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The 15 Most Common Questions Asked About Shoplifting

I spent 16 years working in retail loss prevention and I am Wicklander-Zulawski-certified to interview dishonest retail employees.

Matt C. Pinsker, criminal defense attorney & adjunct professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University Wilder School, Pinsker Law


Questions About Shoplifting

Apprehending shoplifters is an exciting field, and I enjoyed the 16 years I spent in the loss-prevention business. I still take an active interest in retail loss prevention and shoplifting, and I read up on the latest trends and news and keep in touch with colleagues in the business.

Here are the top questions I've received concerning shoplifting. Some were asked by shoplifters, and some were asked just because someone was curious. In the very interesting comments section at the bottom of this article, you'll be able to browse the many other personal shoplifting stories and questions I get asked about shoplifting, loss prevention, and internal retail theft.

1. If I'm not caught shoplifting right away, could I be charged later?

If you made it out of the store undetected, then it is extremely unlikely that you will be arrested. But if they have recorded proof of you taking the item, identify you on a surveillance video, and somehow find your name, then they can charge you days, weeks, or months later for a crime committed in the past.

Do I need to worry about going back to that store in the future?

Yes, you do. If the loss prevention people recognize you and have proof of the crime, they can have you arrested.

How long after shoplifting could I be arrested?

Rules vary from state to state, but typically, the statute of limitations for misdemeanor petty theft is one year.

2. What if I steal something that costs less than $5?

No matter how much an item costs, if you left the store without paying for it, then you can be charged with theft. Some stores prosecute all thefts, no matter how "small" they might seem.

Does the punishment vary according to the cost of the item I stole?

The difference between petty theft (a misdemeanor) and grand theft (a felony) is the cost of the stolen goods, but the cut-off point between the two varies from state to state. In California, the term "petty theft" applies when the property was valued at under $950. If you steal something that costs more than that, you can be charged with grand theft, which is a felony and can carry heftier fines, jail time, and stigma.

So any theft of any item, whether it costs a penny or up to $950, can be charged as a misdemeanor petty theft. BUT it really depends on the circumstances. For example, if you have been convicted of theft before, then you might be charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

What Is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting, another word for retail theft, is slightly different than burglary or robbery and is usually classified as larceny.

Leaving a store with merchandise you didn't pay for.

Paying less-than-full-price by tampering with price tags or obtaining fraudulent discounts.

Failing to scan items at a self-service register or hiding or "forgetting to pay" for items in your cart.

Returning items you didn't pay for.

Getting a refund that is more than what you paid for the item.

Using a theft detection shielding device.

Using or eating merchandise in the store without paying.

3. Can you go to jail for shoplifting the first time you do it?

The penalty for misdemeanors in most jurisdictions can include up to a year in a county jail. Although jail could be possible for a first-time offense, it is rare. It's more likely that you'll be charged for a civil infraction and ordered to pay a fine, be put on probation, and/or required to do some community service. You'll still have a criminal record if you're convicted, though, even for a minor offense.

What happens if I'm found guilty of shoplifting but have no previous record?

Even with no previous record, being found guilty can have many negative consequences. Shoplifting is a crime of moral turpitude, which means it can can block an application for a visa, green card, or U.S. citizenship, or cause someone who already any of these things to be deported. Any criminal conviction can have long-lasting consequences and having one on your record may affect many future prospects. Many schools, landlords, and employers have policies that bar applicants with convictions.

Punishment for misdemeanors can include fines, probation, community service, and restitution. First offenses are often charged as municipal ordinance violations, without jail time. The store will likely bill you a hefty amount of civil restitution, plus you'll likely be ordered by the court to pay a fine and do community service, and it will go on your record. A good lawyer might be able to negotiate for a lesser charge.

What would a lawyer say?

Matt C. Pinsker, a criminal defense attorney and adjunct professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University Wilder School, says this:

"What happens to a first-time adult offender for misdemeanor level shoplifting is extremely dependent on both the prosecution and the judge. Some prosecution offices have their own internal first offender programs to allow people to earn the opportunity for a dismissal. Other prosecutors are agreeable to reducing the charge to a lessor offense, such as 'trespassing.' Other places are harder and push for a conviction as charged, and maybe even some jail time. Of course, each case and each client is different, and with some judges and prosecutors you have more flexibility."

According to Aaron Baghdadi, a long-time criminal defense attorney
and former public defender in Florida,

"The likely outcome for first-time offenders is generally pretrial diversion (PTD), which is similar to probation, except if you complete PTD the state will offer nolle prosequi (the equivalence of a dismissal). If the defendant does not complete the PTD, then the charges will be reinstated against the defendant. A defendant is not entitled to PTD for a first offense, and
every once in a while a prosecutor will not offer PTD for various reasons.
However, prosecutors generally offers PTD for first-time offenders."

4. Can a store detective physically detain me?

Most of the big US chains have policies in place that prevent Loss Prevention agents from laying their hands on you (or chasing you, should you choose to run) or stopping you after you have left the store. These policies were supposedly created for the safety of the employees and customers, but is definitely a smokescreen to avoid lawsuits should a party get injured (or killed) during an apprehension.

Are Loss Prevention personnel allowed to touch me?

If you are physically detained by the management, store, or Loss Prevention employees, or pursued by store employees outside the company boundaries, you may want to talk with your attorney to discover if the stop was within company policy. Just because the law in your area may state that a merchant (or employees of the chain) can physically detain you, that doesn't mean that the store allows their employees to do so.

You can also be assured that if you choose to run (or walk away), the store will notify the police department and you will most likely be arrested.

5. How do I know if the store's Loss Prevention Department will try to send me to jail?

You don't. The decision to prosecute depends on the store's policies, your actions during the apprehension, the dollar amount of the merchandise stolen, and the local police department's policy on misdemeanor shoplifting.

Some stores have a set policy for prosecuting cases. For example, if you steal $20 worth of merchandise at Kmart, you're taking a ride to the police station. The decision has already been made and there is usually nothing you can say or do to prevent it. Exceptions are rarely made.

Will the store call the police?

I worked in a very high-crime city for a large retail chain, where the local police asked us not to call them for anything under the amount of $250. They only wanted to pursue felony cases, not misdemeanors. Sticking a DVD in your pocket is a low-level crime as far as the police department is concerned. They've got better things to do than bring you down to the police station to spend a couple of hours with you. A good Loss Prevention (LP) Department will work with the police department, no matter what the store's policy says.

Some police departments will just cite you and write you a ticket to appear in court on the charge. It all depends on your location.

Other reasons the store may call the police:

  1. You try to run away.
  2. You fight with or interact physically with Loss Prevention, store management, or customers.
  3. You don't carry proper ID with you.
  4. You've been caught once before (or more).
  5. They suspect you've been stealing from the store for awhile and have not been caught until now.

6. I was caught shoplifting, and they want me to pay a civil fine. What's this all about?

In some cases, stores who lose merchandise to shoplifters charge a civil fine to help defray the costs of loss prevention operations, lost merchandise, etc. Stores are usually entitled to ask for three times the amount of the goods stolen or $200
(whichever is greater), plus attorneys fees. The average civil recovery fee in the United States is $250. The store (or chain) usually partners up with a collection service and splits the fee down the middle.

Matt C. Pinsker, a criminal defense attorney, says he always advises his clients to throw out those scary-looking demand letters. "I've never seen a store follow through on their threats or warnings. While the law allows stores to recoup costs imposed by shoplifters, those letters are very dishonest, and are close to being a scam. For example, the merchandise is usually recovered and can still be sold, so a store sending a letter demanding money for merchandise which can still be sold as new is unethical and 'unjust enrichment.'"

Do I have to pay the fine if I'm not arrested or charged with any crime?

This fee will apply whether you have been arrested or not. The retailer will sometimes agree not to pursue civil damages if you pay the fine. The recovery people are relentless in pursuing this fee. Sometimes, they'll threaten you by saying you have to pay the fee to avoid getting taken to civil court, and when you go to court, additional fines may be imposed.

Again, Matt C. Pinsker, criminal defense attorney, advises against paying that fine, but it probably helps if you have a good attorney.

7. Do I have to leave the store with the merchandise in order to be charged with theft?

Lots of people are confused about this, and policies vary from state to state (and from store to store). Many people believe that they have to actually exit the store with the merchandise before they can be charged, but it depends upon that state and store's policy regarding concealment and probable cause. In many places you can be charged for putting merchandise in your pockets, even while you're still in the store, although the big chains don't usually allow their employees to apprehend on concealment of merchandise.

I know I'm being followed, but I have already concealed merchandise in my jacket pocket. What should I do?

Get rid of it. Put it on a shelf and leave the store. It's called dumping the merchandise. No merchandise? Then no crime.

It's embarrassing to dump your concealed goods in front of an LP and exit the store, but it's 100 times more embarrassing to be arrested for shoplifting.

Can I be arrested for merely putting an item into my pocket or bag while in the store?

According to Matt C. Pinsker, a criminal defense attorney, "Usually a store will not stop someone for concealment alone. If a person takes items and places them in a purse intending to steal, but later changes their mind and dumps them (prior to being stopped by Loss Prevention), it is extremely unlikely that the person will be prosecuted."

8. The LP claims they have me on video stealing. Don't they have to let me see the tape?

No. 99.9% of loss prevention detectives will not let you see video of your apprehension, although the police may want to see it (and usually do) if it is available. Sometimes they'll take a copy with them for evidence.

Most companies prohibit their employees from releasing video evidence to anyone, for any reason, without a release form approved by LP higher-ups. These tapes sometimes end up on the internet and increase liability for the store.

Fact: One out of every four customers is a shoplifter.

Fact: One out of every four customers is a shoplifter.

9. What if I was stopped and accused of shoplifting, but did not have any merchandise on me?

If you were stopped by an agent of the store, accused of theft, and did not have any merchandise on you, the employee(s) made something known in the business as a "bad stop." If this happens to you, please make mental notes of the following:

  1. What were you accused of taking?
  2. Were you touched in any way during the detainment?
  3. How many store employees/customers were present in the area?

They screwed up and stopped me for stealing when I didn't. What should I do?

You should ask for the person's name and position. You should also ask to speak with the store manager and ask for relevant phone numbers for LP and operational executives in the store. Don't say too much. Just explain the situation and be on your way, then contact an attorney as soon as possible to find out if your rights were infringed upon. Nine times out of ten, the store will attempt an out-of-court settlement. Sometimes it will be as simple as offering you an apology and a gift certificate. Talk to your lawyer before accepting any form of compensation.

