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5 Things You Didn't Know About Shoplifting

Updated on September 13, 2016

How I Know What I Know

Before running a full-service entertainment company, I had a 16-year career in Retail Loss Prevention (half of those as manager). I worked for four retail giants before leaving the business in 2010.

I am certified in Wicklander-Zulawski Interview and Interrogation Techniques, (the gold standard, used mainly for obtaining confessions from dishonest retail employees) and since leaving the business, I've kept my ear to the ground and my eyes to the internet for the latest changes in the retail industry and loss prevention.

Now, I’m pleased to share some of what I learned in my 16 years in the industry with you.

Important: This article is for shoplifting questions only. I don't provide info on how to steal. I have zero sympathy for shoplifters. There are a lot easier, safer and legal ways to make a living. There are plenty of internet forums available that dedicate themselves to "the art of shoplifting,” but this isn't one of them.

Have You Ever Been Caught Shoplifting?

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The Shoplifter Has No Rules

Think of shoplifting as a game between two sets of people: the shoplifters, (of course) and the store security personnel, who are sometimes referred to as loss prevention or simply LP. The shoplifters have the advantage in the game for three reasons:

  1. They are unidentified until they steal.
  2. They may use any method (or a combination of methods) to get goods out of a store.
  3. The shoplifter has no rules and only one objective: Don’t get caught.

Shoplifting in Progress

The Five Rules of Loss Prevention Officers

Unlike shoplifters, who have no rules, LP employees must follow five basic guidelines when it comes to apprehending shoplifting suspects. These five rules vary slightly from state-to-state and company-to-company, but they’re basically the same principle. They exist because large chains wish to avoid lawsuits and place extra restrictions on personnel to ensure an airtight case when stopping a shoplifter.

#1: The Rule of Selection

Loss prevention must see the item selected from their store.

The LP officer must see the shoplifter select the merchandise to make sure the merchandise belongs to the store.

Why: Suppose a woman purchased a sweater at another store a few minutes before and came into your store looking for a matching pair of pants? The LP happens to observe this woman holding up the sweater (with tags clearly visible) against several pairs of pants in your store. Then all of a sudden, she opens her handbag (or shopping bag), places the sweater inside, and exits the store.

Did she steal the sweater? If LP did not personally see the woman select the sweater from a rack in the store, she must NOT be stopped. (According to the rules, anyway! More on this below.) Sometimes people bring their own merchandise into the stores with them

#2: The Rule of Concealment

LP must see the shoplifter conceal the merchandise.

The LP must see the shoplifter conceal the merchandise in their pockets, coat, or pants, inside a handbag or backpack, or simply inside the shopping cart (some shoplifters fill a cart with merchandise and walk out of the store.)

Why: The LP officer needs to be able to say specifically, "the male subject has placed a Hangover DVD inside the front waistband of his pants."

#3: The Rule of Observation

LP must maintain continuous observation of the shoplifter.

LP must observe the suspected shoplifter to make sure he or she does not get nervous or change his mind and dump the merchandise someplace. An LP officer simply cannot see an item concealed and then go outside and wait for the subject.

Why: Shoplifters are skittish, nervous types and often drop merchandise they've concealed. If a Loss Prevention officer stops a suspected shoplifter and they have no merchandise on them, the store cannot make a case against them, and the shoplifter may sue for wrongful detainment.

This is the most crucial rule for store employees and also where the most mistakes happen. No matter how good your store's camera system is, there is virtually no such thing as 100% continuous observation.

#4: The Rule of Exit

LP must watch the shoplifter pass the point of purchase.

Exiting the store with merchandise proves to the police and the courts that the shoplifter had no intention of paying for it.

Why: If a security officer were to stop a suspected shoplifter before they reached the cash register, the suspect could claim they were going to go to the register and pay for it. This applies even if it is a concealed item.

#5: The Rule of Apprehension

LP must apprehend the shoplifter outside of the store.

