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5 Things You Didn't Know About Shoplifting

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

You might be surprised by these little-known facts about shoplifting.

You might be surprised by these little-known facts about shoplifting.

How I Became an Expert on Shoplifting and Loss Prevention

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

I am certified in Wicklander-Zulawski Interview and Interrogation Techniques, and these are the gold standard when it comes to obtaining confessions from dishonest retail employees. Since leaving the business, I've kept my ear to the ground and my eyes on the internet for the latest changes in the retail industry and loss prevention.

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

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.

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 based on the same principle. They exist because large chains wish to avoid lawsuits and they place extra restrictions on store personnel to ensure an airtight case when stopping a shoplifter.

1. The Rule of Selection

The LP officer must see a shoplifter select merchandise to ensure that the merchandise belongs to the store.

Why: Suppose a woman purchased a sweater at another store a few minutes before coming into your store to look for a matching pair of pants. The LP officer 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? According to the rules, if LP did not personally see the woman select the sweater from a rack in the store, she must NOT be stopped. Sometimes people bring their own merchandise into the stores.

2. The Rule of Concealment

The LP must see the shoplifter conceal merchandise in their pockets, coat, pants, handbag, backpack, or shopping cart (some shoplifters will actually 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 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 they 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

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

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.

A shoplifter trying to conceal an item.

A shoplifter trying to conceal an item.

Five Little-Known Facts About Loss Prevention

  1. If I didn't see it, it didn't happen. There were many times throughout my Loss Prevention career when a store employee would call my office or see me on the sales floor and say, "I just saw someone steal, you'd better go catch him." This cannot be done. Why? In most large chains, the store detective is the only person allowed to make an apprehension (although this is not always the way an apprehension gets played out) and the store detective MUST either see the theft occur, or wait for the suspect to take something 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/dressing room, by store policy, you should be able to walk out of the store without fear of being stopped by Loss Prevention. Why? Because LP didn't see concealment of the item. They may guess you have the item on your person, but there is no proof. If a person takes an item into the restrooms and leaves without it, the store detective will do a scan of the stalls and waste baskets to check for tags or empty packages. Even if the detective finds evidence of a theft, he/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 with the store detective or chooses to run, the shoplifter will be allowed to leave. Why? 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 back yards in an attempt to capture 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 Albertson's what happens when you chase after a subject who has stolen from the store.You lose your job. No exceptions. Now this doesn't mean that the shoplifter is home free. The store detective should note how the shoplifter gets away, their car description, license plate, the direction they drive, etc., and 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 chain stores. The assumption is that at 5 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 3 year old who has stolen a candy bar? They don't want to pursue that kind of loss and most stores won't pursue it. Customers are hard enough to come by. Senior citizens are major shoplifters. Whether they steal because of financial issues, kleptomania, or just because they want to, seniors steal everyday and most of them get away with it. No establishment wishes to detain a senior citizen who may fall ill and have a stroke, heart attack, or seizure after they've been caught stealing. It's a liability. 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 bad for business. This doesn't happen at every store, but more and more, retailers are looking away when it comes to the elderly.
  5. LP will break the rules to catch you. Why? Because they can. It's their word against the shoplifters', and the police and store officials are more likely to believe a store detective before they believe a shoplifting suspect. If a shoplifter steals in the bathroom or the store detective loses sight of them, although the rules say they must NOT stop you, this is hardly the case. Store detectives are notorius risk takers. They are paid to prevent loss in the store and they must justify their paychecks by apprehending shoplifters. Since the rules don't work in LP's favor, they are often bent.
What's in those pockets?

What's in those pockets?

What Happens When You're Caught Stealing From Walmart?

Q: How does Walmart prevent shoplifting? Does Walmart's approach to loss prevention differ from other major stores? What happens to Walmart shoplifters?

A: Walmart is well-known for having a strict policy against shoplifters. In the last few years Walmart has repeatedly adjusted their approach to apprehension, deterrents, and prosecution. The New York Times reported that in 2006 Walmart shifted their approach and only prosecuted shoplifters when their thefts amounted to more than twenty-five dollars. Walmart also gave first-time offenders a choice between agreeing to pay a fee and take an educational course on shoplifting, or being prosecuted for theft. In 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart ended that policy because California courts ruled that it was a form of extortion.

Despite their evolving approaches to theft prevention, Walmart LP usually follow the same rules as LP at other stores. Walmart LP will try to discourage thefts from people under age 16 or over age 65. If a sixteen year old gets caught stealing from Walmart they will most likely be asked to return the merchandise and leave the store. If you're under 16, Walmart's LP 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.

Can You Get Caught for Shoplifting Days After Leaving the Store?

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

A: 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 usually 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 with 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 cases of 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 used the word "usually," because there are occasions where the cops will go to your house after you've shoplifted.

Usually those instances 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 doors of dishonest employees who have been embezzling merchandise from their employers in huge amounts.

What Happens If You Get Caught Shoplifting on Camera?

Q: If LP claims to have a tape of me shoplifting, are they obligated to show me the tape?

A: The store is under no obligation to show you the tape. Sometimes the cops ask to see it and they are shown a video (if one 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.

Does LP Ever Break the Rules?

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

A: 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?

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

A: 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 and request an interview to talk about your alleged mistreatment.

Store alarm systems may trigger when unpurchased merchandise goes through the gates.

Store alarm systems may trigger when unpurchased merchandise goes through the gates.

What Happens If I Make the Alarms Go Off?

Q: What happens if I trigger a store's alarm system?

A: 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?

Q: 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?

A: 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 realized 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 that you speak with an attorney.

If LP takes down your personal info, it might just be a scare tactic.

If LP takes down your personal info, it might just be a scare tactic.

On Scare Tactics

Q: 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?

A: 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?

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

A: 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

Q: 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?

A: 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 take that kind of risk—especially when you're shopping with your kids.

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

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

A: 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, you probably don't want to be present when your friend gets busted.

Shoe tags in an empty box right in front of a camera—oops.

Shoe tags in an empty box right in front of a camera—oops.

On Stealing Expensive Things as a Teenager

Q: I’m a teenager and I lift a lot from Nordstroms. I did something stupid recently, 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?

