A store detective is employed to deter and detect theft in retail outlets without the highly visible presence. The term is no longer frequently used in the retail industry. More common terms today with major retailers are Loss Prevention Officer.
The job involves patrolling stores in the role of an ordinary shopper, watching for shoplifters. The detective follows any shopper behaving suspiciously, and keeps records of such observations. The key difference between a store detective and a retail security guard is that the former’s role is covert. If they observe an individual stealing, they may arrest suspects.