Why: This is a rule for a few reasons. Again, if the shoplifter is outside, it means that he or she passed the cash register with no intention of paying for the products. By apprehending the shoplifter outside the store, this rule ensures that if there is a confrontation between a shoplifter and the store detective, it will not happen inside near happy shoppers.

No store wants to make their shoplifting stops public. It's an ugly side of the shopping experience that no one wants to see. The store also does not want their customers getting hurt in an altercation since some shoplifters will fight or even carry weapons. Though rare, both shoplifters and store security have been killed during shoplifting stops.

Demonstration of Professional Theft

5 Little-Known Facts About Loss Prevention

#1: If I Didn't See It, It Didn't Happen

There have been countless times in my loss prevention career when a store employee has called my office or seen me on the sales floor and said, "I just saw someone steal! You better go catch him." This cannot be done. It’s not that easy.


In most large retail chains, the store detective is the only person allowed to make an apprehension (although this is not always the way it plays out). Therefore, the store detective must be the one to either see the theft occur, or wait for the suspect to take something else after being tipped off by someone else. If the store detective does not see the person steal, the subject must be allowed to leave the store freely.

#2: If You Steal in the Restroom, I Am Supposed to Let You Go

If you conceal your item inside the restroom or a stall in the fitting or dressing room, by store policy, you should be able to walk out of the store without fear of being stopped by Loss Prevention. If the restrooms have a sign saying, “No Store Merchandise Beyond This Point,” however, the rules are a little different.


Since you concealed the item while you were in the restroom, there is no way they could have seen it happen. They may guess you have the item on your person, but there is no visual proof.

Many times if a person takes an item into the restrooms and leaves without it, the store detective will do a scan of the stalls and wastebaskets checking for tags or empty packages. Even if the detective finds evidence of theft, he or she must not act on it, Remember: If they didn't see it, it didn't happen.

#3: If the Shoplifter Refuses to Come Back Inside the Store or Chooses to Run, They Will Be Allowed to Leave.


It all comes down to liability. In the old days, a store detective would physically take hold of and cuff a suspected shoplifter or give chase through parking lots and backyards to try to catch the shoplifter. In most stores, this is no longer the case.

Stores are concerned that shoplifters or innocent customers could be hurt in a brawl and sue them. That's not something that shareholders need affecting their investments. Ask anyone at Home Depot or Albertsons what happens when you chase a subject from the store. You lose your job. No exceptions.

Now, this isn't saying that the shoplifter is home free. In that case, the store detective should note how the shoplifter gets away. If it’s in a car, that means taking down the car description, license plate number, direction, etc. After that, they’ll immediately call the police.

#4: If You Are Under 5 or Over 70 Years of Age, LP Is Not Supposed to Stop You

This is a rule for many chains. The assumption is that at five years or younger, you are not responsible for knowing you've committed a crime by taking something. Why would stores want to embarrass a customer by stopping their toddler who has stolen a candy bar? They don't, and most won't. Customers are hard enough to come by.

Senior citizens are major shoplifters. Whether they’re motivated by financial, psychological, or thrill-seeking reasons, seniors are stealing each and every day. Most of them are getting away with it.


It’s liability again. No store wishes to detain a senior citizen who may fall ill or have a stroke, heart attack, or seizure after they've been caught stealing. It also doesn't look good in front of customers when a store detective brings in some grandmotherly looking woman for stealing a bottle of Advil. It's just bad for business. This doesn't happen at every store, but more and more, retailers are looking away while granny is helping herself to merchandise.

#5: Despite All This, LP Will Break the Rules to Catch You


Because they can. It's LP’s word against the shoplifters, and the police and store officials will believe a store detective before they believe a shoplifting suspect. Although the rules say they must not stop you if you steal in the bathroom or if they lose sight of you, they often do. Store detectives are notorious risk takers. They are paid for their ability to fight loss in the store and must justify their paychecks by apprehending shoplifters. Since the rules are not in their favor, these rules are often bent.

Shoplifting FAQ from the Comments

I’ve answered a ton of shoplifting questions in the comments section. Here are some of the most frequently asked ones that might help you out.