Can I sue a store for falsely accusing me of shoplifting?

According to Matt C. Pinsker, a criminal defense attorney, under common law and in many states, "If a store did lack probable cause, a lawsuit may be possible. However, part of any lawsuit is proving not just the store was mistaken, but that it acted negligently and that there were damages. Even if the store was negligent, how much is a 15 minute detainment really worth? Unless the conduct of the store was outrageous, it's not worth suing."

10. Which stores don't prosecute for shoplifting?

Different stores have different policies. Some only prosecute for thefts above a certain dollar amount, others will prosecute even for a stick of gum. Some will take you to court, while others merely want to get their merchandise back. Some tell their employees or security officers to allow suspected shoplifters to leave the store before chasing them down, while others never pursue anyone beyond the store's exit. You can't know about a particular store's policy without insider information.

Are there any stores that are easy to shoplift from?

Some assume that stores with fewer cameras and security personnel and laxer standards are easier to steal from, but those places are also less predictable. A large chain will have many more and better-trained eyes on you, but the single employee of a small mom-and-pop store might have a gun.

11. Can Loss Prevention detain a pregnant woman?

Of course. An LP agent is expected to use discretion and store policy when it comes to making an apprehension. If you become sick or feel the need for medical treatment, ask the LP to call 911 immediately. The store doesn't want you to become ill or jeopardize your pregnancy, either.

What if I'm old, hungry, homeless, or physically or mentally impaired?

Most stores don't take a person's personal situation into consideration where theft is concerned. However, senior citizens 70 and older and children younger than 7 are usually exempt from being detained. (This rule can vary by a few years depending on which state you're in).

12. What if I only steal part of an item, not the whole thing?

No matter what or how much you steal, it's still a crime.

I stole a small bottle of perfume from a package that contained three bottles. The store charged me the price for all three. How is this fair?

If you open a package, steal something from it, and leave the remainder, the store can no longer sell the package as one item, so they charge you the retail price of the entire item as if you had stolen all three bottles.

Tampering with packaging in any way that harms merchandise could be considered "destruction of property" which itself is a crime.

13. Is it still stealing if I paid for the item, but didn't pay the full ticket price?

Fraudulently paying less than the full value of an item is also considered theft. This includes tampering with price tags or applying discounts you're not entitled to.

I was arrested for getting a discount on a DVD player from my girlfriend who is a cashier at the store. Why wasn't she the one to get arrested?

You can rest assured that your girlfriend will most likely suffer the same fate as you. Under-ringing (or sweethearting, as it sometimes called) has been around forever. Most companies have strict rules against an employee ringing up a family member, spouse, or friend. That infraction alone could get your girlfriend terminated, but since the store had you prosecuted, you can bet they want to interview your girlfriend for an admission to this crime and others she may have committed in the past. If the store has enough evidence against her, she could be arrested and charged.

Typical Shoplifting Penalties (BUT Each Jurisdiction, Judge, and State Is Different)

Stores may also sue you in civil court for the value of the merchandise and attorneys fees. If you ran out an emergency exit ("theft by emergency"), the crime is considered more serious, and may include increased charges, fines, and jail time.

CrimeChargeJail TimeFine

Sometimes, you'll be charged with a petty (not criminal) offense that does not go on your record.




A first offense of less than $300 in merchandise.

Class A Misdemeanor

up to 1 year in jail

up to $2,500

A first offense of more than $300 in merchandise.

Class 3 Felony

2-5 years


A second offense of theft of less than $300 of merchandise.

Class 4 Felony

1-3 years


14. What if I didn't steal anything, but my friend did?

It isn't a crime to be with someone who commits a crime, as long as you didn't encourage or help them. If you didn't know your friend was stealing, you should not be charged. The store has to prove that you knowingly participated in order to charge you.

I dared my friend to steal some makeup. I handed her what I wanted and she took two items for herself. Why was I arrested, too?

Because even if you are not in possession of the stolen items, you took an active part in the shoplifting. You are being charged as an accomplice. Most stores will not charge another person who happens to be with the shoplifter unless they take an active part in the crime. You physically handed the merchandise to your friend, making you an accessory.

15. Is it hard to steal from big-box stores like Target or Walmart?

Large retailers like Walmart and Target have famously strict policies against shoplifting, although they usually only prosecute for thefts of more than $25. However, they save evidence and communicate with their other stores so they can build a felony case against you. Big-box stores have lots of surveillance (cameras, microphones, security tags, sensors, alarms, etc.) and big and well-trained loss prevention teams that get lots of practice catching shoplifters.

Although they're usually not allowed to watch you in the bathroom or fitting rooms, they have eyes almost everywhere else. SuperTargets have digital recording systems in every checkout lane, which means every single transaction is captured and retained for about 45 days. The parking lots of big-box stores are often equipped with PTZs (pan-tilt-zoom cameras) to read license plates.

What happens when you're caught stealing from Target or Walmart?

Big-box Asset Protection Departments won't usually press charges against people under age 7 or over age 70. If you're caught, they might ask you sign an agreement not to enter the store again (they "ban" you). The first time a 16-year-old gets caught stealing, they will most likely be asked to return the merchandise and leave the store. If you're under 16, they must release you to a parent or guardian. If your parents can't be reached, then LP will call the police to come get you, so keep that in mind.

Would You Shoplift?

Further Reading

To learn more about policies and rules Loss Prevention personnel follow and how they are trained to deal with shoplifters, read 5 Things You Didn't Know About Shoplifting.

If you were apprehended in a store and want to know what's going to happen to you, read Caught Shoplifting: What Happens Next?


The information in this article should not be used as legal advice. If you've been caught shoplifting, consult a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Screwed Screwed on June 19, 2020:

Hey Joe. I see that you haven't been responding to recent comments, so I hope you're doing okay.

I'm currently a minor and am thinking of applying for a part-time cashier position at my local grocery store. However, I have a past of habitual theft (specifically at that store, and including makeup, vitamins, gum, individual granola bars, etc.) that went on for approximately a year before I stopped. It's been three months since I've last shoplifted there, or anywhere else (due to the guilt that I had felt each time from doing so), and I have not yet been caught.

Do you think that there's a major possibility of the store finding out about my previous intances of shoplifting once I apply for the job and give them my personal information? Is there a possibility that they would already know about me and the fact that I've shoplifted there multiple times and are waiting for the right opportunity to gather enough evidence to call the police? Would it be wiser to simply apply for a job at a different store? I've read a story today about a man who had shoplifted at a store and was only able to be caught due to the fact that he left behind a job application.

Just started reading some of your articles today, many of which I've found very interesting and enjoyable to read. Hope you can answer my questions, and again, I hope you're alright. :)

Ryanfatboystiller on October 10, 2019:

Hi there, I hope to have you answer this because i do not know what to do- I was shopping in walmart one day and had gotten quite a few groceries, i noticed some flowers in the middle of the walkway there on my way into the store and thought to myself, ill grab some on my way out before check out so i dont have to make 2 trips, well bad mistake on my part- i stepped right outside the door and went to grab some mums and was stopped by lp, i tried to explain that i wasnt done shopping and still had to pay and the LP who stopped me was extremely rude, accused me of trying to steal a whole cart of groceries, etc... cops were involved, needless to say i had to go to court and well it went in my favor, the judge said he didnt feel like i had committed a crime and we were going to revisit the case in 2 weeks for dismissal. Well i was leaving the courthouse and i was ambushed by the same LP person, a police officer and a detective. The detective asked me to come talk to him and answer some questions about another incident at walmart- i said are you kidding me. I know i didnt do anything wrong so of course i went to speak with him. He said that a customer service worker at walmart had reported that 2 months (yes 2 months prior) that i had been in walmart and up at the customer service desk with some boxes in my cart that she wasnt sure i paid for, the detective said on the video it shows me at the customer service desk, with a receipt talking to the woman and then walking out of the store and never going to a register to pay. A walmart employee helped me load the items into my cart and i went home. I remember that i paid cash that day and exactly how much my bill was, but they say there is no record of me paying. What can i do about this? I did pay for those items and now they want to come to my home and take them from me along with charging me AGAIN for not paying for stuff.

honeyskunk7919 on September 26, 2019:


I have a couple questions I haven't seen ask yet.

#1 I saw a reference to switching tags or price altering & how stores rarely stop someone or charge them with such, correct?

If someone is stopped for theft then would the price altering be added on?

#2 Do police before arresting a suspected shop lifter need to view the security footage? or do most officers just go off the word of the LP?

#3 When accused of shoplifting does the LP need to tell you or know what was Taken & where to locate said merchandise?

If the police are called does the LP need to be clear & direct as to what & where it is they believe to be stolen?

What if the LP tells the officer they saw a person put the chapstick in their bra, but when searched NOTHING is ever found that the LP states.

Can personal video recordings off a customers cell, the LP's or other employee's cell phones be used against a shopper?

Thank you in advance for taking your time to respond to questions!

crystal anne 100 on September 07, 2019:

I screwed up yesterday and i scanned several items at once and double scanned and supposedly missed items at self check out. Before i could step outside of walmart security and associates asked me to follow them in the back and since i refused and refused to sign anything or my id. Because i thought i had those rights and i try calling. My husband or attorney. I got told i couldn't use my phone and get off it by walmart and the police when they arrived. LP didn't rip the receipt out of my hands, but my sister. Walmart and the police threaten me and my sister. In the back i refused to speak or sign anything with out represent. All i did was reach for my phone which the officer threw out of my hand and then the other officer bum rushed me and i only screamed and kicked my legs, because it seemed like he was trying to break my arm. I can't move my arm, i have bruises all over. I was never read my rights and no female was in the back, all males. My collar bone near my neck hurts because of this cop. I'm charged with shoplifting and resisting arrest. What should i do? Do i have a case of excessive use?

Leigh from Georgia on August 15, 2019:

I got arrested in Georgia for misdemeanor shoplifting first offense but I was having some health issues with my sugar levels dropping at the time and honestly had no idea what I was doing. I remember having to sit down in the store bcuz I almost passed out and when I started feeling better I realized my bag was overloaded with merchandise. I was shocked at my myself (I'm in my late 30's no criminal record) and I placed each and every item back on the shelf where it belonged. I had nothing on me when a cop placed me under arrest and I went to jail for 3 days. What should I do? I certainly don't want this on my record if at all possible.

shine kamui on January 31, 2019:

I shoplifted at a retail store 6 months ago. I was with my two friends and one of us decided wanting to go steal clothes from a store. It was a busy day so there was alot of teens in the store. Me and my friend were trying to put clothes in our paper bag then one of the workers notice us and check the cameras. We both got caught and called the police. Our items cost to $900. Since me and my friend were still a minor, we didn't pay fine and we needed to give our parents number and information on what school we go to, birth date, etc. The store wasn't going sue us and just had us banned us from the store and mall for a year. (Don't worry I learn my lesson and cut all bad friends out).