A: 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 theft, (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

Q: I have a problem with stealing. I will literally spend a whole day stealing, and go from drugstore to drugstore to take a bunch of stuff. Usually I do this 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?

A: 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 in which a 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 Witness Statements

Q: 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?

A: First of all, keep in mind that I'm not an attorney. According to what I know, you can be charged with a crime on a statement (or statements) from a witness. Even with the absence of cameras—since 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, discuss this with him or her, and discover your options. Good luck!

Got Any More Questions?

Hopefully this article has enhanced your knowledge of shoplifting, common prevention practices, and its potential consequences. Feel free to leave questions or observations in the comments section.

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.

© 2008 Joseph Addams


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

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!

Tubes on October 27, 2016:

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

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


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.

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

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!

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

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.

Abdel on October 18, 2016:

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!!!

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 18, 2016:

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.

Worriedworried on October 17, 2016:

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?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 16, 2016:

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.


Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 16, 2016:

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.

Worriedworried on October 15, 2016:

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?

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

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.

Nick on October 12, 2016:

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.

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

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.

black dog on October 11, 2016:

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?

Nick on October 11, 2016:

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?

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

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.

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

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!

Jimmy on October 10, 2016:

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

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

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.

Antidana on October 08, 2016:

I am doing research for a thesis paper involving this subject and am finding conflicting information online. While this advice from you is very clear and comes from a knowledgeable source with relevant experience (you), I can unfortunately say the same about conflicting information I found in a different blog posting.

The other column is dated May, 2016, and the author claims to have been an LP professional for over 30 years.

I simply don't know how to reconcile these drastically divergent accounts. I don't want to doubt either one of you obviously experienced pros, but it is impossible for both of you to be right. The main point of focus is where and when LP is allowed to stop a suspected shoplifter. The other author claims that almost every state (if not all) has specifically written into their statutes that LP is allowed to detain before the person has left the store, if the item was in any way concealed while in the store.

Indeed, the title of the other article is "Concealment = Shoplifting", and if that doesn't make it clear enough, here is an excerpt that pretty much spells it out, and as you can see, it's in direct conflict to what you wrote:

"...appellate court in Iowa has found that concealment of unpurchased items is material evidence of an individual’s “intent to deprive” element under Iowa Code Section 714.5 even if a person relinquished the unpurchased merchandise prior to exiting the store.3 In New York, an appellate court found that “the ‘taking’ element of a larceny is satisfied where the defendant ‘exercised dominion and control over the property for a period of time, however temporary, in a manner wholly inconsistent with the owner’s continued rights.'”4

Therefore, in these types of scenarios, regardless of whether an individual has exited a store with unpurchased merchandise, the elements of larceny are satisfied and an individual may be stopped as soon as concealment occurs."

You can see why I'm confused. Would you say you disagree with what is in that excerpt? If not, then my reading comprehension skills need a lot of work (and I admit that's possible, it's very late and I am overtired!)

Can you tell me anything that might help me make sense of this?

Thank you- you obviously put a lot of effort into this endeavor.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 07, 2016:

Hi Frogs, Probably not. If you left without an issue, there's no reason to come looking for you, correct? There's not enough hours in the day, (or LP available) to investigate every person who may, (or may not have) shoplifted.

$150 is a pretty big haul for a first timer and can give you the confidence to attempt it again. It's up to you, of course, but remember that each time you shoplift, your odds of getting caught increase dramatically. That amount of money will definitely get you sent to the police station and an appearance in front of a judge.

The new thing to be on the lookout for, is those video clips they show on some local news channels, where you see the shoplifter(s) walking out of the store with the merchandise and they ask you to call the police if you recognize the subjects. Although these clips usually profile problem boosters (thieves who quickly load a shopping cart and leave the store quickly), I've seen them used for random shoplifters. I cringe when I see these videos. To me it says, "We can't protect our store. Please feel free to shoplift here." But I'm sure they've had some success in the past, or they wouldn't keep showing them.

Good luck!

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 07, 2016:

Hi Tina, I've written about this in a few threads and should probably write an article about it, but there is no law saying you must show your receipt upon leaving the store. It may be a store rule, but you're not an employee and you are not bound by store rules. You do not even have to acknowledge the receipt checker on the way out. Obviously Walmart does this to discourage shoplifting, but you can keep walkling.

And Walmart, being Walmart cannot ask every single person leaving the store for their receipts because they don't have the staff on hand for things like that, so some slip through and some get stopped.

Now, as far as your question, can you go back to Walmart after being told not to come back? That depends on who told you.

Was it a manager, or was it the underpaid receipt checker at the door?

You can be asked to never return by a manager and if you trespass afterward, (although it's unlikely) the police could get involved. The problem with this is that since you didn't actually commit a crime, how can they discriminate against you. This is how racial incidents get started.

If the receipt checker at the door, who flunked the entry exam for the police department (but still think she's a cop) tells you to leave, you are ok to return. Much like the Wicked Witch of the West, without the ruby slippers, she has no power.

I'm assuming you also did not leave with the groceries? In that case, you didn't even commit a crime.

Good luck.

Frogs on October 06, 2016:

Hi there, I recently stole something of about 150 dollars from target and I've never really stolen before. No one saw me and I left the store fine. If I was caught on camera would they come after me and should I avoid the store for awhile?

Tina on October 06, 2016:

As I was leaving Walmart I was asked for my receipt. I didn't have one because I was extemping to leave with out paying for the food items. I was told I could not leave with the merchandise unless I had a receipt. So I said I must have lost it. I took my personal stuff and started to leave and the employee told me to never come back into the store. The police was not involved and I didn't have to give the employee any of my information. So my question is, does this really mean I can never go back to that Walmart?

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

Hi Christine Ball, That's a horrible story. I'm not sure exactly how Loss Prevention agents do their jobs in England, but it doesn't appear to me the rules were followed at all.

Did you sign any paperwork when the manager gave you that gift certificate? If you did, you may have signed your rights away for legal action against them.

I think you should contact a lawyer and tell him/her the story you just told me.

You might have some legal recourse. Good luck!