Are the Police After Me?

I shoplifted, almost shoplifted, or almost got caught shoplifting. I've left the store and the parking lot now. Are the police after me?

Answering that question would be like asking me if you were going to win the lottery after getting a scratch-off ticket. There is really no way of knowing if you've been captured on video or if the police are after you. I realize that is the often the number one question on the minds of most shoplifters, but my expertise ends when the suspect leaves the store parking lot.

From there, the police are involved and they work from a different set of rules than I did. It's a difficult call. That said, if it’s been over 24 hours since the incident and you still haven’t been contacted by police, chances are you’re safe.

In fact, for most shoplifting, you've got to quit worrying about the cops showing up at your house. Misdemeanor shoplifting is usually dealt with on the premises. I say usually, because there are those occasions where the cops will go to your house after shoplifting.

Usually those are restricted to felony shoplifting, where a store has been hit several times by the same person (or group) and has been investigated by the police. I've also seen the police go to the door of dishonest employees who have been embezzling from their employer in huge amounts.

Does LP Ever Break the Rules?

How does LP ever catch anyone? With all of these rules it looks like the LP officer has no way of catching a shoplifter that knows what they are doing. Seems like they have no choice but to lie.

Unfortunately that’s pretty much the way it is. The job is 50% lies on the part of the store detective. There are so many gray areas that you pretty much have to. There is an official report of what gets filed and the story of what actually occurred. At my last job, we had to call our boss every time we had a shoplifting arrest in excess of $100. After reading him the report, he would always ask, "Ok, now what really happened?"

LP May Have Abused Me. What Next?

I think I may have been mistreated when I was detained for shoplifting. What do I do?

I can't really comment on specific cases, as I wasn't there to witness your apprehension or processing. If you have a serious complaint against a Loss Prevention Department, I suggest you immediately send a registered letter to their main headquarters, outlining dates, times, threats made to you, and any other details.

Any big retailer would not want an individual who abuses their power working for them and they will likely investigate. If you believe you were treated especially poorly (i.e. threatened physically or physically hurt), you could also send a copy of your letter to a couple of local TV stations, requesting an interview to talk about your alleged mistreatment.

What Happens If the Alarms Go Off on Me?

The EAS towers are not a means to catch shoplifters. They are intended to deter them. If someone from the store does respond to the alarm going off, they are usually only allowed to ask you if you "forgot to pay for something." They cannot threaten to call the police. For what? There is no evidence.

I worked for a supermarket chain where the EAS alarms would go off in the rain, during a storm, or when the wind picked up. Sometimes these machines are way too sensitive. I personally think they're a huge waste of money. They cannot be used in court against you.

Most employees at places with EAS door alarms view them as an annoyance instead of an asset. The only real purpose they serve is they look intimidating at the door and discourage amateur (but not professional) shoplifting.

I Was Accused of Shoplifting Even Though I'm Innocent. Should I Sign Anything?

What do I do if I am accused of shoplifting when I did not shoplift? What if I accidentally took an item out of a store that I didn’t pay for and then was taken down by LP?

Store detectives are heartless, ruthless bastards and their only concern is the apprehension. How do I know this? In my younger days, I was one of those heartless, ruthless bastards. I have since matured and realize that people make mistakes.

If you did not steal, but you made a mistake and accidentally brought store merchandise outside, stay calm, go with the detective, and demand to speak with the police immediately. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING! I don't care what bullshit the detective makes up, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING IF YOU ARE INNOCENT!

Talk to the police and ask them to question the detective. I have been questioned many times in the past concerning shoplifter arrests when the police show up. A good cop will do just that. If not, I suggest (as always) speak with an attorney.

On Scare Tactics

The LP took my license number, wrote down my license plate, or took some other kind of personal information from me. Will they use it to send the police after me?

Often these kinds of things are just scare tactics to keep theft from happening again. If it’s been over 24 hours since you’ve left the store, you’re probably okay.

I'm a Drug Addict. Will I Get Let Off Easy?