But I'm wondering if it'll affect my record. Like I want to work at a retail store but I'm unsure whether to try because of what happen in the past. Any idea if I should give my application? Will my past effect my future jobs? need help!!!!

STEELEROSE85 on January 13, 2019:

My sister and i were shopping at our local grocery store, when we went to checkout at the register, the cashier started ringing up our items while doi g so the store manager slid in behind the cashier and asked my sister( in a very snotty and sarcastic tone) "if she knew there were cameras all over the store?" She replied with a yes. He then stated" the. You know we saw you place multiple itmes in your bag and have seen you do it before. The items he accused her of stealing were in the cart except some cheese, she had dropped item earlier and apparently the cheese had fallen in her purse, she took it out appologized and asked the guy 9f he had seen her shop lift on multiple occasions why had he not stopped her before? He then retorted with "i was waiting for the roght moment" i then stepped in and told him he was being extremely unprofessional and that there are protocols that should be fillowed for this type of situation and that by publicly shaming her when she was still in the check out line was not ok. He then told me i could leave the store too, i asked for his name sonce he had removed his name tag prior to accosting my sister, he refused to give it, he also refused to give the number to his supervisor or website. Told me to look it all up myself. So i guess my question is can a store associate stop you at checkout prior to you having a chance to pay for your items, accuse you of stealing, make a sceen, and publicly slander you? Then tell you that you are bannex from the store even though no charges are filed and you did not tey to leave the store with alleged stolen items?

Changedgal on December 30, 2018:

Hi. I was curious about the possibility of a job in LP.

I am not proud of this, but I previously was what you'd call a "career shoplifter". I'd been shoplifting since I was a small kid. Over time it became somewhat of an addiction. If I walked into a store, I had to steal something while I was in there.

Five years ago I was arrested for stealing a customer's wallet they had laid down and walked away from. I caught a felony for that incident because the wallet had credit cards in it making it felony theft even though I never used or even touched the cards.

I was sent to prison for two years. While locked up I took part in classes that opened my eyes to how many people are affected by one person's selfish actions. In the 3 years I've been out, I haven't stolen so much as a stick of gum.

I've seen ads looking to hire LP / AP. I feel my past would be an asset to this job (I stole so many times in so many ways, I recognize it when I see someone else doing it). What are my chances of selling the fact I've changed and getting a job in LP?

Also, I was banned from Walmart for the incident four years ago. What's the likelihood of getting them to lift the ban?

Wyllow1 on December 03, 2018:

When I was 14 I went to Walmart and got caught shoplifting with my friend (I am 15 now). I have always had a clean record so that was the first thing that has ever happened.They brought us to the back room and had us give the stolen merchandise to them. I was cooperating but my friend was not so they called the police. They had us sign a paper saying that we wouldn't go to any Walmart for a year and that we would get a paper in the mail for a $50 fine. I had to call a family member to come pick me up and I went home. I was wondering if my school knows about this incident and if it will affect me getting a job as a teenager. Will this clear from my record when I turn 18? Also I don't know if this is important but it is in Minnesota. Thx, hope to hear from you soon.

Sonya kaur on December 01, 2018:

Please help


Sonya kaur on December 01, 2018:

I need help

weakness4lippies on October 12, 2018:

Hi Joe,

Been having sleepless nights and cold sweat after shoplifting 3 lipsticks (not more than $50 in total) at my regular supermarket. Not sure if the act was caught on camera but I do my grocery shopping there every Sunday with my family. Should I just return the items discreetly? If not, will I be expecting LP to confront me on my next visit?

Thanks much.

Fin from Barstow on July 09, 2018:

An interesting article with a lot of detailed information. I'm surprised at the survey though where 2/3 of the people said they would shoplift if they were not caught.

I just wondered if there was a typical shoplifter and if there are typical ways people try to steal things...hide them in their pants, bra etc. Just walk out like they paid for it but didn't?

You seem to be really professional in your field and enjoy the work. I think it's unfortunate that establishments have to worry about that.

anansley on July 03, 2018:

this is really long, bare with me please

i just have a lot to say

okie dokie

so i've stolen from the only walmart in my small town a few times. the first time, i took two hand fulls of makeup out of the makeup isle (because there were very noticeable cameras around that area) and into an isle that seemed to have no cameras. i then unpackaged some of the items and put them in my bag, others were left in their package but i still put them in my bag. i came back later that night and did the same thing with more makeup. i'm not sure of the cost, but it was honestly, probably around $80. that was weeks ago. today, i went back in and took nail polish and some other things, using the same method, the cost being no more than $50. and later, at night i went back and took some other things, the cost no more than $80. the only difference this time was that not all of the items were from the heavily surveillance makeup isle but i still took them to places where i felt there were no cameras and no witnesses. i did however, buy a pair of socks using the self checkout. did i need any of these things so badly that without them i would have had a stroke and died? absolutely not, but i wanted them and that was enough for me. okay, so self checkout has a camera and it caught my face, which the cosmetic isle cameras had already caught. another thing being that i looked kinda sketchy. i was some kid walking around the store alone with my backpack underneath my baggy flannel. anyway, after i bought the socks, i went looking for my grandma who was still shopping in the store. this made me look even sketchier because now, i'm a kid, dressed in baggy clothing, with a bulky spot underneath her even baggier flannel, carrying a walmart shopping bag around a walmart store and wandering around the at 11 at night. i noticed one of the employees who was working the self checkout, walking behind me while i was searching for my grandma. then i seen my grandma checking out. another employee was behind her waiting to checkout as well and i asked to get in front of her to go to my grandma. i then see the employee who was walking behind me get at the end of that checkout line. so at this point i have a backpack of stolen items on underneath my flannel and a shopping bag in my hand just waiting to get home. so i'm standing there happy-go-lucky until i hear the employee next to me, say into her headpiece, "yes, ma'am" which sounds to me like a fucking conformation, clarifying that she does indeed, have eyes on the target. so i tell my grandma i'm going to the car, which is parked in the front, and when i get there, the employee who was walking behind me comes out with this important looking lady who was dressed in all black wearing a headpiece. and these two are at the doors scanning the parking lot. i quickly ran to the side of the car that wasn't visible and threw my bag under it to protect myself in the event that they seen me walk over there because clearly, this was a fucking heist and i was going to go to prison. a cop car then pulled up at the side of the building. the cop got out and started talking to the two people at the doors and then my grandma showed up. i hopped in the car and told her to drive (but politely cos she's my grandma). as we're leaving, another cop car pulls into the parking lot and that's all she wrote. i didn't see anything else. i casually brought up the fact that there were cops in the parking lot to my grandma and she told me she saw more around the building. now i don't know if those employees were on to me and called the cops or what's going on. and i don't know if the store has footage of me actually stealing but they do have my face on camera. i don't know what they would do with that footage though because the town is so small and they don't have their own news station. like where would they put that information? maybe print my picture in the newspaper or post it on the store wall? i don't know but i'm kinda sorta just slightly panicking and i don't know if those cops were for me since i've done this before or they just caught me today but no one confronted me in person so? all i know is that i spent $7 dollars on some socks that i don't want, i might casually be on the run from the cops, i'm 14 and too young to do time, i won't be going into that walmart for a while, and i would like to hear your opinion.

like do you think the cops are going to take the time to find me, maybe they seen me get into the car and got the licence plate, i dunno. help pls

and if you actually took the time to read all of this, thank you, ur so very kind.

Shamesham on June 25, 2018:

I just shoplifted a pair of shoes from JCPenney, It had no tags and they could not check the price for it. I put it on and left. I fell bad about but i dont know what to do. Do you think they can still find me?? Should i bring it back??

Michael Caleb on May 18, 2018:

Hi I was recently caught shoplifting on camera,i got home and was called by loss prevention saying they saw me on camera stealing. And they had my information because I just picked up a prescription there. The lady said that if I bring all the items back that she wouldn't notify the law and wouldnt press charges ,so I returned all items and the lady tried to say that I had stolen an item that I didnt even touch during my visit inside store. I did not steal this specific item and there's no video of me having this item in my possession at all, but she assumed I had more items then I returned just because there's a video of me and my partner adjusting the draws strings from my shorts, so she assumed that I was stuffing merchandise down my pants and guess she wasn't able to see if I was or not because of the angle I was standing from camera. But now I never came into any type of contact with the items she is saying I must have taken when I was adjusting my shorts and there is not any surveillance video of me coming into contact with the items she claims because I hadn't. So I was just trying to see if she can still press charges a whole day later even though I returned all the items I stole honestly and she is trying to pin me with items I never came into contact with during my time in the store?

nomorecars2020 on May 07, 2018:

I have an important question...

Will I be denied a job at an LP firm if I was approached by an LP for shop lifting under $80 of merchandise from 2+ years ago? I'm young and was going through a phase. They accused me of stealing 6 months prior but I refused to take credit for it. However, I did steal up for $80 of merchandise I fully admitted to ( I took them recently at the time)

I walked out with something $60 at a late shift. It was an accident and I walked out wearing it. I was surrounded by employees and no one said a thing. (The next day was the day I was approached by management and an LP). The other item was a $10+ coupon i found on a counter. It was there for hours so I took it. (That was on the same day of the day they approached me)

They insisted I took more items 6 months prior but I denied it and I didn't sign the paper they had with them because of that. I also didn't fight being fired because of the Items i admitted to..I felt they had enough to fire me from those two items. It was a petty mistake and now I'm looking for work. I have an interview soon.

Will they find that mishap from two years ago even though i wasn't fined and I didn't sign the papers they gave me?

Should I come clean during the interview?

Should I proceed with the interview without saying anything and risk future discovery?

I'm a hard worker and I have not done anything like this since..I'm a student and I'm focused on growing my career.