Christine Ball on October 01, 2016:

I was stipped outin the foyer of a well known store in Stafford England, for aledged shop liftng in the foyer leading to the out side of the store, in side the foyer, in front of incoming and out going customers, the Security man stopped me, a shop assistant had passed on to him apparently that i had stolen something, when i asked strait away what i had supposed to have stolen he refused to tell me, needless to say after 20 or more minits my goods were tipped out and checked, 3 lots of shopping, all checked all clear. I was openly humiliated and held against my will, i eas involentary shaking, and very upset, on at least 4 counts the Store hand staff including the Security gaurd agreed that the correct proceedures had not been followed, the undermanager took me to the frsturant for a coffee, i would not have one, he left me for 5 mins and came back with a voucher for £20, and apologised for the action taken, it has hed a very bad effect on my daily living, mentaly and my confidence has gone, i get paranoid when i do go shopping and have palputations( i had hrart surgery in 2014, and use an inhaler when nessesery) there has been e mails doctors notes a councelor big bosses and secreterys, then thier lawyers involved in this, this happened in 2014, April, and is still omgoing,i am trying to get compemsation for my ordeal and the aftermath, my questio is :- are the regulations above i have read aply in this country, if so i can get further help, because thier layers are using bulling tactics with me, i have been very reasonable with them all so far but now i have had enough, i am seventy next year Jan, i am stressed and the doctor has said that i am suffering from anxiety. They say that my problems over this incident was short lived, as i only went to the doctors once and was prescribed calmers, plus awaiting for counceling that i had agreed on, i went twice one to one, this torment js going on and on, last year i did not have Christmas due to panicing when shopping,mobviously there has been a lot goin on as it was over A year and a half ago, my offer has gone up slowly to 1, 000 pounds, i am told by 2 solicetors that this is an insult, any advise for me please? I have been put on the spot now by thier lawyers, i am fuming as this person said that my trauma was short lived, i have letters from doc and councelor. Yours Christinemaryball2@gmail.com.

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

Hi Concerned shoplifter, This is a question for a lawyer, (you may want to try Avo.com) but I can't see any judge sticking you with a charge from 23 years ago that should be expunged by now. Walmart has your personal info, which they'll submit to the retaik shoplifting database. That information is theirs to use and (probably) sell to others. It's got nothing to do with the police, or the courts. Good luck.

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

Hi Feeling sorry, I'm afraid you're going to have to ask an attorney that question. My area of expertise ends when the shoplifter leaves the store. Sorry I can't help you out. Good luck!

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

Hi Oops!

I'd be very surprised if this went anywhere. This sounds to me like one of those family owned stores where you took an employee's property (who just happens to be the owner/manager) and he's overly upset because it's his wife's vape and he has to defend her honor. I don't see the police doing anything about this, (other than laughing) but it might not be in your best interest to go shopping there, anymore. If he upsets you and you get physical with him, you'll take a ride. Not worth it my opinion. Good luck.

Concerned shoplifter on September 25, 2016:

I was caught shoplifting yesterday st Walmart.

I took an air mattress and put it in a cheaper box then paid for it, and when I started to walk out of the store I was stopped by loss prevention and police. They gave me a ticket. I am worried because 23years ago I had a shoplifting charge that was dropped will the courts now charge me for felony? The total of theft was $55.00 they charged me for the difference of what I paid and the mattress I tooks worth. Will my face now be in system as shoplifter?

Feeling sorry on September 24, 2016:

If you get caught and don't get charged but go jail for something else.Can the store come back later and sue you ...under what they call sc code Ann 15-75-40

Oops! on September 23, 2016:

Ok..so I read through this and didnt manage to find any answers that fit. Here's my question... Recently I was at a store that I recently buy groceries from. While I was shopping I found an old scratched up vaporizer (e-cig) sitting on a display. Looking as if it has been left by a customer. But no one was around. I hung around for a while in the area before picking it up and finishing with my shopping. Had no issues. I thought it was a huhe blessing considering all my vape stuff was stolen quite a while ago and I had gone back to smoking. I've been waiting to be able to afford another vape to quit smoking again...SO, I thought I got lucky. Well when I went back to the store yesterday to get skme groceries I was confronted by an employees husband who accused me of stealing from his wife and threatened me all the way to the register. I checked out as he stood there threatening me and telling me they had me on camera. I told him straight up what had happened and that i found it and had no intention of stealing anything(I knew that if i turned it in to lost and found it would more than likely just be taken by an employee anyway...didnt knlw it belonged to an employee! I wouldve just given it back to her. As I know the employee from dealings at the store and shes always been great.) So he tries to block the door (only one door unlicked because they were closing) and I let him know he was committing a crime and to get the hell out of my way as he pushed his fat body against me. He was on the phone with the police as i left. I had told him exactly what happened and he continued to accuse and threaten me. I had even told him that I would bring it back. He clearly thought he was tough because of his 350 pound fat body. I am a combat veteran and have dealt with dangerous men...this guy was a punk. BUT I avoid conflict these days. The last time I reminded him that I would bring it back he said good the cops will be waiting for you... Well, Im definitely not taking it back now, I did him a favor considering it took everything in me not to curbstomp this guy. He wasnt even an employee either. So this is an odd situation because I was accused of theft but it wasnt from the store so they are saying I stole from her. (I looked it up and it can be charged as "theft by finding". Since I didnt turn it in to lost and found etc etc ) I guess my question is...what is the most likely of scenarios here? They DO have surveillance of me putting this item in my pocket...but that was not my intent. And I am a regular of this store. It is the closest store in walking distance and I have no vehicle currently. But I wont be going there anymore simply because I dont trust myself to maintain the same composure if this guy crosses my path again. So I just figured I would seek the wisdom of your experience on this one..I know it isnt "shoplifting" technically...but how wpuld this play out if they dealt with police and shared surveillance? I appreciate your assistance bud.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 22, 2016:

Hi Person 1825, I think you'll be ok. It's extremely unlikely for anything to be investigated in your situation-especially as a minor. I don't know dollar amounts of items you've lifted in the past, but even for a juvenile, the court process can be a pain in the ass for both you and your parents or guardian. Good luck.

Person 1825 on September 21, 2016:

I got away with shoplifting at 4 stores (2 targets, 2 Walmarts) and I shoplifting twice at one store( a target) I was caught at the third Walmart I went to(nothing really happened) that was 6 months ago and my state has a statute of limitations of 6 years I'm a minor.