Will a store go easy on me because I’m a drug addict?

I've prosecuted more drug users than regular kleptomaniacs or light shoplifters. I cannot see a store going easy on you because of your addiction. Stores lose millions to drug-addicted shoplifters. They are also the most dangerous to deal with. Every fist fight I've had in my career, (with the exception of one) was due to someone stealing large amounts of merchandise for drugs. Get some help and good luck.

On Burning the Shoplifter and Dealing With a Tough Economy

I just left Lowe's without the items I was going to shoplift. The alarm went off on one item so I went back and gave the item back saying I didn’t want to get the item and that I was sorry. I was hoping to leave the store. The teller checked my items against the receipt and called the people inside the store to ask if they’d seen me. I said my kids and I had to head to the bathroom and we left. I know I was stupid to do this but times are hard. Will anything happen?

You'll be ok. Lowe’s is highly proactive in their fight against shoplifting. Their employees are trained to be on the lookout for theft and to attempt to deter it.

For example, if you stick a $12 hammer inside your coat pocket and you're seen by a loss prevention associate or another employee, you will all of a sudden be surrounded by employees asking if you need assistance. This is called "burning the shoplifter.” It's an attempt to get you to return the item and leave. (At least that's the way Lowes used to be. It's been a while since I've been in touch with anyone from their LP department.)

If you were not stopped with the merchandise outside of the store, you are in the clear. You came back on your own, and no matter what excuse you gave, the store did not lose any merchandise, which is all they really care about. And you are correct. Times are indeed difficult. But when times are tough and the economy is not good, most stores are even more vigilant when it comes to shoplifters.

I'm not judging your actions, but I can personally assure you that cops aren't the nicest people to deal with when you've been caught shoplifting. Please, don't chance it. Especially with the kids.

Can I See the Video Tape?

Is the LP obligated to show me the tape they say they have of me shoplifting?

The store is under no obligation to show you the tape. Sometimes the cops ask to see it and they are shown video (if any exists). If you want to see the tape, get yourself a defense lawyer. He or she may be able to gain access to it, but that's usually only if your case is going to trial.

My Friend Stole but I Didn't. Could I Get in Trouble?

I was with my friend somewhere and they stole something but I didn’t. Could I get in trouble?

I had that happen to me when I was a teenager. A friend and I were at the mall and when we left, he pulled a brand new wallet out of his jacket. I was pretty mad.

No, you're in the clear. Being with someone when they shoplift is not a crime, unless you take an active part in the shoplifting (as a lookout, or helping to conceal the merchandise). Some stores (like Kmart for example) will not take an accomplice, unless they physically touch the merchandise. Still, it's no place that you want to be when your friend gets busted.

On Stealing Expensive Things as a Teenager

I’m a teenager and I lift a lot from Nordstroms. I did something stupid recently when I left Ugg tags in an empty box right in front of a camera. I really like the store and I want to go back, but I’m nervous about getting caught. What should I do?

If I worked LP at Nordstrom and I found an empty Uggs box and tags, you'd better believe I would be reviewing any video I had to see who took them. Lots of teens have expensive tastes these days, but shoplifting high dollar items is a guarantee that you will eventually get caught.

Nordstrom is very conscious of its highly priced items and watches them closely. You may have gotten lucky that day, but that doesn't mean they don't know who you are.

Personally, I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't be worried about getting arrested for a previous shoplifting, (which LP cannot do), but I wouldn't be comfortable with a small roomful of coffee-breathed LP checking out my every move. I can virtually guarantee you won't be that lucky with such an expensive item again. Nordstrom will prosecute and the police will cuff you and put you in a cell. Don't screw up your life. You're too young for this crap.

On Stealing Addiction and Stealing From the Same Store

I have a problem with stealing. I will literally spend a whole day and go from drugstore to drugstore and just take a bunch of stuff. Usually this is about three times a month. So far, I haven't been caught or even been close to being caught. Do you think they just might be waiting for me to come in again to catch me?