Pinkbrequels on April 04, 2018:

I am abosolutely messed up from today because i a stupid enough to try and steal 3 sports bras which ended up being a total of about $60. I knew they saw me because i heard them talking about me on the walkies. I should’ve just put the merchandise down but the little voice in my head told me that i was still n the clear and that couldn’t have been me they were talking about. I am so ashamed and embarrassed. They caught me at the door and had me go in the security room. They took my ID (which was an expired ID even though i had my current one in my bag). They filed something for Target, They took my picture, and told me i could never go back for a year for any target in the US or I’d be arrested. They told me that since my ID was not valid, they had to call the police in order for the police officer to be able to release me. They told me target will send me something in the mail. I can’t remember what it was because i was so nervous. They let me go early even though the police didn’t show up (after an hour) because i told them i had to be somewhere. They cancelled the call and told me they’d have to physically go down to the police station and file a claim and i will maybe get sent a letter to go to court, or pay a fine or both. So now i am questioning if this will go on my record. I am 21 and seriously just so horrified i wanna cry all day please help me. I’m too afraid to tell anyone i know for help. I don’t know what will happen to me

TheWingsofAnAngel on March 19, 2018:

Hi Joesph Addams! Thank you for providing helpful advice to others, I will be very grateful for any advice you can give me. First of all, I’m sure you hear this all the time, but it’s worth still mentioning, I have never shoplifted or stolen anything. I’m a clean cut, by the book, middle class, wife and mom. In the past, I have taken time out to walk back into the store to pay when I realize the cashier forgot to ring up the water on the bottom of the shopping cart.

I would not steal, have no desire or need to steal. This is my story:

I was walking around W-mart shopping, I have O.C.D. so things have to be in a certain order and similar items grouped together in cart, etc.

I had many items to purchase, several items were athletic wear & play clothes for kids, toiletries, cough/cold medicine, and 1 bag for kids after school practice, and I had found some cute jewelry on the clearance rack for my daughter. I had all the clothing color coded, by size in cart (Thanks OCD) Toiletries & Medicine in a particular order, and I was trying to keep the jewelry in order, nice and neat, but the earring post kept sticking through the clothing ($300 worth of clothing), the necklace chains kept tangling up, and I worried the heavier toiletries would end up bending or breaking the back of the cheap posts off these $1 - $3 earrings or breaking the $2 necklace. So as I have done many times before, I put all the clearance jewelry items in the bag I planned to purchase to keep them safe and organized. I knew from past experiences this has never been a problem because W-mart employees are required to check any type of purchased bag, box, bin, plastic tub, etc as they check your receipt at that the door. I got finished with the rest of my shopping and our store had 3 lines with REAL cashiers checking out, open and the lines were ridiculous. So I decided to go to self check out. As you may know, there is not a lot of room at the self check out counter to put all your belongings up there, when you have a cart full. I asked the sales associate to come over, so on the “video” it should show her coming over talking with me. I asked if it was okay if I made different transactions, as I explained that I had OCD and I like all the clothing & jewelry & similar items to be on one ticket and all the toiletries & medicine to be on another. She said sure. And I also asked if I could leave some things in my cart as I was ringing other items up, or what I needed to do with them since there was limited to space? She said in the cart is fine. And throughout my entire checkout process she was periodically checking on me and being helpful.

My first ticket was $77 (Toiletries/Meds)

I paid cash at self check-out.

My second ticket was a little over $300 for all the clothing items. I paid cash at the self check out again. This process took a little longer and the sales associate was helping me bc I was removing hangers and folding the clothing neatly. The backpack was sitting right there in the cart, but I honestly didn’t realize that I hadn’t scanned it at that point. At NO TIME, did the sales lady helping me say, “mam, did you forget to ring up this backpack and also I need to make sure it doesn’t have contents in it”

I had both receipts in my hand, half dazed after that long self checkout process, plus fighting a head cold (hence the purchase of cold Meds), usually the employee at the door will check receipts, check purchased bags or bins, and it would have been brought to my attention then.

But nobody was there. Instead, they stopped me inside the breezeway, still inside the store, in between the sets of doors, and escorted me to their little office... I was mortified and tried to explain that it was an honest mistake and please look at my receipts where I just paid over $377 for my other items, and that I had fully intended to pay for the $20 bag and $20 clearance jewelry pieces and please let me pay... I had another $400 cash in my wallet. I have never done anything to even remotely be in trouble.

The worst thing I’ve ever done has been getting a speeding ticket years ago!

This was a HUGE oversight on my part! and as I pleaded with the LP to please let me pay for the bag and contents and not call the authorities, she was not hearing it. I tried to show her I had plenty of cash on me to pay for the items that I had fully intended to pay for, I just simply overlooked it and it was a huge mistake to put the jewelry in the bag to keep it safe.

I have been in there plenty of other times and done similar things, such as putting fragile items in a plastic tub, box, bin, or bag to keep them safe, that I always purchase and I always tell the cashier I have fragile contents in the tub, bag, etc. however, they always double check any bag, box, bin, tub at the doors before you leave along with receipts for larger or unbagged items. There was nobody there this day! I’m on the PTO at school, the cleanest cut, straight laced woman and this was clearly an honest mistake that I was trying and offering to resolve in store.

I just don’t understand why they think I would try to steal $40 worth, when I just spent $377 and I had an additional $400 cash on me.

The LP called the police. And as I kept asking the police “am I under arrest?” Because I needed to call my husband and make arrangements for my child at school, the officer said that’s up to the LP.

So I proceeded to call my husband, and the LP started screaming at me to hang up the phone right now, and as my husband answered, I asked again, am I under arrest? I was told not at the moment that was still up to the LP and so proceeded to explain to my husband what was going on and he needed to leave work and make arrangements for our child and before I could get another word out, the LP kept shouting to hang the phone up and then officer started screaming and shouting at me to HANG UP NOW, PRESS THE RED BUTTON TO END THE CALL!

I said if I’m not under arrest I have to let my husband know what’s going on to make arrangements for our child, and the officer shouted at me to SHUT UP NOW!!!

SHUT MY MOUTH!!! I’m being detained!

So I hung the phone up in tears. I was calm and respectful the entire time, but I did have to make arrangements for child care. The LP decided to press charges and we had to wait for w-mart to return all my purchases and refund my $377, before we could leave. The LP was rude, very rude. She made comments as she saw my key to my luxury car with the emblem on the key, about how I can afford to pay for a luxury car, designer sunglasses, but try to steal $40 worth of merchandise..

she refused to believe it was a simple mistake, an oversight on my part.

Please give me any advice you can...

I have nothing on my record, this is going to ruin my name, over a mistake!!!

The cop and kept telling me to calm down and stop crying about it “ruining” my record and even made the comment that I could even have a career in law enforcement with shoplifting on my record!!!! Are you kidding me??? I’m upset that I’m going to have a record for an unintentional mistake that I tried to rectify immediately!!!

lola20 on March 19, 2018:

Hi! I am sorry to bother you! I have a kind long complicated question that maybe you can answer. "My friend" went to her pretty newly established Dollar Tree this afternoon and she got a basket, filled it up with items, and then went to an isle where the security cameras did not seem visible or did not seem like they can see he; she put the items that she could take the tags and packaging off of into the bathroom in her purse and the rest of the items she left outside the bathroom in the basket since baskets cant be taken inside the bathroom. So in the bathroom she took the tags and packaging off the items and concealed the items in her purse. She threw away the tags and wrappers and packaging in the trash and covered all of it with toilet paper. After she was finished about 20 min later she exited the bathroom and picked up her basket to go shop for some other items. Maybe it was the amount of time in the bathroom that employees got suspicious, I think she took to long in there. She noticed many Dollar Tree employees with their green shirts going to the bathroom and entering the bathroom right after she came out, they were also coming out of the little office behind the registers that has the double sided mirror. She took her basket of items she was going to pay for to the cash register line. She noticed there were many employees ( too many) so she got out of the cash register line, dropped her basket with the remaining items she was going to purchase at the register in one of the isles, and got her keys out of her purse at the front door, got in her car, and left. Can she be arrested or found or get in any trouble? I am sure the cameras must have gotten her face because she was in the store for like 2 hours shopping and looking around and probably got her walking to the bathroom but at least she left the basket outside the bathroom and only went in with the items in her purse. But I do not think the cameras picked up on her putting items in her purse while in the isles. Nobody stopped her, or spoke to her or anything, no cops came. But, could that have been called? Will they remember her face? Will cops go to her house? Please help! Thank you for taking the time to read this!

TheWingsofAnAngel on March 16, 2018:

Hi Joesph Addams! Thank you for providing helpful advice to others, I will be very grateful for any advice you can give me. First of all, I’m sure you hear this all the time, but it’s worth still mentioning, I have never shoplifted or stolen anything. I’m a clean cut, by the book, middle class, wife and mom. In the past, I have taken time out to walk back into the store to pay when I realize the cashier forgot to ring up the water on the bottom of the shopping cart.

I would not steal, have no desire or need to steal. This is my story:

I was walking around W-mart shopping, I’m have O.C.D. so things have to be in a certain order and similar items grouped together in cart, etc.

I had many items to purchase several items were athletic wear & play clothes for kids, toiletries, cough/cold medicine, and 1 bag for kids after school practice, and I had found some cute jewelry on the clearance rack for my daughter. I had all the clothing color coded, by size in cart (Thanks OCD) Toiletries & Medicine in a particular order, and I was trying to keep the jewelry in order, nice and neat, but the earring post kept sticking through the clothing ($300 worth of clothing), the necklace chains kept tangling up, and I worried the heavier toiletries would end up bending or breaking the back of the cheap posts off these $1 - $3 earrings or breaking the $2 necklace. So as I have done many times before, I put all the clearance jewelry items in the bag I planned to purchase to keep them safe and organized. I knew from past experiences this has never been a problem because W-mart employees are required to check any type of purchased bag, box, bin, plastic tub, etc as they check your receipt at that the door. I got finished with the rest of my shopping and our store had 3 lines with REAL cashiers checking out, open and the line was ridiculous. So I decided to go to self check out. As you may know, there is not a lot of room at the self check out counter to put all your belongings up there, when you have a cart full. I asked the sales associate to come over, so on the “video” it should show her coming over talking with me. I asked if it was okay if I made different transactions, as I explained that I had OCD and I like all the clothing & jewelry & similar items to be on one ticket and all the toiletries & medicine to be on another. She said sure. And I also asked if I could leave some things in my cart as I was ringing other items up, or what I needed to do with them since there was limited to space? She said in the cart is fine. And she throughout my entire checkout process she was periodically checking on me and helpful.

My first ticket was $77 (Toiletries/Meds)

I paid cash at self check-out.

My second ticket was a little over $300 for all the clothing items. I paid cash at the self check out again. This process took a little longer and the sales associate was helping me bc I was removing hangers and folding the time neatly. The backpack was sitting right there in the cart, but I honestly didn’t realize that I hadn’t scanned it at that point. At NO TIME, did the sales lady helping me say, “mam, did you forget to ring up this backpack and also I need to make sure it doesn’t have contents in it”

I had both receipts in my hand, half dazed after that long self checkout process, plus fighting a head cold (hence the purchase of cold Meds), usually the employee at the door will check receipts, check purchased bags or bins, and it would have been like duh!