Could something happen(like getting stopped for the past shopliftings) if I went back to the stores I previously shoplifting there, I would be a paying customer. I'm not going to shoplift ever again btw

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 20, 2016:

Hi Tavia, You're asking the wrong guy. You should be speaking to an attorney. I can't answer a question about what will occur once you've left the store. Sorry I can't help you out.

Tavia on September 20, 2016:

I was at walmart and they try to say I was shoplifting. I was still at self checkout when LP came up to me. I went to jail and was in custody for 17hours. I know that I have proof I was not shoplifting etc. But I did get a shoplifting charge before this one at another Wal-Mart when I take them to court could they use my previous shoplifting charge (which by the way I wasn't even shoplifting the person I was with was and because I was with them I got charged). Anyways, could they use my previous charge against me in court? Could they get a print out of my background and use it in court? Or could they use the photo in their database system from the first charge against me in court?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 16, 2016:

Hi Bhappyplzz, I don't know if I'm understanding this correctly. Your daughter took the items to the cashier and she didn't accept payment because times "were hard?"

Regardless, your daughter did take the items without paying for them. Taking them back is up to you. It's as simple as bringing them in and saying you would like to return some unpaid items your daughter had taken. It won't go any farther than that. I think Whole Foods has a bigger problem with that cashier letting stuff walk out. Good luck!

Bhappyplzz on September 15, 2016:

My daughter walked out of WholeFoods with a loaf of bread a jar of Almond butter, a bag of granola, and milk. (I don't know why she just didn't ask us for money if things were so hard) none the less on her way out, she was approached by an employee who asked to see her receipt, she said " I didn't take it from the cashier" The woman walked away, and my daughter continued to her car, got in and drove off. She told me that another employee took a photo of her license plate.

What should we do? Should she march back in and turn herself in (my suggestion)? I have a feeling this is going to end very badly, she will get arrested and all the legalities behind it.


Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 15, 2016:

Hi Angry, I wouldn't worry about it. If LP wanted you arrested, they would have either detained you for the police, or made sure they got your license plate and called the police. I don't know if you live in a large or small town, but $25 worth of groceries is not very high on the police priority list.

Usually, when you see a still photo of a shoplfter on the news, walking out of a store, he/she has just stolen several hundred dollars worth of merchandise. Same for those local police department Facebook posts. $25 is a drop in that bucket.

I wouldn't be too concerned. Good luck.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 15, 2016:

Hi Disgusted With Myself,

Sorry for the mixup with stores. I had just gotten back from shopping at Target when I saw your question, so I had them on the brain. Either way, it doesn't change my opinion.

No one usually reviews video unless there is a known theft issue, (and usually a big one), or they are reviewing associates at a register or customer service desk. With multiple cameras, running 24/7 it would take at least two employees to accomplish this task, daily. It's not going to happen. Your sneakers are yesterday's news.

If you want to return them, that's up to you. You can return them to the service desk and say you found them in the shopping cart and you were too busy to return them at the time, you can dump them in an empty cart in the parking lot or you can toss them in a box and mail them anonomously to Kohl's. Whatever method you choose, (or none of them) no one's coming after you. For your own good, don't over-think this issue. Deep breaths, now :)

Angry on September 14, 2016:

I'm ashamed to say I went into a store and stole an item from a grocery store under $25. I was stopped outside the door and denied it. Got into my car and drove away and don't believe the LP got my licence plate. I feel terrible and did it because money is tight with job losses. Doesn't make it right, I know. I'm scared now that they have footage and will put ,y face on Facebook and everyone in my town seeing. It's been happening lately through Facebook. Can they do this if they don't have 100% proof?

Disgusted With Myself on September 14, 2016:

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I've been having a full blown panic attack all day. I will never ever steal something again. It was kohls, I'm hoping that doesn't change your advice. Also, curious if you have any idea how often they review the camera footage? Wondering if the closing of the store tonight, or a weekly review might put me in jeopardy. I'm racking my brain trying to figure out why I even took them! I wish I had known that about the dressing room, I totally would have left them. Hopefully this post will help someone else do the right thing one day. I don't believe you touched on giving the merchandise back to them after the fact. Is that not a good idea? Like is it best for me to just consider this done and try and move on?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 14, 2016:

Hi Disgusted With Myself, Thanks for writing/

Here are two things to remember in any shoplifting situation.

1.) If you made it to your car after shoplifting, it's a good day. Target is not going to waste their time and money tracking you down for a $40 pair of kid's sneakers. It doesn't work like that. It doesn't matter if they've got your info and a key to your house. Target LP, (or the police) aren't showing up at your house.

Target didn't catch you. Shame on them. They either didn't see you, or didn't have enough evidence against you.

Now, should you find yourself in the same situation again GET RID of the merchandise. I don't care if it's in front of 1000 people, dump the merchandise and continue your business. You're not a shoplifter until you walk out the door with the item, as far as Target is concerned.

The fitting room would have been a perfect place to get rid of them. Yes, they have signs all over the place stating that the rooms are monitored, but they are referring to items shoppers take in and out from the sales floor. They don't surveil the inside of the rooms where people are undressing. That's highly illegal.

You're ok in this situation.

Good luck!!

Disgusted With Myself on September 14, 2016:

I am freaking out. I was at a kohls earlier this morning (right when it opened) and took a pair of toddler nikes ($40 something value). They had no tags and weren't in a box. I put them under a pile of clothes I was carrying and went into the dressing room and put them under my shirt. I then got nervous and wanted to put them back, but was even more scared I would be seen doing that. I know I started acting weird, looking for cameras etc. I had purchases to make so checked out and paid with my debit card. (They most definitely have my info). I then circled the store again wanting to put back, went to the shoe section, even went into the dressing room again (a different one) but noticed a sign about monitoring them, was scared if I took them out they would come and get me. I hung out by the entrance and then walked out of the store. No one stopped me. The alarm didn't go off. I sat in my car for a few mins. No one came out. Horrified that I'm going to be tracked down though. I was parked right in front of the store so they would have my license plate too. I want to just go and give them back but even more scared I'll be prosecuted for trying to do so. Please help me!

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

Hi big problem, Anytime a shoplifter walks away from a theft without wearing handcuffs, it's a good day for the shoplifter.