You're setting yourself up for jail. If you get caught, you're going to spend an embarrassing 20 minutes in a loss prevention office, go to jail, or both.

There are many circumstances why an LP can't apprehend a shoplifter at any given time. It may be they didn't see it, they were busy doing something (or watching someone) else or perhaps they don't have enough evidence on you at the time. If I'm the LP and I have to "let you walk out" with my merchandise for one reason, or another, I'm going to wait for you to come back, which you will because you've gotten away with it before. When you come back, I'm calling the police.

Each time you shoplift and get away with it, you dramatically increase the odds of getting caught next time. Your window is closing. Be careful.

On Being Threatened With Prosecution on Witnesses Statements

I am being threatened with prosecution even though the store has no proof of me lifting (no items recovered, video surveillance, etc.). They say they have statements from employees that they can use against me. Could this case be real, or are they just trying to intimidate me?

First of all, keep in mind that I'm not an attorney. But according to what I know, yes. You can be charged with a crime on a statement (or statements) from a witness(es). Even in the absence of cameras. (As many stores still are not equipped with them.) I've been in situations where I was returning to my store from lunch (or a bathroom visit) and have seen a shoplifting take place and had to pursue it without the use of cameras. It's also what stores did 'back in the day' before the invention of surveillance cameras.

Your second question doesn't come down to a credibility issue, as much as what evidence the store has against you. There may be video. You're not 100% sure. You also don't know if there are one or more witnesses to your theft. The proof of burden is on the store. They have to prove your guilt to the judge. Unfortunately, you'll have to defend yourself. Just like any other court case (if it comes to that) the person with the better story wins. I suggest you contact an attorney and discuss this with him or her and discover your options. Good luck!


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  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 8 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Tubes,

    Nope. Although there is info missing from your post, (amounts, duration, how many Walmarts,etc.) the Walmart who caught you will get the credit for your apprehension. If you have stolen high dollar felony amounts, I can see the police being interested in prosecuting on prior theft, but it's doubtful WM would pursue that.

    Good luck!

  • profile image

    Tubes 8 months ago

    I've shoplifting at two Walmarts and got away but I shoplifted at a third and got caught, can the other 2 do anything?

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!


    I can't allow your comments on my hub because you're unverified as LP/AP. Let us know your company, your store and your position and I will happily allow your comments.

    PS: I didn't think so.

    ALSO: And you may want to hide your IP address before posting to a forum as LP. By not doing that, you're already a liability to your company.

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Mauricio vazquez, I'm afraid that's a question for your lawyer. He/she may be able to get the charges dropped or at least lessened, if they're good at what they do. Sometimes, (depending on your situation), you can have a judge expunge the entire charge after a certain amount of time.

    Good luck!

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Abdel, It's not an abuse of power, it's just a trick/technique to get you to come back inside without running away. LP is just as crooked as shoplifters when it comes to lying, sometimes. Good luck.

  • profile image

    Abdel 9 months ago

    Hey , i got caught shoplifting today at a store in a mall, the mall security arrested me even through i didn't leave the mall, then called the cops and the officer charged me with theft under 5000$. Funny thing is the store security guy that arrested me and my friend for shoplifting told us everything is gonna be alright it's not that big of a deal and said he wouldn't charge us and stuff i told him it was a mistake can't we just put the items back he said no we have to do some paperwork i feel like he abused his power!!!

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Worriedworried, If they wanted to pursue criminal charges, they would have called the police at the time of your apprehension. So, no, don't worry about criminal charges.

    The shoplifter database? Definitely assume your information is there. The companies that run these databases are highly secretive, so there's not much info available on what happens with the information contained within.

    Assume your info is being sold and also assume it may affect future retail employment. Aside from that, I would have no concerns about it.

  • profile image

    Worriedworried 9 months ago

    thanks for replying. even if there was no arrest at the time , with the information they took down can they foward it to the police and then would criminal charges follow? also is it safe to assume my info is now in the theft data base and now ALL retailers will look out for me? or only the local stores where it happened?