But nobody was there. Instead, they stopped me inside the breezeway, still inside the store, in between the sets of doors, and escorted me to their little office... I was mortified and tried to explain that it was an honest mistake and please look at my receipts where I just paid over $377 for my other items, and that I had fully intended to pay for ten $20 bag and $20 clearance jewelry pieces and please let me pay... I had another $400 cash in my wallet. I have never done anything that would even remotely suggest I would shoplift,

This was a HUGE oversight and misunderstanding... and please allow me to pay for this bag and it’s contents.

The LP refused, she was rude, and when I asked her why would I do this over a $20 bag and less than $20 clearance contents when I just spent over $377 and I have another $400 cash in my wallet, why would I risk my name, my livelihood, for that??? I don’t understand I wasn’t trying to run, I was trying to pay, it would have, it should have been brought to my attention sooner before I was allowed to walk toward the first set of doors. I’m not the person who steals... I have a nice family, a nice home, nice car, I’m NOT on drugs, I’m a organized and responsible parent, this was I mistake on my part!! I was not allowed to use my phone. The LP ended up calling the police, and the police refused to let me use my phone to call my husband to get him to call out attorney. Yes, technically, I had stuff in the bag, that I forgot to scan, but I was immediately mortified when I realized that I forgot to scan it and said I have the means to pay for this now and I want to pay for it bc it wasn’t my intention to steal anything.

How dumb would I have to be to steal clearance items in a bag that I know first hand they have always checked!!????

I was so upset and scared when the LP had lied and actually called the cops, after she said we could talk about it in her office. She refused to show me the video... I know this looks bad... but I swear every word is true. I will be so grateful for any advice you can give me.

I have a meeting with a criminal dense attorney next week. Thanks.

Rocio Davila on January 14, 2018:

Hello,I hope you can help me . This evening I was caught shoplifting ,I know I did a stupid thing , because I really didn't do it out of necessity, I just did ,to see what it felt like ,had never done it before first time ,well now I know what it's like, there i got my little adventure (my stupid self) . Thing is that no cops were called only the LP and they enrolled me in a Caps program,so I pay 445 and do a program online, they swear once it's done with that it's done with,they said there will be no record no nothing,well expect for their store record only, but I'm just nervous that it will appear on my record when I try to apply for my citizenship. What can you tell me about this program, is it for real a just pay and done with? As I said no cops were involed, just me and them agreeing. I did sign a paper saying I was enrolling in the Caps program. Please someone tell me how this will turn out. Also she said om banned from entering, btw it was Sears, but she said like forever, and from what I know it's only a certain amount of time.

Someone please shine some light on me and I know I'm screwed up for just wanting to experience that adrenaline ,and never again will I do that. Thank you

Itswrong on December 28, 2017:

Long story short i was caught stealing a 8 dollar worth product in walgreens it was my first time i have a clean record and iam a good fella but bad times had me so they stoped i cooperated they gave me a traspass and a year ban then they let me go but my problem is that the employees knew he i was and where i work so they told my boss everything and they were telling everyone that knew so they are messing up my reputation can i take any kinda actions i got so mad that i thought of going back and starting a problem with the guy talking about and tell him to watch his mouth ! Do i have any kind of right ? I feel that they ruined my life!

Really wow on December 15, 2017:

Joe are you still active?? I really need your help? ? I have one that I've yet to see your answer? ? What about returning merchandise you walked out with?? I'm accident by the wayI'm accident by the way

Sadd on October 26, 2017:

(open for 5 minutes)

Hi rockingjoe I was stupid enough to steal an earphone from Wal-Mart a week ago. I signed a paper saying I was banned for a year. They took my info from my ID but the police were not called. Will they make me pay a civil demand? It's been a week but nothing yet.

stupididiot on October 03, 2017:

A minor was caught shoplifting and they ran out of the store. Their face was probably caught by the cameras the store claims to have. It's been past 24 hours since the incident. Are they in any kind of danger?

seeforewq on September 10, 2017:

can the store take back a shoplifting report after filing?

Andreasdimopoulos on August 17, 2017:

I had about 6 inches out of my 13 inch boot of out the entrance/exit doors of the department store Sears to see if anybody was smoking a cigarette because as i was already at the checkout stand, the manager said she was going to call another store to see if they carried the overall pants that i wanted to purchase in which this store didn't have . So as i turn around back into the store to purchase ( i just cashed my check an hour ago $225.00) I decided to go somewhere else so I leave out the store a cop walks

up to me and arrests me saying "where did you dump it" meaning that the stolen merchandise that i had on me was tossed in an instant because they are accusing me of stealing something and getting rid of it before leaving the store because I supposedly seen the cop out there waiting to bust me and I immediately turn around and " dump the merchandise back and leave. With footage or not, Can they still charge for shoplifting if I walked out with nothing?

ThievesGuild on August 17, 2017:

Hey Joe! I don't know if you folks are still active here after 7 or 8 or so months, but I'll share my story anyway as I'd appreciate the response. So here's how it all went down:

Yesterday, I noticed that my earbuds were blown out on both ends for some reason. I'm guessing it's from my love for metal and cranking the volume up full blast, so I dismissed it. After a while tho, I got really annoyed I couldn't listen to music at the gym or something, and plus I figured I was due for one of those fancy wireless Bluetooth buds I see my friends wearing, anyway. So when I hopped into my car and drove to Kohl's to find one of those damn earbuds, I was unaware that I left the most important thing you could bring to a store:cash. Unfortunately for me, I didn't realize until I was already at the electronics department, fumbling around in my pockets for a wallet I didn't have. So to avoid any embarrassment I thought would come from walking into a store and then walking out, I decided it would be smart to relive my younger years and swipe just one more thing for old times sake. That was a huge mistake. I knew for a fact that if they didn't see you concealing the mercy themselves, they can't convict you of shit. So I took a big risk(mind you, I felt it was already really* suspicious for me to walk into the store wearing a black hood and all black pants and shoes) and tucked the small package(Skullcandy Bluetooth headphones,$25) into my waistband. I was for damn sure I was out of the surveillance cam range, or so I thought. I guess they must've seen me arrive at the electronics department, stand there like an idiot for 5 straight minutes playing with my crotch, and then cut through into the next door bathroom. As soon as I hit the exit and walked out, one those "LP's" you've been mentioning a lot stopped me at the exit. I don't know if they're playing some kind of game with me by confronting me outside the store premises instead of inside it's walls, but at this point I knew they were onto me. This girl must've been new or something, because she looked only mid-20s or so. I won't judge by age though, who am I to do that, right? Anyway, when she approached me she right away she said, "Excuse me, sir? You need to come with me to the customer service office.", or something along those lines. Trying to play it smooth just because I was too damn proud to go home and pick up my things, I kept responding with the regular smoke;"I don't know what you're talking about","You have the wrong person", "Sorry but I'm just passing by", those kinds of excuses. Obviously she didn't buy it, but at that point I could've cared less since I believed I was pretty safe and there's no way she can touch me out of the store grounds. That attitude changed so quickly when she reached into her back pocket, whipped out her phone, pressed a button and put it to her ear. As soon as she did that, I took off like a rocket, heading straight for the back of the store that leads into a nearby forest. I apologize if my recollection was so unnecessarily large, but in a nutshell, am I safe after all that? It's only been about 12 or so hours and I'm freaking tf out. I flushed the packaging of the earbuds in the bathroom's toilet, and I doubt the cameras could've picked up my face with my hood on at the time, but I can't deny that I've shopped at this store in the past. Can they use my previous visits to the store caught on tape as reference? Or is their memory too obstructed by the coming and going of many other customers? And because those headphones are Bluetooth and can be used wirelessly, are the Kohl's uppers able to trace their location? Sorry Joe, but I'm just terrified by this. I can't go to jail, and I have a sick father to take care of. I'd really appreciate your input on this.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 02, 2017:

Hi Anxiou222, Both LP and store managers are not supposed to dicusss any confidential info with anyone. That's a serious Human Resources breach. That being said, it happens. I can't predict if it will happen in your situation, however.

jackie on December 17, 2016:

I was told that I could not go into wegmans for 2 year because of shoplifting. what will happen if I continue to shop there?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 12, 2016:

Anytime, DaDerail......well....hoping you won't have a next time :)

DaDerail on October 12, 2016:

Hi Rockinjoe

So its been about 2-3 weeks since the shoplifting incident, and good news is that I didn't get a Civil demand letter. I don't know if they sent it to the wrong address or what, but I'm fine with not getting one.

Again, thanks for the help, made understanding the situation much easier

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 11, 2016:

Hi John Doe 0000,

No I don't think it's appropriate. It's downright dangerous and I'm guessing is completely against CVS policy. Whether you had unpaid for merchandise on you, or not. CVS is a public company and is owned by the stockholders. I highly doubt they want their managers opening up any liability cases,

This is the stuff we used to do back in the day, but the wild west of loss prevention ended years ago. People used to hang off cars, go on car chases,

I suggest, if you haven't called an attorney to contact one immediately,

rockinjoe on October 11, 2016:

Hi John Doe 0000,

No I don't think it's appropriate. It's downright dangerous and I'm guessing is completely against CVS policy. Whether you had unpaid for merchandise on you, or not. CVS is a public company and is owned by the stockholders. I highly doubt they want their managers opening up any liability cases,

This is the stuff we used to do back in the day, but the wild west of loss prevention ended years ago. People used to hang off cars, go on car chases,

I suggest, if you haven't called an attorney to contact one immediately. Good luck.

Jon Doe 0000 on October 10, 2016:

I allegedly made a shoplifting attempt at CVS. The store Manager/Cashier at the Time of Incident heard the front door buzzer after I walked out and begin to pursue me. I walked to my car, got in, and closed the door. I put the keys in the ignition and the car in drive and at the exact moment that I put the car in drive the Manager/Cashier ripped open my driver side door and jumped in the car on top of me and plunged the car into park. This caused the engine to be revved causing damage to the car because I was pressing the gas when he put it in park. The car lurched and the Manager/Cashier had his elbow in my face and broke the key off into the ignition. Eventually the police pulled up and he was pulled off of me. Do you think that the actions taken by the Manager/Cashier were by the book/appropriate?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 29, 2016:

Hi wants to help a friend,

That will definitely not happen. These guys are not cops. They're retail employees. They need evidence and must follow a strict set of rules before they detain someone. Unless your friend repeats his mistake, he'll be ok.

wants to help a friend on September 28, 2016:

Hi rockinjoe

Thanks for guidance, My friend after that shopped many times at Walmart and recently he found Walmart people following him ( or keeping eye on him ), can they still apprehend to catch him for 2 years old mistake (which he did in other state and never got caught at that time) please help one last time. thanks in advance.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 28, 2016:

Hi Guilty 305,

You're welcome! Have a great day, yourself.