I don't know about the chain you're talking about, but being a smaller chain, they could have different LP policies in place, than what I was used to, so don't know how far he was allowed to follow you. Sounds a little out of the ordinary, though.

The security guy, (or LP) admitted he didn't see you steal. I would have walked away too. He had nothing on you, If they research video, or count inventory of the item you took, the most they would have on you is suspicion. They can't touch you if you return.

Not trying to compliment you, but you're a pro at this point. The myth about pros, is they never get caught. That's not exactly true. They get caught. It just takes longer sometimes. Much of my LP education came from pro shoplifters I was lucky enough to catch. It's going to take a real good LP to catch you. Good luck.

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

Hi Shame, Don't worry about anything. You left the merchandise at the store. You didn't steal anything, No one can, (or will), say anything to you, should you return. And no one is going to use your personal information to come after you. Take a deep breath, It's over. Good luck!

big problem on September 13, 2016:

I have been stealing for about 3 years now and have totaled around $11,000 in stolen merchandise. I know it's deplorable, but I have this mentality I can't shake about saving every bit of money I make from my job- I don't want to spend it. I have been stopped three times (out of a hundred times shoplifting) in makeup stores, but I am never seen concealing on camera, so they couldn't detain me. I was just caught yesterday though.

I just moved to a high-crime city in a different state where I am no longer considered a minor. I stole an item worth $70 from a beauty chain (not a national retailer, but they have many locations in this state). Their cameras are pretty low quality and I know they can't see me directly conceal the item, since my back was to the camera and I didn't make any "concealing" movements. The "security" guy was fooling around with some products very close to the sensors and set them off once. I then walked through the door and the sensor went off (I know nothing on me could have caused this), so I think it was him, since he was still holding the products over the sensors.

I heard him say, "Miss", but I kept walking down the street. I walked at least two minutes around the corner and down the block and I thought I was in the clear, but he stopped me. This was very far away from the store; was he allowed to follow me this far?

He asked if I took anything from the store and I said no, then he asked to check my bag and I said no. I asked if he had me on camera and he said, "my coworker saw something in your bag." I pulled out a makeup product from my bag that I had stolen from a different location earlier, but said that I bought it, could this have been what she saw, etc. I wasn't walking fast like I was guilty and I was very calm during this interaction, which I think threw him off. He didn't ask for a receipt, but he asked me to come back to the store. I declined. I don't think they carry this particular product at their location, so I hope he thinks I couldn't have stolen from them. He was texting someone (likely his coworker) during this time. I asked if I could leave, and he said yes.

They didn't see me conceal or maintain line of sight, so could they still prosecute? It was also only one small item, but it was $70. I'm worried that since I've stolen so much I'm in some kind of database and the police can facial rec me. I have also performed 23 bottle runs directly on camera, from the same grocery chain, but have never been even remotely caught. All of this serious shoplifting took place in a different state than yesterday's occurrence.

If they called the cops and gave them the video surveillance, could they find me? I got a speeding ticket and have a drivers license, so that means my picture is in the system right? I feel terrible every time I get caught and I think I'm going to stop it's too much stress for me.

Shame on September 13, 2016:

I tried to shoplift in H&M in Utah state. I didn't get caught at that moment but cctv may has record I tried to steal 17 dollars belt. Situation goes like this. I bought items there and on the way out I got the belt that I didn't pay and tagged off of it. I went out store and alarm went off me. Staff ran to me and asked me to show my bag and reciept. So I went back to store and show my bag and reciept. But the staff didn't see I wore unpaid belt. I felt that it would be really embarrassing to tell the staff I have unpaid item and walked out of store. So, I slowly took off that belt and put it on the ground while the staff was checking my item. After tbat I walked out the store.

My question is would I get caught after that fact ? Cops trace me ? I paid with credit. They may have my record and I am not the US citizien.

They have footage record that I tagged off that belt and walked out store without paying. I am so nervous and feel shame about it.

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

Hi Girlfriend, No, I don't think an email would change things. I just included it for your own information. Thanks again-Oh and the website is on the way!

Girlfriend on September 10, 2016:

Rockinjoe, yes you bring up such good points. So interesting to hear your point-of-view given the fact that you are an insider. I love your honesty and your non-judgemental advice. You are awesome! So, do you think I should write a letter or send an email to the corporate offices to the stores that ask to see your receipts and say that this is not a mandatory for a customer to show their receipt, and that it just intimidates the customers? I guess it would not matter either way. Thank you again for your thoughtful responses and for creating this website. You should create your own website!

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

Hi Girlfriend, You're welcome. Glad I could help. For some reason, it's become a normal occurrence for shoppers to show their receipt to an employee at the door. I usually do, only because I know it's someone making minimum wage in a job they hate, who were told to do this by a retail manager, who also hates their job.

If you take a look at Loss Prevention rule #1 in the above article, no one can stop you for shoplifting unless they are certified to do so and ONLY if they see you do it.

You're not obligated. You can walk right out. The only time I can remember not showing a receipt is when the line to get out of Walmart was longer than I wanted to wait. The employee checking the receipt was a jerk and yelled at me, "Hey you can't leave. You have to stop." I laughed and replied "Come and stop me!", as I continued walking. No one came after me,

People have to remember that the store is there to serve you and not the other way around. If I were shopping at a store whose employees made me feel like a criminal, I wouldn't go back.

Ok, I'm off my soapbox!

girlfriend on September 10, 2016:

Rockinjoe, you really rock!!!!!!! Thank you so much! Wait a second, so as a shopper, I am not obligated to show a receipt? At the Walmart I go to, they make you show a receipt every time. I just assumed you have to, otherwise they will make you wait and assume you stole something. They do it at Costco, too. So, that is really interesting about not having to show a receipt. It is intimidating when the store associate is standing at the door with a highlighter waiting to check-off your receipt. Then, if you say no, they will think you stole something. That is a sneaky technique!

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

Hi Girlfriend, Thanks for writing. I do what I can. Your boyfriend is ok. Target's not going to pay someone $15 an hour to investigate a $12 pair of socks. There are lots bigger fish to fry than to go after your boyfriend. That being said, if he had been apprehended by LP, it would have been an embarrassing and expensive process to go through for a pair of socks.

