Removing a Sears Antitheft Device

I’ve been running short on dress pants, so Sunday I stopped at Sears to take advantage of their Memorial Day sale and upgrade my wardrobe. I bought about a dozen assorted items, and when I left the store the door scanners started beeping. The security guard and I both looked through my bag, but didn’t find anything. However when I got home I found this:

Dockers with security tag

Seems the clerk forgot to remove a security tag from one of the pairs of pants. Anyone know how to get this off of the pants without tearing them or going back to the store?

As a side note, if Sears can’t even remove clunky tags like this one from clothing before it goes out the store, one really has to doubt the claims that less obvious RFID tags will be reliably disabled at the point of purchase.

41 Responses to “Removing a Sears Antitheft Device”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    I used brute force once, using a screwdriver to pry the parts apart. There is simply a metal pin holding the parts together, so if you don’t apply sideways (tearing) force, the pants will not be damaged.

  2. Stephen Says:

    You can normally put them in the freezer overnight to make the ink capsules less of a problem, then pull them apart with two pairs of pliers. If you have a dremel tool you can shave the top off the “bump” to do some exploratory surgery. The things you learn working retail when the tag remover breaks and you still have to sell….

    They’re one of those things that don’t actually provide any security, since the staff in stores never pay any attention to the beeping they cause. They’re just there to annoy the people who bought things legitimately and can’t remove the tags when they get home. My favorite is when I set off the sensors going _in_ to stores with items I bought somewhere else :\

    RFID tags will never be a security measure. They’re going to save (make) the stores money by improving inventory management, and that’s it. I’d be completely surprised if stores ever have the equipment to disable the tags.

  3. Kristoff Barakowskowitz Says:

    It’s sort of -hip- or “In” to wear those now. Be proud that you stole it.

  4. Gaurav Says:

    All the RFID privacy fears … now I know that Rusty doesn’t like ironing easy care, likes pleats and wears pants – size 40×30 – loose some weight man :-0

  5. MaggieL Says:

    In other privacy news: now we also know Gaurav doesn’t know the difference between “loose” and “lose”.

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. — Lincoln

  6. JJ Says:

    On the other side it should be round. Take a lighter and burn it so it is soft and melts. Becareful. There is a Pin if should release if not get something to release it. When it is released the two sides will open freeing the clothes.

  7. sean Says:

    none of the above comments are helpful at all maybe the one from jj but theres more to it first off theres no ink in that security tag so dont worry about that if you get a screw driver and bend it with a hammer so that its curved and stick it in the little hole in the side of the security tag it will just pop open and the other way if you dont want to ruin a screw driver burn the very top of the big end and and you can see all the parts and just move everything its pretty selfexplanitory when you get that far if all else fails turn it sideways and hit it with a hammer

  8. Manuel Hernandez Says:

    the answere is there

  9. Manuel Hernandez Says:

    Ya lo hice

    Solo neceitas doblar hacia el lado correcto la parte plastica que muestras en la foto.
    Utiliza dos pinzas para sostener y doblar un candado interno y el Pin sale libremente.

  10. John S Says:

    Thanks Sean you’re a life saver. I bought a shirt from Zumies today and i guess they forgot to remove the antitheft device.the screw driver hammer trick worked like a charm

  11. Kurt A. Says:

    Materials needed:

    – Pliers
    – Patience (A lot of twisting of the plastic and lifting metal will be needed)


    – A knife

    1.) Take the knife if you have one, and start to slice down the middle of the plastic shape from the side. Cut about half an inch in.
    2.) Use the pliers and twist sideways violently. Please have patience as constant violent tearing while rip the material of the clothing. Keep twisting until the plastic piece is torn in half. Keep the piece with the bumpy handle-like hill. Throw the other piece (flat) away.
    3.) Now use your pliers and stick one blade (?) into the hollow part and one on the outside so your pliers are clamped down shut on the outer layer of plastic. Now with the same technique, twist it and rip it open into 2 pieces: the outer case and the base with a metal sheet clamped shut on a needle that holds onto your clothes. Throw away the outer case.
    4.) Holding your fingers carefully along the edge of the smooth side (not ripped by the pliers/the other side of the needle) and try to lift the hard, unbendable metal sheet. Here you need extreme patience as it took me nearly 5 minutes to rip it off. (Note that here, you can also first twist off the needle before you set to work on lifting the metal sheet holding it to make sure you don’t stab yourself in the process.
    5.) Now finally, after you’ve ripped it from the stem of the needle, remove the metal piece and reach into the other side of the clothing and carefully remove the needle by pulling and sliding the plastic cap away from the inside of the clothing. From here on is pretty self explanatory. And there you have it! It’s done.

    Hints as you go along:
    – NEVER jerk and twist the clothing throught the needle; it will harm or even rip the clothing’s material.
    – Remember to be careful with using the knife; this means cutting away from you, not towards you.
    -Also for your safety, rip the needle off before you go onto removing the metal piece inside as this will prevent you from being scratched. But do remember to throw the needle head away ASAP.