Guilty305 on September 28, 2016:

Oh thank you SO much! What a huge relief :) thank you so much for the wonderful (and super fast) response!! Have a great day!

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 28, 2016:

Hi Guilty 305,

Good news! Walmart is not coming after you for ringing out a bag of chips as a bunch of bananas.


First of all, the dollar amount is way too minor to even be concerned about. No LP in their right mind would stop you for a couple of dollars and have to spend 30 minutes with you in the security office when there are larger thefts happening in the store.

Also, many stores that use self scan checkouts, (not sure if WM is one of them), have forbidden making apprehensions on self scan customers, unless it's extremely obvious they are stealing.


Because those registers not only constantly malfunction, but people being people make mistakes. LP can't be detaining customers who have made honest mistakes because it's bad for business. Imagine arresting an 80 year old woman because she forgot to scan a box of jello.

Even though your theft was intentional, it was for a low dollar amount. Nothing to be proud of, but you already know that.

No one is going to be following you on your next trip to Walmart. Good luck.

Guilty305 on September 28, 2016:

Hi Joe, I've been reading these comments because I was seeking some info on a stupid and shameful thing I did at a walmart last night.

I went to a self checkout with a few items, scanned them all normally, except for a bag of chips. I rung them up as bananas.

I left with nothing happening, no one followed me to take my license plate numbers, etc. I feel terribly guilty and paranoid.

Will I be followed by LP next time I shop there? How long would they follow me, forever?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 28, 2016:

Hi DaDerail, Yeah, it must have been a little awkward getting that out in front of your parents, but the worst of it seems to be behind you.

The only benefit the civil demand has is to the store and the collection agency trying to get you to pay it. It's usually a 50/50 split between the two. The only benefit to paying it, is to get them off of your back.

As far as future employment? That's an iffy one. If you handed in an application to me for an LP gig, I would definitely check to see if you had shoplifted before. You wouldn't be hired. You might be able to sneak in an application for another position in the store, though.

There are plenty of places to apply for a retail gig. You didn't murder anyone, you didn't kidnap someone, you shoplifted $20 worth of merchandise. When you go for a job, don't even think of mentioning it during the interview.

The 1 year ban is pretty liberal. I worked for a supermarket chain that used to isssue lifetime bans, but never enforced them, unless the person was detained for shoplifting again.

Do me a favor. Check in and let me know how you make out with the whole civil demand process.

Good luck.

DaDerail on September 27, 2016:

Hey Rockinjoe,

So I did tell my parents about the whole incident, and it was......uh....an interesting time to say the least.

I am happy that I don't have to go to court, but it's gonna be a fun time knowing that my phone bill and mail will be full of Walmart making me pay them money

Also, a question I had about the civil demand, if I do pay it, would I have any benefit out of it. For example, hypothetically speaking, if I do pay the civil demand, would it improve my chances of getting a job at Walmart if I pay the civil demand right away. Or would they still not trust me even if I do pay it

Also also, I still find it kinda excessive that $20 worth of merchandise equates to a 1-year ban

And now that ranting is out of my system, thanks for the help, it is reassuring that someone who worked in LP gave me the facts I wanted to hear. I tried asking theft lawyers, but they gave me generic answers because I wasn't one of their clients. Hopefully, I won't be hear again to have the same conversation.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 27, 2016:

Hey DaDerail, The good news is, there is no court. Walmart chose not to prosecute and press charges. That's why they let you go. The bad news is, you may be receiving a letter from a law firm soon asking for a civil demand payment. It's generally around the $200-$300 dollar range. As an adult, the letter will be addressed to you. It's up to you whether or not to share the news with your parents.Many lawyers recommend not paying the fine, because the law firm will not take you to small claims court over the issue. They will, however, harass the hell out of you by telephone and mail. This is a civil charge. Not criminal.

You can read more about civil demand letters here.


As far as disappointing your parents, I'm sorry I can't help with that. I've been there before, when I was much younger than you. It wasn't a crime, but it was equally bad. Their reaction might surprise you. Parents expect this stuff once in awhile.

Good luck!

DaDerail on September 27, 2016:

hence why, it's kinda sad for an adult to be stealing Yugioh cards from Walmart, granted $6 is kinda expensive for a single pack

DaDerail on September 26, 2016:

Not a minor, actually turned adult sorta recently, they took the merchandise and my ID (driver's license) . They also made me sign a notice prohibiting entry. It's more that, just having your parents' be disappointed in you is one of the worst feelings, and I know if I tell them, there wont be a hole deep enough to hide my shame (seeing as I come from a good family)

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 26, 2016:

Hi DaDerail, I have a couple of questions to ask, before I can answer yours.

Are you a minor? Did Walmart ask you to sign any paperwork or take your personal information, or did they just take their merchandise back and send you on your way?

DaDerail on September 25, 2016:

Hi, I honestly did not want to have to write this message, but I recently was caught shoplifting at Walmart as a first time offence. It sounds embarrassing to say out loud, but I basically tried to steal 3 packs of Yugioh cards. One part being, that they are like $6 a card pack and another being that they were going to stop selling that product.

Basically, I did open the packaging, got the 1 year-ban, was given a warning, and no police were involved. Would they make me pay the civil demand letter and make me go to court for a $21 incident. I mostly trying to avoid getting my parents involved in this matter, as any child knows that a parent's disapproval is one of the worst punishments to get.

It honestly just came from that "what-if I did this" mentality as I always buy my things from Walmart and after a long time, needed that feeling of excitement from living my days in a rut.

This does pose a big problem to me as that Walmart is the closest grocery store I am able to go to when my parents are unable to get groceries since I don't drive

Thank you for advice when you see this message

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 25, 2016:

Hi Safeway Maui, If you haven't figured it out, yet, groups of teenagers have always (and will always) attract both LP and other store employees like a magnet.

You took an active part in the shoplifting and left the store. It doesn't really matter if anyone knows whether you took anything. You've been told not to return. Anytime you receive a verbal warning not to return, I would take it seriously-especially if you and your friends decide to go in together, again.

If they call the police, they will let them know you've been verbally told to leave the premises and that will piss off the cops, who may kick you out, or take you to the station for your parents or guardians to come and get you.

Walking in with mom, might be another story. A manager may be hesitant to kick you out in front of your parent, because they don't want to lose a customer.

That's an iffy situation. You never know what kind of mood the store manager will be in. I'd stay away, but that'sjust an opinion.

Safeway Maui on September 24, 2016:

So I am 16 years old a junior in high school and across my school is Safeway so after school me and my friends always go to Safeway and sometime I buy something or my friends buy something or we steal and we been doing this for a while now but the other day I wasn't planing on stealing and I was actually going through my bag and my friend grab a bottle and shoved it in my bag then I said what the hell is your problem and I didn't wanna take the bottle out cause there was other people in the isle so I just shoved my stuff back into my bag and I turned around and one of the workers said so i have videos of you shoplifting from before and I never said anything to you until now but if you return to the store we will call the cops and get you arrested and it made me mad cause this time I wasn't intending to steal but I know I have before but the guys said something to me and another girl so we walked out and i don't know if they knew I had the bottle in my bag right then but they only said something to me and another girl when all the kids in the isle had something in there bags too, but how long do you think I'm not able to go back to the store?, cause I go shopping sometimes there with my mom and I'm scared but the manager never did anything never asked my name or anything just told what he told me and I left.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 19, 2016:

Hi, Walmart is not going back two years to review video (if it's even available) to prosecute someone. It doesn't work like. It appears to me, your friend is ok.

Good luck.

Starving and jobless on September 15, 2016:

I left by myself and was called by the police to report in and no its not thousands of dollars it was about 25 dollars worth of food i turned myself in and got a ticket

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 13, 2016:

Hi Staving and jobless, Yeah, it's possible but it's doubtful. There are a lot of Walmarts around but the odds of LP teaming up in that capacity is too low to even worry about. We're not talking about thousands of dollars of merchandise are we?

What happened to you when you got caught. Did you leave with the police or by yourself?

Starving and jobless on September 13, 2016:

Hi i have a question if you were caught shoplifting food at one walmart but had been stealing food from another can they pull footage from both walmarts to make a case and send you to jail

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 12, 2016:

Hi neveragain, Nope. No one's going to run your plate or call the police. The LP stopped you and did not complete the apprehension. If his superiors knew what he did, he'd be in more trouble than you.

neveragain on September 11, 2016:

Thank you. Would they run my car's license plate and report to police or use it to get my address and send the civil demnd? I'm so scared, I hv never done this before and my mind was so clouded that day. Never again :(

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 11, 2016:

Hi neveragain.

LP is supposed to know what you concealed and exactly where it can be found on your person. It sounds to me as if the LP knew you took something, but wasn't sure what that something was. That happens often, due to a blocked camera view from a rack or fixture, or someone walking in front of you and blocking his view. What surprises me, is that he didn't complete the apprehension after stopping you and seeing the makeup. That is what is known in the business as a discontinued detention. It's a major Loss Prevention "no no" and people can be fired for making them.

The only mistake you made, was opening your bag and letting him put his hand inside. An innocent person would never do this. An innocent person would invite the LP to call the police and resolve the issue right then and there.

I'm pretty stumped as to why he would let you go, but since he did, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. No one is coming to your door and Nordstrom isn't using your personal information to open an investigation with the police.

If Nordstrom wanted you arrested, it would have happened right at your car.