Also, Unless you live in N.Korea or Iran, there is NO law saying a shopper MUST show a receipt when exiting a store after a purchase. Stores do it to deter shopliftting, but (unless you already have it in your hand), it's sometimes a hassle and inconvenience to dig it out of a wallet or handbag. You can simply walk by and say "No" when they ask for your receipt.

Good luck to you and sock guy :)

Girlfriend on September 09, 2016:

Hi RockinJoe! You are so awesome I just found your article. Thank you for writing this, we really appreciate it! So, my boyfriend told me today that he stole a pair of socks from Target ($12 value). He placed them in his Target bag, purchased another item from the store, then left. Upon leaving, the store clerk asked him to see his receipt as he was walking out of the store. He gave an excuse, and said he wanted a smaller size of the socks, but he showed him the receipt for the other item. He took his word for it, but he seemed doubtful. My question is, can he look up the security footage after-the-fact, and then ban him from the store then next time he goes in to the store, if recognized? They also have his name, because the item he purchased had his name on the receipt. They did not write it down, but they could look it up in the system because it was an online order. If they didn't apprehend him there, could they view the security footage, and apprehend him the next time he goes into the store? Thank you again for your help for all of us lost-souls.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 05, 2016:

Hi Abusedbykohls, Wow! Over agressive LP is an understatement. These guys should have been fired and charged with assault. Now, questions for you. Did you have a receipt for the items you were exchanging? Did the police find the clothing you left in the fitting room? And finally, did the woman you spoke with when you entered the store give a statement?

According to the story you just told, the police had no reason to cite you, There had to be evidence pointing to your guilt for them to do that.

I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you. Get an attorney ASAP. Good luck.

Abusedbykohls on September 04, 2016:

Hi I went to kohls back a few months ago to exchange a few items I already had purchased about a week prior, which weren't the right sizes so I wanted to see if this one had the right sizes. Upon entering the store I informed the lady at the first register I had items i wanted to possibly exchange. And I proceeded with a cart through the store to see if they had the items I needed and shopping for other items as well out of the 6 items I needed to exchange they only had a hoodie for me to exchange. Meanwhile I continued to shop and proceeded into the fitting room to try on a couple of things which I left in the fitting room and went straight to the register where I exchanged my hoodie a black one for a grey one and purchased a pair of Sandals I then left the store. Upon leaving the store almost to my car I was approached by 2 very large men never stating who they were. Telling me to come here and grabbing my arm I jerked away and quickly went to my car opening the back door to put my bags in and before I could get to the drivers door of them was blocking my door and the other had opened my back door and grabbed my bag and purse out I went around to the passenger door and climbed through at that time my driver door opened and out on the ground I went scraping my chin on pavement that was the first time they said we are security and we know you have stolen items in your purse I said no I do not now let me go and I attempted to walk away and was thrown up against my car and then onto the ground with a 6ft 4in 300+ lbs man on my back I'm 5ft 1in my hands behind me. I yelled for help and no one was around at that time I told the guy look get off me I'm pregnant and he responded with I don't care if your pregnant you stole merchandise. So I wiggled my way to my back and kicked him in the groin I was then able to get on my feet both knees bleeding elbows bleeding the cops show up and we go back in the cops took my statement and thiers when asked what items I had I was able to tell them exactly what I had and they wrote me a ticket and I was on my way but now facing shoplifting charges and never took anything. I feel like I was assaluted and falsely detained by overly aggressive Lp staff. Even the police report says that their were some descripincy in their statements.

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

Hi Snake, (My favorite bad guy name, by the way), I've never seen anyone sign a civil demand letter. Maybe a form, saying they have received it and the LP has explained what it is, but not sign it as an admission of guilt.

Are you referring perhaps, to the main shoplifting form?

I've had several people over the years refuse to sign the main form an policy usually dictated that person be prosecuted, even if you didn't plan on it, previously.

The civil demand is coming whether you sign anything or not, or go to jail or go home. Thanks for your comment.

SnakePilissken on September 02, 2016:

I can personally tell you without a shadow of a doubt, don't ever under any circumstance sign ANY civil demand letter. That is an admission of guilt 100%. Even if they lie to you and tell you if you sign this and pay the fine they won't contact the police, don't do it. Chances are the police are already on the way, my advice would be to take it as is, and don't say a word. Contact an attorney promptly.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on August 31, 2016:

Hi Jennifer, I'm not a cop, nor am I a lawyer, but I do know that placing your hands on someone is illegal. This is something you should pursue, so it doesn't happen to anyone again.

I couldn't find a corporate phone number, but Save-a-Lot is owned by parent company, Supervalu. They do have a contact page here.


You can also take care of this at store level with the manager if you prefer, but a call to corporate (in my opinion) might be a little more effective.

Good luck!

Jennifer on August 31, 2016:

I have a question me and my kids were shopping at a save-a-lot store and my 20 yr old son who is mentally slow had a couple of candy bars in his hand and a employee came up to him and said I seen you in video take those candy bars off the shelf and asked where they were they were still in my son's hand and then the employee said in think you have something in your pockets and literally put his hands in my son's picket and searched him is that legal or am I over reacting cause I know I was hit headed when my son told me what happened and by the way his pockets were empty

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on August 23, 2016:

Hi anxiousllama, Take a deep breath, let it out and smile. No one is coming after you for what is known in the business as a"ticket switch".

Ticket switching used to be a prosecuteable offense years ago at some larger retail companies, but with the addition of computers and software involved in point of sale cash registers, that practice has pretty much disappeared.


Pricing errors, (whether made by computer or humans), makes ticket switching too difficult to prove. Financially, it's not worth it.

If Loss Prevention happens to witness a ticket switch these days, the rule of thumb is to call up front to the cashier (or front end manager) and ask them to price check the item. This not only ensures the store rings the item correctly, but it also lets the "ticket switcher" know that the store is on to them.