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Worriedworried,

    Sounds like a normal everyday, run of the mill apprehension to me. If they wanted you arrested, it would have happened then.

    You'll receive your civil demand notice within a week or two. Should you pay it? That's really up to you to decide. Check out this article I wrote on the subject. Good luck.

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi black dog, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Sometimes I don't get my notifications and have to check manually.

    You must work at either an independent market or smaller cahin to be able to physically apprehend a shoplifter, but next time you do, don't tell him you're calling the police until you get him back inside the store in a office.

    What do I think will happen?

    Although it's supposed to be confidential when someone is apprehended for shoplifting I'm guessing he'll lose his gig at CVS. People in the same plaza usually look out for each other.

    I'm sure his manager knew about it soon after he got away.

  • profile image

    Worriedworried 9 months ago

    theres really no good reason or explanation for this but long story i got caught stealing two make up items from kohls. I concealed and forgot that i even did that i just aimlessly put the stuff in my pocket cause i was also holding other items but also made a purchase and walked out past the cashiers

    And the scanners. The LP stopped me before i fully exited the store, i guess the foyer is what it's called, and i was escorted to their room. I immediately gave them the stuff and i was like sorry can I pay for it? They just took my ID my picture and had me sign the trespassing form and the civil form. They didn't really say much else to me so im worried is there more coming or is that it? items totaled around fifty dollars and i am in my 20s ... do i just pay the fine when it comes or is there more coming from the police?

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Nick,

    If the kids have to go to court, I would definitely make sure the judge knows that your kid did not steal $64 worth of merchandise. If it goes to trial, the LP will have to be there for possible testimony. Judges don't give 2 craps about Walmart policy. They interpret the real law.

    This whole charging both kids with the same amount is wrong, especially if the cops were called.

    It wouldn't hurt you to get a free consultation with a lawyer. You could complain to Walmart, but they won't comment on a pending case.

    This is why I write these articles. Sometimes Loss Prevention is just as crooked (if not more) than the shoplifters.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  • profile image

    Nick 9 months ago

    Walmart's LP initially asked if I could bring both kids with me and I agreed. They had some Walmart paperwork for each child that read $64 in goods (this was the amount of all items stolen by both girls). The LP agent said both me and the other parent would get a bill from Walmart for the $64 and as long we paid those bills, Walmart would be satisfied. I specifically asked what my daughter stole and he confirmed it was just the candy (probably less than $5). He explained since they came in together, stole together, and attempted to leave together that they we're both equally responsible for the entire amount. Since it initially sounded like the police were not going to be involved, I agreed and signed the paper and was not going to argue over the amount although my daughter was only responsible for about $5 of the total. Within minutes of signing the paperwork, three officers came in and said they would both be charged with misdemeanors and wrote up paperwork for court appearances. At this point, the police also said the other child's parent would have to come. I did not pay anything to Walmart on the spot (and Walmart kept the merchandise), but was told I would get a bill for the $64 from Walmart. I later found out after doing some research that walmart typically does not prosecute for less than $25 and the bill from walmart could be up to 10x the amount. It almost seems like the LP agent intentionally wrote up both kids for the full amount to (1) get more money and (2) be able to prosecute both kids. I really felt lied to and taken advantage of. I take full responsibility for my child's actions, but it seems like Walmart's LP was intentionally deceptive.

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Nick, The whole situation sounds wrong to me. Let me ask you a couple of questions in case I'm missing something.

    1.) Did you pick up your daughter's friend and sign her out, as well as your kid?

    2.) Was the shoplifted merchandise recovered by Walmart?

    3.) Did you pay Walmart cash for the merchandise?

    4.) If you did pay Walmart for the merchandise? Did you pay double?

    5.) If you did pay for the merchandise, did Walmart give you a receipt?

    Depending on the chain store, LP may take accomplices to shoplifters if they take an active part in the shoplifting, such as acting as a lookout or physically handling the mercandise.

    Your kid concealed and left the store with $3 worth of candy. She should be charged with $3 worth of candy. This padding the bill is for the benefit of Walmart LP to up their shoplifting totals.In other words, it's B.S.