Good luck.

neveragain on September 11, 2016:

2 days ago on Friday afternoon I went shopping on Nordtrom rack and bought merchandise for over $100. I was having a bad day and was scrambling in my bag for my phone + wallet and absent mindedly put some make ups worth $21. I paid with my credit card and also gave my details to the cashier for a reward program, so they have my address etc. After paying for the $100 items i left the store and walked outside to the parking lot. an LP officer stopped me next to my car, identified himself and told me that he saw me placed some accessories in my bag and demand to see inside my bag. I showed him my bag, he looked, reached into the bag and touched the make ups that I didn't pay for, and said that those are the items he was talking about. Out of panic I told him those were mine from before. He replied and said 'i saw you put them in your bag'. I responded firmly annoyingly and told him that i had looked at some lipstick and tried it but I left it in the store and suggested him to look in there for himself. He then let me go without asking me to go to the back room. But im so scared right now realising that technically I did steal the $21 make up. My question is, based on your experience if the LP didn't ask me to go to the back room get my details and let me go, does that mean I got away with it ? He mentioned initially that he saw me put some accessories into my bag, while I had make ups not accessories, could this mean that he wasn't sure and didn't see me put the make ups in my bag ? Can nordtrom rack use my credit card info and my reward program application info to me the civil restitution letter and use them to also report me to police so police can come after me ? It is Sunday now more than 48 hours after the incident, would the police have already come if I was reported? I'm so paranoid about this and would like your perspective so I can prepare myself on what to expect. Thank you so much in advance.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 10, 2016:

I'm afraid you're going to have to get a lawyer for this one. This is out of my scope of experience. This is more of a police matter, than a store issue. All I can do is wish you good luck.

Pepper on September 09, 2016:

Hi I was in lowes a month ago left with paint didn't get caught girl used my id to return today I received shoplifting charge in mail from Paramus can they do this I'm not on camera returning this stuff this will be my third one in twenty yrs I can do ninety days righty can they do this

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 08, 2016:

Hi Scared, Thanks for writing. Relax. If Walmart wanted to (or were able to) apprehend you at the time, they would have as soon as you left the store.

The security car could have been parked behind you for a number of reasons, but if I had to guess, I would say that LP saw you shoplift the hair product, (or thought they saw you steal) and got the security guard to throw a scare into you. It's something I used to do all the time.

Next time you might not be so lucky. The more you shoplift, the greater the odds you'll be caught. Not worth it for the $10 or $12 you got away with. Besides, your sister will kill you.

Good luck!

Scared on September 07, 2016:

So i was at the walmart across from my neighborhood and i went there in my sisters car. I stole 2 small cans of axe hair gel and walked out. When i got to the car i was waiting for my sister to come back and the car that circles the parking lot with a flashing light on top came around and parked behind where i was parked and im paranoid that they parked there to write down my license plate. Ive stolen from there before small things but walked home after and now im afraid the cops are going to show up to my house. Im 16 btw. Help me bro pls

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 06, 2016:

Hi Beyonddumb,

Sounds to me lke you got a free pass from Dillard's.

My guess is the employee who stopped you is taking that $200 worth of cosmetics for herself. She wouldn't be able to do that if she called the police.

If they wanted to prosecute, they never would have let you walk out. They would have called the cops immediately.

You're good to go. You got lucky. Thanks for writing.

Beyonddumb on September 06, 2016:

I was shoplifting at Dillard's, and Had other stolen items in a shopping bag from a cosmetic store, about$200 worth. The store employee called security and the employee told me to take out the stolen merchandise in the of middle of the store. I did and then she looked into my bag and saw more items and told me to give her the bag, to leave and never enter the store again. I walked out of the store back into the mall without any stolen merchandise and walked through the mall to my car. Since I left without any stolen goods would they call police and try to track me down from the parking lot security footage. And would they contact the cosmetic store to tell them about the goods? And should I be concerned they would call the police? It has been 3 days, concerned the police will show up and detain me.

Thank you- reading all this has put into perspective how stupid stealing is.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on February 04, 2016:

Hi Jen1414, Thanks for writing. Over the years, I've had many parents ask what is the best way to handle a juvenille shoplifter? My answer always was (and still is) let him/her get caught. That being said, you're a mom, I'm sure you'll come up with an appropriate punishment.

As far as how you physically handled it, It's doubtful the store even knew your kid took the item in the first place. If the conditions were right and they could have stopped him, they would have. Will they research it? No. Will they approach him the next time he is in the store? No. He's off the hook, as far as WM is concerned. Good luck!

Jen1414 on February 03, 2016:

My (underage) stole two items from Walmart and was not stopped at the scene. He panicked and told me about it, so tonight we went in the store and purchased an identical one, then put it back in the shelf. There were no more of the other item, so we just brought it back in the front door and paid at self-checkout. Did that fix it? (Other than dealing with him stealing!) I mean, if he wasn't stopped yesterday, it's possible hat they don't know until it's inventoried, right?

mmbee123 on January 04, 2016:

I have a question you have not covered in all that I have read.

My friend and I shoplifted several occasions from a grocery store. The last time My friend was alone, got stopped for not paying for a gallon of milk, and went through the process - (LP and police) the police gave her a summons. They reviewed the last 6 times we went to the store and have charged her with 12 counts - because I had my daughter so she handled the transaction for both of us every time.

They want me to admit that I knew WE were stealing - they would drop her charges to 6 counts. They claim if I tell them I knew I was stealing, they will NOT be able to charge me. (even though there is camera footage of us not paying for some items). They have information on me from my friends boyfriend giving my name and phone number to the police.

We are both on camera (we have not seen the footage) together those 6 times. Can I be charged?

(We started down this path because we did in fact accidentally walk out with items one time - so the next we tried it and got away with it - so we continued to "get away" - until last week.)

Can I be charged for stealing those 6 times?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 02, 2016:

Hi Getting Away? Shoplifting is a super-low priority crime, so unless your friend committed a few murders along the way, it's pretty safe to say that he'll be ok-especially since he's stopped.

You increase your chances of getting caught shoplifting with every theft, but the sad truth is, not all shoplifters get caught.

Getting Away? on January 01, 2016:

Hi Joe,

I'm really interested in crime shows which typically involve murder, but reading your articles and comments, I got really interested in how theft and shoplifting works (as it's not something I've ever seen on TV). Your comments are really interesting to read! I was wondering how long someone knows until they're free. I remember someone from high school years ago who shoplifted small things (things like chocolate bars and other small snacks) from the same store often and he never got caught. Could the store just not have had LP? I've only seen one security guard posted by the door when I pass by. I do hear that the store gets hit by other high schoolers too.

How could someone get away so much? It's been probably what, 3 or 4 years since then and I know he's still fine (he still makes posts on Facebook so I assume he's fine). He stopped cold after graduating though but could someone still be looking for him after all these years?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 14, 2015:

Hi lost and scared, Before you do anything, consult an attorney. Not being one, I can't comment on any legal issues you may have with this case.

That being said, your arrogant Macy's interviewer (probably uncertified, due to his rudeness during your questioning), was unable to give you an accurate list and pricing of items you may have stolen because he didn't know what they were.

When a certified LP investigator questions an employee, they will know at least two or three incidents of theft before the interview begins, but their job is to get you to admit the incidents they do NOT know about. So for example, if I know (and have video evidence) of you leaving the store with a television you didn't pay for, I may say something during the interview like, "Besides the TV, let's discuss some other shortages." You will be so shocked that I know about the TV that you will assume I know everything else (if anything), you've done before. That is rarely the case.

So I'm assuming after you signed your confession for $584 you were terminated from your job and left the store with the promise to pay the amount back.

If no police were present to arrest you after your confession, it's highly unlikely they will pursue charges. Good luck. Let me know what happens.

lost and scared on December 12, 2015:

I used to work at macys and was caught sending 4 packages of merchandise to a friend a cousin. I was brought in and questioned and the guy who interviewed me was extremely arrogant and kept cutting me off because he didn't believe or didn't like my responses. I ran off a list for the items I knew were taken and he wouldn't tell me all that was stolen he wouldn't give me a repayment price so he only made me repay what I told him on the list. He wants to take criminal action but to me that's going to be extremely one sided seeing as though all he did was disagree with everything and never just came out and said pay this amount. He only told me 584.00 from the list I came up with. What should I do?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 10, 2015:

Hi FamilyEmbarrassment, That's a great question. I wish I had an answer for you. I'm not familiar with how membership type warehouses handle their "No Tresspass" situations.

I worked for a rather large supermarket chain that used to send a written no tresspass order to (arrested, or released) shoplifters. Even though these no tresspass notifications were legitimate, we were told to NOT enforce them. Also, two of the big box retailers I've worked for in the past were adamant about NOT enforcing no tresspass orders.

However, If you were notified to NOT trespass and you were later involved in a shoplifting incident, you would be charged with both offenses.

I have a huge readership on Hubpages and hopefully someone who works at a member store will reply with a useful answer. Sorry.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 10, 2015:

Hi Mistake, If you've been asked to appear, it sounds to me like the store is pursuing charges. I don't know why your attorney would give you the answer he did-unless I missed something.

FamilyEmbarrassment on December 09, 2015:

Hi Joe, wow I loved your articles, and I really enjoyed reading through some of the comments here.

I have been trying to find out about Costco bans--I shoplifted some items at a local Costco ~2 years ago, and got caught. It was a bit of a wake up call, but when I got caught they didn't call the police (though I had stuffed my purse almost full). they cataloged the items, took photos of it and me, photo copied my drivers license, and terminated my membership. I also told them my work place (why?), but did not say my social, and (sadly) signed papers to say "yes I took these items and this happened" (I do not have any copy of that though).

My membership was originally something a family member got me (added me to their membership) , and they've been asking me recently about putting me back on their membership. I keep saying no don't do that, but I don't know what kind of information they release if someone tries to put me on (will they just say I'm banned? or will they say I was caught shoplifting?)

Do you know about life-bans? I was hoping to , at some point , get a membership there and not be constantly frightened of getting arrested for trespassing, but I have no idea! Maybe if I got married I could get a new membership? This is just so sad that I'd mess things up like this.

To be honest, I've always had a bit of a sticky finger problem--I'm surprised I hadn't been caught up to that point. It was really just a matter of time. I did learn my lesson until 6 months later when I got caught and prosecuted for stealing at Kohl's. I was able to do a rehab program and get the case dismissed though (misdemeanor), so I'm hoping it doesn't go on any record that would impact a job application (never arrested, and never charged with anything).

I definitely learned my lesson, but damn it's hard in this world with such expensive things to just pay for them all. It really shouldn't be hard to be an honest person, but sometimes it's like trying to breathe underwater.

Hope you can help out a bit with the life-ban question thing... I feel like I'll just make Costco a loss for my life -- technology these days can link shit together and save everything.