In the list of prosecutable offenses, ticket switchers are at the very bottom. Don't worry about going back. No one is going to say anything.

anxiousllama on August 22, 2016:

Hi Joe! A few nights ago I did my usual shopping at Winco and impulse swapped the bulk numbers on an item for a cheaper one. Didn't even think about it when I got to the register. The cashier noticed, and I lied, and said no. Panic attack palooza! I think I've swapped numbers maybe 3-4 times over the past year, and no one's ever noticed or brought it up or cared. He rang it up as I said and seemed to shrug it off. No LP was called, no one asked anything, and no one has said anything to me in the past few days. The price difference was probably $5 at most. I'm terrified to go back though - I've shopped there weekly for the past two years or so - but I'll definitely never swap the numbers again. Should I just not go back? Wait a bit longer? Avoid that cashier? Is it even worth it to them? I'm an anxious person so I'm making it worse than it should be probably, but I'd just like some reassurance... never again, promise. This kind of anxiety isn't worth it! Soothe my anxious soul. :( Is it worth it to them to check video / make a case / pursue me?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on August 22, 2016:

Hi Statistics, That question has been answered above.

Statistics on August 22, 2016:

In all your yeas working as LP who did you find shoplifted more between people with a small shopping basket or large shopping cart with wheels?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on August 22, 2016:

Hi scared employee, Retail stores often spend more time and money on apprehending employees over regular shoplifters. While a skilled shoplifter may get away with a decent haul every so often, an employee may have the same opportunity every day of the week.

If you're currently $300 in, stealing from your retail employer, you're either being currently investigated, (and they are possibly waiting to get more incidents of theft on tape to build a stronger case), or they're not onto you yet. There is no in-between.Each time you steal, you increase your risks of being caught. It's going to happen, eventually. Good luck.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on August 22, 2016:

Hi Crowded store, LP is trained to watch for the actions of potential shoplifters, not whether they have a handbasket or shopping cart. People usually display certain traits that are common to shoplifters, when they are about to steal. Among them are nervousness, looking up and directly at security cameras and bulky clothing in warm weather.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on August 22, 2016:

Hi cop, Thanks for writing. My information is accurate. LP is forced to follow the rules of the store concerning shoplifting, while police officers can arrest on suspicion.

scared employee on August 12, 2016:

How do lp members usually go on about employees stealing? do they usually notify the managers or they just keep letting u steal until what?? I've stole almost $300 worth of stuff and am so paranoid rn!! one of my managers got a email from lp and starting questioning everyone about bringing Unpurchased merchandise to the back.. do they usually do that? I thought it was kind of dumb to let associates know that they've sort of been caught. and once I quit, will they still be able to take action and send me to jail?!

Crowded store on August 08, 2016:

I have a question do lp watch more the customers with the big shopping carts with wheels or do they watch more the ones with the small hand shopping baskets at stores such as walmart, and target? I know that with the big carts with wheels there is more of a chance of shoplifting more products but it's to do this, but what about when the store is crowded and packed with so many people like walmart. The person with the small basket would have to conceal the products in there purse or person, while the big cart with wheels can just walk out with the cart full of products although this is harder to pull this off. I'm guessing when the store has less people it's more easy to spot people shoplifting? Are they going to focus more on the person with a big cart with wheels or small hand shopping basket?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on August 01, 2016:

I apologize for my lack of responses. I don't seem to be getting notified of new messages. I will answer everyone asap.

Frank on July 31, 2016:

I was recently at a store with a friend. I picked up an item wrapped in a spider and took it to go find her as i thought she may want to buy it. I found her and left it with her and continued browsing then went to wait in the car. A short time later she exited the store and was being told to return to the store by two LP employees. She ignored them and we left as they were taking her plate and calling police. A short distance later we were approached by two cops and were told each of us were being charged. They said my charge was attempted shoplifting and that I had tried removing the spider on the item I had taken her. Im unsure what her charge was but we didnt have any merchandise from the store and I had done nothing. Can I possibly be found guilty for doing nothing?

Cop on July 22, 2016:

some of your information is wrong. Any shoplifter who conceals is up for arrest, anywhere in or out of the store,... Georgia. I'm am a cop.

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

Hi Customer and lift, I would seriously doubt it. If they're going to catch you, they're going to do it the old fashioned way and catch you in the act. I'm no lawyer, but they're not going to use your confidential info to seek a case on you. I'm guessing it would also violate HIPPA laws.

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

Hi Anthony, Not sure if this is the case at Best Buy, but we would charge shoplifters with the regular price, not the sale price. You would only get the sale price if you were buying the item, not stealing it. I'm pretty certain that's what they did. Good luck.

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

Thanks, LP Regional. I appreciate your stopping by.

Customer and lift on July 13, 2016:

If I'm a customer that pickups medication at a chain drugstore pharmacy, but also shoplifted at the same pharmacy can they come over to where I live since they my address?

Anthony on July 10, 2016:

So I was shoplifting in Best-buy and got caught, I stole a pair of headphones which price was 279 on the sticker, and when I went to the front and when the cops showed up he rung it up 379 resulting in me getting a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor. While I already completed all of my dues to society, I was curious how often either a mark up in price or a bad label results in grand theft charges.

LP Regional on July 09, 2016:

Good valid topics and points. I obviously demand my LP agents follow the rules at all times, but you know how that goes. Everything is ok-as long as you don't get caught. If you're not already doing it, you should consult.

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

hi Toobusymommy, I'm glad everything worked out for you. Now, go have that baby!!!

Toobusymommy on July 07, 2016:

Hi Joe,

Thank you so much for your kind response. To give you an update, I was literally nauseous from this and decided to do what's right...at least partly. I went to the service desk this morning and confessed that I had been "distracted" and would like to make amends. The lady was MORE than sweet to me, and understanding, so I paid for those $30 items. If not anything else but this, I feel so much better. I started lifting because I've been dealing with PPD and anxiety (which is NOT an excuse). Ironically, stealing made me more depressed and anxious. Learned my lesson. My life is too good to waste it on this crap.

Thanks again.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on July 07, 2016:

Hi Toobusymommy,

You have a lot going on. The last thing you need is a criminal record. My advice? Forget about going back and making amends. If you're feeling guilty, put the money you would have paid Fred Meyers aside for your kids.

I think you may have gotten a little paranoid when you thought the employees were on to you. Although that could have been the case, if they wanted to stop you and had the authority to do so, they would have.