    That being said, you should NEVER be charged for shoplifted merchandise the store recovered. I hope you got a receipt, because if this is the case, you got ripped off.

    I'm sure Walmart also explained, you would be receving a civil demand fine in the mail.

    Granted, your kid made a mistake and as a good dad, you'll handle it appropiately. Right now, I'm concerned with your paying cash for shoplfted merchandise.

    Please get back to me when you have a chance.

  • profile image

    black dog 9 months ago

    I work at a grocery store. This kid that works in the same plaza came in and shoplifted. Two of the managers had him outside talking to him trying to get get him to stay. He wasn't having it and booked it toward me. I had him by the wrist but let him go because I wasn't a manager. He booked it out of the parking lot. They chased till he left. He works in the same plaza at the CVS I said something to my managers that he worked there. We actually said we were calling the police before he ran. The police went over there knowing he worked there. Knowing he ran and everything else what would happen if anything?

  • profile image

    Nick 9 months ago

    My daughter was caught stealing at Walmart tonight. She was with a friend who stuffed a bunch of stuff into her purse then handed my daughter a $3 bag of Halloween candy and told her to stick it in her purse. When I went to pick up my daughter, the store said we (my wife and I) would be responsible for paying the full amount of all items stolen by both girls because they were together. I asked specifically what my daughter stole and they confirmed it was just the bag of candy. They said both girls would be charged the full amount of $64 since they were together. Does this sound right?

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Jimmy, Yeah, if your grandmother came to pick you up and signed you out and you haven't received a civil demand in the mail, I'm pretty certain you won't get one. Civil demands are usually sent out in the first couple of weeks.

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Jimmy, After your paperwork was complete, did LP let you go on your own or have a parent sign you out?

    If you made a mistake giving LP your address, they should have checked it out with the person who signed you out.

    I wouldn't worry about it. If you don't end up receiving anything, it sounds like WM's mistake.

    Good luck!

  • profile image

    Jimmy 9 months ago

    I'm a minor (mid teens) and I was caught stealing at Walmart, I was so nervous and scared that I think I gave the wrong address, by switching the 1st and 3rd number I was so scared and I think I mixed them up, it's been a couple months now and I've received nothing, and For some reason this just popped back in my head, what would happen if something went to a fake address (because I don't think the mixed up address was real) the idem I stole was only about $10 (and a toy) also I stole from another Walmart before that(in a different state) and got away, what do you think will happen

  • rockinjoe profile image

    Joseph Addams 9 months ago from Standing right behind you!

    Hi Antidana, Thanks for writing. Let's see if I can clear up a bit of your confusion.

    I was in Retail Loss Prevention, not a police officer. I've worked for several retail companies over the years. LP follows the rules of the company. They are pretty much set in stone.

    While it may be a fact that some areas (as you point out) allow detainment based solely on concealment, (most) retail chains insist on the subject being outside of the store before apprehension to prove they had zero intention of paying for the item(s). Concealment, ot not, if the subject is stopped in the store, he/she could always say they were planning on paying for it. If they had a good enough attorney, they could be found not guilty and possibly sue the store.

    Reducing liability is the number one consideration in Loss Prevention. Saving the merchandise is secondary, Any corporation would rather lose $500 worth of merchandise, instead of $10,000 in a judgement. Detaining subjects outside of the store removes all doubt the person had the intention to purchase.

    We used to have a police officer working with us part time at a large grocery chain, where I was employed. He would stand around in front of the store as a deterrent to theft.

    One evening we were having dinner together in the LP office and we saw a woman conceal several make up items. He left the office, walked 50 feet to the makeup aisle and cuffed her right there. Had I been alone, I would have had to follow her on camera, (making certain she didn't dump the merchandise) and wait until she left the store before stopping her.

    So, there is actual law and there is 'retail law'.

    Detainment inside the store may occur in smaller chains and independent stores, but in the retail giants, it's frowned upon.

    I hope I've answered your question. Best of luck to you on your paper.

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