Mistake on December 09, 2015:

I went to my normal gas station this morning and bought me my everyday soda. I go to this gas station everyday for a soda and sometimes I get a small drink. Its a drink used to relieve pain. Today I went into the store and pick a vita zen up righr away. Then went and got my drink, when I was filling up my soda I put the other in my pocket without realizing it. I went up to check out and grabbed another small drink and while waiting in line I put it in my pocket to grab my phone. When I got up to the register i didnt even rememebr grabbing the smaller drinks. I paid for my soda and went home. I live righr by the gas station and it takes less than a minute to walk there. About an hour later a officer comes to my house, knocks on the door, and asks to come in. I let him and he tells me that one of the attendants has me on video stealing 2 of the smaller drinks. I realized I had forgotten that I even had them and asked the officer if I could go and pay for then, he said no, I then said I still have them and will bring them back, the officer said he would take them and note that I gave them back and he then said I wasnt under arrest but he wrote me an order to appear for next month. I spoke with a lawyer who said he couldnt help until we know if the company is going to pursue charges. The total value of the 2 smaller drinks was $14 and some change. My question is what is the likely hood of the coporate gas station pressing charges?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 02, 2015:

Hi jj, PLEASE tell me you didn't sign anything. You've experienced what we in the LP- business call "a bad stop." It's when an innocent person is stopped and taken back to the offfice. There are usually three reasons for this.

1.) The LP thought he/she saw something that didn't happen.

2.) Another employee told the LP someone stole and they went out the door on blind faith and stopped them.

3.) The LP is stupid.

Sometimes situations do appear different on camera than what is actually going on. If the LP thought you were up to something, he should have called the cashier who rang you out and asked her to check out the situation. Instead, this guy just took it upon himself to play cop.

So here's the way I see it.

You did absolutely nothing wrong. The LP is 100% at fault for this happening to you and demanding an honest customer return to the office. This is a serious issue in any retail environment and failure of the LP to report the bad stop will usually result in termination.

You have several options in this situation. Please read the article I wrote below on bad stops. There are several suggestions that will help you handle this.


In the meantime, write down as much info as you can remember. The day, date and time you were stopped. Do you have his name by any chance? Any forms you signed, if anything. Also, not knowing if you are a make or female? Was there a witness of the same sex in the room with you while you were in the office?

Telling you that you can't change the socks was his way of putting the blame on you and justifying your trip to the office. Don't let it happen to someone else. This guy needs to either be fired or retrained. At the very least Walmart owes you a complete apology and a MASSIVE gift card for your troubles.

Please let me know what you decide to do. I'm very interested in this case. Good luck, jj.

jj on December 01, 2015:

Can you please help me? I recently went to walmart, I saw that they were having a sale for socks. 7 pairs for 2$, so I grabbed to packs and realized I only liked one pair of sock from the other pack, so i simply switched the pair of pattern colored sock for the other. Same brand, same price. ( excluding the other items I also brought to the register) I paid for all my items ! As I was leaving the security personal stopped me, and asked me to go the office. He told me I was not allowed to switch socks, and took all my information down and my social. He said nothing else gave me the other pair of sock back, & let me go. But I understand how i would be considered shoplifting if I "paid" for the exact amount of socks, same brand, nothing was broken. ??? Also, why did he need all my information?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on November 16, 2015:

Hi FlushedFace Tingle, Did they announce your first and last name? If so, my guess is they were trying to scare you. If Walmart had enough evidence against you, they would have apprehended you at the time of the crime. They could have missed a step, (or two) and not been able to go after you. As far as scaring the hell out of you? I probably would have done the same thing.

FlushedFaceTingle on November 12, 2015:

I've done something horrible. Horrible and ignorant. I've been struggling financially, I was invited to go hunting, I went into Wal-Mart to pick up a hunting license. While waiting I saw a hoodie (30.00) and a gun case (9.00). I tried the hoodie on right there and never took it off, had intentions of paying for them both. But after the license... I did not have enough money. So I walked out with them both, no concealment no nothing. Right out the front door. I did not get stopped or confronted. Two days later I went into the same wal-mart to pick up a few items (pay for not steal) . I was in there 5-10 mins, over the intercom I heard "security scan, (my name)" so they have my name now?? What does this mean? Oh I left in a hurry... It was a stupid stupid mistake. But I have not heard anything. I'm afraid they will contact my job as I was wearing my work shirt when I went in there the second time. Or worse jail. All over things I wanted but did not need. I'm ashamed and I'm scared.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 21, 2015:

Hi Mansa Romi, You made a deal with the manager. He's not going to take any further action-unless you decide to do it again, of course. You were caught by the door alarms. If there had been enough video evidence, (or even LP in the store at the time), your case would probably have had a different outcome. I wouldn't worry about them researching any video.They had their chance to prosecute and they didn't. Facial recognition? Walmart (and the other big box stores) are a long way off from that. Good luck!

Mansa romi on October 20, 2015:

I shoplifted a few times at walmart and on occasion i got caught manager asked me to return everything and promised that he will charge me nothing i left the store immediately after returning stuff. Can they now check the old video tapes and take some action although i did not gave any piece of id to them but i am afraid that video tapes can be a problem. I always went to change room and took the bucket there. Then come out with my bag full. In tapes they can only have my face. I got caught by alarm system at doors. They don't have any other proof. Can they use facial recognition for me and know who i am. I can't sleep now.please help me

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 20, 2015:

Hi Losingit. There's really no way to answer your question. What may be an good case to one store (or police department) might be nothing to another.

Losingit on September 20, 2015:

Oh my thank you for the quick response!

It was a span of 2 months but started 4 months ago and stopped 2 months ago.

What is an active case?? With police or with store LP?

Items made person sick so didn't know what Else to do but you are right!

truly appreciate your time and input

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 20, 2015:

Hi Losingit! Thanks for writing. Sounds to me, like this person has probably gotten away with it. I say "probably", because I'm just making a guess with the information you've given me. If the subject wasn't stopped over the course of 4 months and no police have paid them a visit, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet they have more important things going on. Although shoplifting $1000 over the course of 4 months is admirable (as far as theft is concerned), it's pretty tame, considering there are people who will clean out a store of $1000 in one sweep. This should be a lesson to this chain. They need to step up their game. As far as case building? I'm sure it's an active case, but if there is nothing further, I'm guessing it will drop to a more pressing issue. As far as donating the items, I would ask that no one do this with shoplifted merchandise in the future. It's pretty sad when a charitable organzization receives stolen goods. Good luck!

Losingit on September 20, 2015:

In addition...person never concealed in sight just in dressing room (sometimes left tags though). Person has checked for summons (none) and checked for warrants (none). I know it's impossible to know and to ask you. Sorry

Losingit on September 20, 2015:

almost 4 months ago a person started shoplifting clothing from a well known Big chain store. Incidents occurred in 3 of the same name stores in surrounding area. In a 2 month span this person shoplifted a dozen times ($1000 probably). This person was never stopped or followed. This person knew they were losing their mind and very regretful so they stopped and donated items. person has been freaking out about investigations or case building. Person did it with ALL the obvious signs to be suspected and caught. Person stupidly kept doing. But Person has not heard anything about it ever and has not gone back to any of the stores since. What do you think has happened?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 17, 2015:

Hi Wantyouropinion, As much as I'd like to help you, it's impossible to answer your questions, other than your first, which is difficult as well.

In most cases, if a shoplifter is apprehended by LP and then released, that's the end of it. The only thing you will probably receive in the mail is a civil demand notice and perhaps a no tresspass notice.

If the LP releases you, pending a court date, the time frame of when you will receive notice, all depends on the police department, the prosecutor, the court calendar, the size of the town, the dollar amount of the crime, etc.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 17, 2015:

Hi Question, No one is going to the trouble of getting your name and address unless it's worth their while to do so. Read this article on what LP needs before they apprehend you. It should answer your questions.


Wantyouropinion on September 17, 2015:

I've read most of your posts/answers. I know you don't answer questions about the court processes or what happens after PD gets involved but Maybe you can answer these based on what you've seen or read or found out about.

If a shoplifter is caught by LP but no police came to store, how long until citation is sent?

If a shoplifter is caught by LP but flees the seen how long until citation is sent or arrest is made?

If shoplifter is not caught by LP but caught later via video, how long until citation is sent or arrest made?

thank you you rock btw

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 16, 2015:

Hi stupidshoes, Thanks for the kind words. Best of luck to you!

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 16, 2015:

Hi Question, That would depend on a few things. Do I have all the elements of a succcessful shoplifting as outlined by my company on video? Do I also have her name/address? Without this info, I'm not calling the cops. If I lose to the same shoplifter more than a few times, I'm doing something wrong and would have to rethink my strategy. I'm probably going to sit in front of my shoe department camera until she returns.

stupidshoes on September 15, 2015:

Thanks for such a quick reply, you've definitely helped put my mind at ease. And I know for sure it won't be happening again, especially after reading through a bunch of these comments and seeing how often people get caught. You've got a great hub here!

Question on September 15, 2015:

Regarding your response above to stupidshoes, what if suspect does go back, does it again and gets away...again? After looking at video recognize suspect, Would they report it then? Or add it to her file for next time?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 15, 2015:

Hi stupidshoes, Sounds to me like either Target wasn't on the ball, LP was in the bathroom (or lunch), or had possibly left for the evening. It appears you've gotten away with it, as Target LP would have been waiting for you on the way out. I actually took a tour of a Target LP office several months ago and it was very well equipped with cameras, both inside and out. One of the best set ups I've seen. I don't see anyone calling the police for under $40. It's usually not worth the time to investigate it, However, if they know what you look like, LP will definitely be watching you next time waiting for you to make a repeat performance. Good luck!

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 15, 2015:

Hi VeryAngry, Sorry I missed this earlier. Yes! A store can trespass you at anytime. I have never seen a no trespass carried out in the manner it was with you, but once you're notified, it's official.

stupidshoes on September 14, 2015:

Hey Joe.

So I made a huge mistake and stole a pair of shoes from Target about four hours ago. No body stopped me inside the store and I didn't see anybody outside watching me, although I didn't want to look around a whole bunch. I also made a purchase for a few smaller items and paid for them with my debit card, and I'm pretty sure they have cameras in the parking lot. The shoes cost around 37 dollars before tax. Do you think there was an LP on duty who might have called the police? Or am I in the clear? I don't even really know why I did it and am feeling super guilty and anxious.

veryangry on September 10, 2015:

So even though it was so long ago they can still trespass me?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 10, 2015:

Hi veryangry, They usually mail a "no tresspass" notice to your home. Coming out after the fact and embarrassing you like that does no one any good. Calling the police was a bad PR moveon Walmart's part. Personally, you could make a complaint to Walmart corporate, but they probably won't respond to you. Let me know what happens if you do it. Good luck!

veryangry on September 09, 2015:

Rockinjoe Idk they didnt let me rread it just said it wAS a trespass from.....he said that I wouldn't be allowed to come back to that Wal-Mart but after signed they told me all Wal-Mart's and Sam's clubs and etc

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