I figure someone who is comfortable with stealing will not easily be deterred by extra security measures but I started thinking – if she’s doing this to me, she’s probably done this before. Next interview I’ll ask for the contact details of the last person a candidate worked for and be sure to speak to someone that sounds like they could be who they claim to be. We’ve also decided to take some extra precautions at home in the hopes that this won’t happen again, where we have over N60,000 stolen from us over a 5-month period.

I’d welcome more ideas if you have other practices to address problems like this, that might help. Comments anyone?

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