  12. Kurt A. Says:

    I knew this because I had bought a pair of jammers (swimming clothing) from Sportschek and it started to beep after going to the checkout. I got home and found the device and took 3 tools to the my warehouse:
    -A screwdriver which did nothing.
    -The pliers
    – And the exacto-knife.

    I just ended up with like 5 pieces of scrap p[lastic and metal. Threw it all away.

  13. Kurt A. Says:

    woops, mind the typos and grammar mistakes.!

  14. Michael Says:

    What I did was use brute force… I used a Sharp Knife, an Ex-acto blade, & a Flathead Screwdriver. I used the knife and the blade to cut through the opening at the end closest to the pin (if there isn’t one on yours make one). As soon as I could fit the screwdriver in the freshly cut opening I jammed it in there and twisted it violently until the plastic bend or broke off (repeat until you finally get the pin off..). I basically took the whole thing apart piece by piece. This same thing wouldn’t apply with ink tags.. Jamming something into one of those could set off the ink and your clothes would be trashed. Anywho inside the one I dismantled there were tiny metal-looking strips possibly used to set off the alarm at the front door of the Dept. store. Other then that there isn’t anything else special in there other then plastic and a little more metal.

  15. Caryn Says:

    -Ex-acto blade and pliers

    Apparently mine was forged together a bit stronger than others and hitting it with a hammer didn’t pop it open. I ended up using an ex-acto blade to follow the seam of the larger part, exposing the point of the pin and the stubborn piece of metal that was holding it in. The it was just a matter of using the pliers to force the metal off the pin and my white coat was free of stupid-ness.

    Good luck!

  16. Says:

    I used vise grip pliers. Best. Pliers. Ever. I simply crushed the curved piece of plastic and then peeled it off. There was a metal cap with some ball bearings and a spring that came off without any use of force. This released the needle and my merchandise.

  17. . Says:

    Fuck you. Just cut it in half with metal shears. $10. Dumbfuck.

  18. HOT IDEA Says:

    FIRST …TEAR UP WIFE’S RECEIPT AND REPORT IMMEDIATELY TO POLICE (here’s your chance to have at least a few hours TO YOUR SELF before she posts bail)



  19. Marcos Says:

    Hammer it until it opens, so you can get access to the internal mechanism.
    This formula is described here:

  20. Mike Says:

    I recently removed one (TJMax forgot to remove the tag – and I was too lazy to drive back). One I encountered works mechanically. So to remove it you need two pliers. There are two dots on the surface of the tag – these are the pressure points for in store removal device. These two dots is where I applied pliers and bent tag toward the ping along the long side. It releases easily when bent. Internally there is a piece of metal with an “H” shaped cut. At the center of the cut pin is attached – when this piece of metal bent – inner parts of “H” hole come apart and release the grip. Very straightforward.

  21. justin Says:

    haha my sister found one on her $200 prom dress the day of the prom and she freaked out.. so careful not to rip the material of the dress we took a vice grip and slowly squeezed the side of the device starting from the flat end and working up towards the pin… took a few minutes but we got ‘er done.

  22. princepaulie Says:

    first, grab a burger or another of your favorite snacks. take a few bites. look closely at the plastic tag and think about what a dumb fuk you and the employee were for missing that massive piece of sh!t. take another bite of your burger. put the burger down and get a pair of scissors. cut around the security tag and….voila’. you may then go back to enjoying your burger (or other treat). i highly recommend either Fuddruckers or Johnny Rocket burgers.

  23. Lori Says:

    I bought shorts for my teen at Sears 2 days before she had abdominal surgery. When she was recovered enough to wear them she discovered the device still on. By then the receipt was long gone. I checked this site and got on with a bent screwdriver. There most definitely is ink! First blood red, then purple. Fortunately I was abble to wrap newspaper strips around the “pin” in time to protect the shorts. Just got a small spot of red that I mostly got out with acetone.
    Wish stores would use a more customer/associate friendly device. Those shorts were expensive and this was not a fun activity for me.

  24. poopy pants Says:

    Turned sideways, laid on pavement, 5 sharp whacks to the side of it with a hammer and it fell apart. I guess you have to be dumb to be a criminal.

  25. booballoo Says:

    So.. I broke the ink things (glass enclosed, the devils!) in my attempt to get it off. But I had some spray oxyclean and hot water on hand. Mine was pretty intense! But I think the pants will survive. I’m still kinda mad at Sears. But the sales guy did tell me he just finished training. Maybe it was my fault for being too chatty.

  26. hobbit Says:

    I found that if it has a little hole, then you can put a corkscrew into the hole at an angle and twist until the plastic comes appart

  27. Security Guard Lyndah Says:

    I hate those stupid tags! Esp when they are on shoes. As a Security Guard I have to buy boots and special water proof shoes every now and again I don’t want to home with a hole already in my shoe!
    Can’t they find a better way to get around all the punks who steal stuff? :) Thanks for the article though. it’s thought provoking

  28. * Says:

    I just used a small diagonal pliers to cut the metal rod in half, and there were no ill effects (i.e. ink or anything else). This worked in my case because the gap between two pieces of plastic was big enough to accommodate the head of the pliers. This would not work if the rod was really short, because you couldn’t fit the head in the gap.

  29. dougie Says:

    Put it in a vice and squeeze it until it splits open. The metal tinnerman clip can be pried up with a screw driver off of the metal spike. Pretty easy actually…took a total of 3 minutes.

  30. Kerrie Says:

    This happene to me at American Eagle. I drove 45 minutes to the store, spent an hour shopping for almost $400 worth of clothing and arrived home 4 hours later only to find on of those dumbass sensor stuck to a pair of jeans. I didn’t even try to remove but did a two hour roundtrip to go back to the store to have it removed. No apologies from anyone at the store including the manager. The cashier was so damn rude to me, I was tempted to go buy a permanent black marker and mark up all their merchandise or at least as much as I could. My point, that fucking piece of ant theft device did not even sound off when I left the store!!!!!!!!!!!! What the fuck, I was stupid not to ask for a refund. All I got was attitude from the employees at American Eagle and they looked at me like I had done something wrong. I had a receipt, did a two hour round trip to get the non theft proof device off and got totally pissed off for being treated like a criminal. I will never shop there again (estimating I spend around $3,000 annually for clothing for my four kids at American Eagle) and IF YOU THINK YOU WANT TO SHOP AT AMERICAN EAGLE, DON’T!!!! They don’t appreciate the business and act like jerks when they don’t do due dilligence in removing the NON anti theft device.

  31. Linda Says:

    Is there something about Sears and these tags???? I just got home with a pair of black Dockers (like the originator of this thread) and the f*#king device was still on them. My son kindly offered to go to the Store and save me a trip, but what a pain. Last year it happened with a coat. I really feel that I’m too busy to do the job of the store clerk and ensure that these things are removed, but I guess it’s necessary!

  32. Mark Says:

    Too much conflicting info. Finally tired of reading, I spread my slacks out on the concrete and hit the bump with a 5lb maul. From there it was easy to peel away the works and separate the gadget. Might have been a different outcome if I’d missed the target.

  33. Patrick Says:

    Super easy:

    Step 1) Laugh at all of the crazy posts on this topic.

    Step 2) Stop concentrating on the big plastic contraption…turn it over…grab wire clippers…clip away small round plastic tab surrounding pin…clip head off pin…pull through material. Ignore this step if you have enough room to just clip pin.

    Step 3) Fashion remaining anti-theft tab into keychain to take with you everywhere…set off as many store alarms as you can to repay for your frustrations.

  34. Patrick Says:

    Nothing better than setting off alarms on the way into the store. Own it and smile. Now they won’t check you on the way out. So, feel free to grab a few extra items that you don’t feel like paying for and show them your new keychain if they do check you!

    Kidding of course.

  35. Ilsa Says:

    This happened to me at a shoestore by a long-time employee.

    It was really easy for me to remove this with a screwdriver and pliers.

    If these are tampered with in the store, does an alarm go off?

    Because, if I can remove it without any problem, then some slick shoplifter can do it, too.

  36. Haylo Says:

    OMG This is happening to me right now… and I’m really ticked off I want to wear this shirt tomorrow, but noooo I can’t because a fat chick wasn’t paying attention to the damn thing.

  37. Corolo Says:

    Patrick is right. Turn it over, don’t mess with the big side (and the possible ink). I used a dremel tool with an abrasive disk (used for cutting metal). Took less than 30 seconds to grind off the head of the pin (working very carefully). Pull off the the plastic block attached to the pin and remove the device.

    If you don’t have a Dremel tool, this is a great excuse to get one at your local hardware store :)

  38. lacy Says:

    I bought a jacket from Sears and they left one of those stupid ink tags on it. My mom and I was pulling it apart with a pair of pliers and it exploded and ink and glass got all over us and the glass went in my moms finger! Im sick of Sears never shopping there again! Does anyone know if the ink is poisonous?

  39. Rebecca Says:

    Thanks to everyone’s suggestions so I could understand how they work. I ordered 3 pr shoes from; 2 came with the security ink tag. Wrapped a sandwich bag on the ink part, securely. Popped the front a little, which released minimal ink in the bag and snipped the wire with small wire cutters. Took about 10 seconds and no ink on anything.

  40. kim Says:

    There really is ink. Trying to get it out at the present. Thank you Sears.

  41. sethgordon Says:

    I have just removed mine WITH A SPOON.

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