You're on CCTV in most places-especially at the self checkout. It's easy to catch shoplifters at self checkout, because not only you on camera, but they most likely have a register in an LP office (or manager's office) that is a duplicate to the one you are using and will show exactly what you are scanning, not scanning, etc. The self scan is one of the worst places to steal.

I don't know if FM posts photos in the employee lounge, but I would highly doubt it. I would post one behind the service desk for the clerks to see every once in a great while, but that's only if I were having a major problem. You are a nuisance, but you're not on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List. Don't be too concerned.

I also wouldn't worry about going back and doing some honest shopping. They may be suspicious, they may watch you, they might even follow you around, but if you don't steal anything, they cannot and will not stop you.

Good luck

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on July 07, 2016:

Hi LP Guy, Douchebags like yourself are the reason I write these articles. So you disregard the rules and are intent on saving the world from evil shoplifters? Dude, you wouldn't have a job without shoplifters. I don't know how they do it in Brooklyn, but guys like you never last long in this business. You need to do some growing up.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on July 07, 2016:

Hi Kitty, $8 isn't going to have an impact on anyone. I would personally never walk in and admit guilt. If you want to make yourself feel better, donate some money to your favorite charity and don't chance it again. Good luck!

Toobusymommy on July 07, 2016:

Hi Joe,

Please help, I'm terrified to death. I can't sleep, can't eat. I'm pregnant and SAHM to a toddler. I made an incredibly stupid mistake by lifting at Fred Meyers several times over the last couple of months. I'm super paranoid and feel that the employees know who I am and have stared at me the last couple of times. Last week I walked out with a couple unpaid items totaling less than $30, and I thought I heard a telephone ring by the exit doors. I continued walking to my car (btw, I always purchase when I lift, and I use self checkout. They have all my cc info). I put the items in my car, put the cart away and got into my car. I look in my mirror and there's a cart guy who followed me out to get my one cart in its stall (the only cart there) and he was staring at me, sort of smiling. I freaked out that the telephone call was telling him to follow me, but he never stopped me (he was walking slowly but still staring at me). I went in 2 days later with my child, mostly to start afresh, I'm NEVER doing this again, and wanted to just reestablish an honest shopping routine. After I paid (with a regular cashier) and was walking out, I noticed an employee in the electronics section staring at me hard.

Do you know if Fred Meyers puts potential lifters images up in the employee break room? I've lifted from them in the past and while I'm sure they didnt catch me on CCTV, they do see me using self checkout. Help help help, I'm sick to death about what to do. Go in and confess that I was distracted and forgot to pay for those items? And pay for them? Never go in again? I'm in a small town and this is the most convenient grocery store. I'm so ashamed and terrified I'll be arrested if I go in again even if I don't lift or that the police will show up at my door.

Lp guy on July 05, 2016:

This article is highly subjective to company policy and the real world. In the real world i catch you stealing. That's it. It's over. U loss. There's no u can't touch me or detain me or another BS excuse. When the cops come and u have no proof of payment for the stuff. Ur gone. They must arrest unless otherwise directed by Sergeant. This article will get alot of people caught stealing lol

Kitty on July 02, 2016:

One time at a CVS, the cashier scanned my chocolates twice, which means I got overcharged nine dollars. I didn't notice until I got home. The next time I went to CVS, I slipped 8 dollars worth of water flavoring into my bag. I have been too scared to go back since. But I want to go back to that CVS. I still have my receipt from the time I got overcharged. If I asked the staff to, could they review their security tapes from that day and check what I had in my cart against my receipt from that day to verify that I got overcharged? Alternatively, what would happen if I just walked in and said I want to pay you 8 dollars for stuff I slipped in my bag? I want to fix this, but I'm terrified of setting foot in the store again.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on June 30, 2016:

Hi JustNeedInfo, Sorry for the delay. No, it's never acceptable for an LP employee to touch you, or your property, unless they are trying to defend themselves from you. They should also have a witness of the same sex as you, present in the office during processing.

The police are a different story. They can tell you to turn off or wrestle the phone out of your hand, should the need arise.

LP employees are just that. Employees.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on June 30, 2016:

Hi Scared, You'll be ok. Unless you were apprehended with a few hundred dollars worth of merchandise, it's rare for LP to backtrack. It would also be nearly impossible to prosecute on prior thefts, as all the elements are NEVER 100% present on video. These guys/girls aren't cops. They were happy to get you with what they did. Good luck.

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

Hi Gas station, I you've been let go, (with no police or paperwork involvement), you've been let go. You'll be ok. Good luck.

Scared on June 18, 2016:

if a person is caught shoplifting from a grocery store, even if its the first time they have been caught, do investigators review past security video tape, checking to see if that same person attempted to shoplift in the recent past.

if they found any suspicious video, could that store security add a charge for that incident onto the principle incident that the person was cited for.

JustNeedInfo on June 11, 2016:

Can a LP officer tell you to turn your phone off and then wrestle/grab it from you prior to police arriving, also stating if phone broken in process it is own fault?

Ty for your time.

Please on May 29, 2016:


I am a young adult who has recently been seeking out the thrills of shoplifting. After an extremely close call, I have realized how stupid I have been. It was extremely stupid of me to risk my future like I have been doing the past couple of months, and I am quitting cold turkey.

Please, take away some of my anxiety so I know I can make a clean start. The store I have been stealing from is a store I visit 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I buy stuff along with my stolen goods, sometimes I don't. If I do not visit the store for more than a year (seeing as I believe at this point the employees are suspicious of me), will I be able to go back without the LP or the employees breathing behind my neck or them taking me to the back and showing blurry CCTV footages of my past lifts?

Gas station on May 29, 2016:

So I was caught simply stealing some candy from a gas station. They let me go but I'm still worried. That's because I stole some stuff from places like lowes for example and didn't get caught, (btw I learned my lesson) but my question is am I safe to go back into a store like Lowes where I stole, but didn't get caught?

Stressed on April 12, 2016:

Add Your Comment..my daughter works at Lowes and always talks about giving her friends and cousins discounts and not ringing every item. I'm very worried. The last time time she discounted somebody was over a week ago and I saw some lady in a car taking pictures of our house and cars. It followed her and she realized it and lost me after about 10 minutes. Im worried for my daughter, she's just trying to impress her friends as she is a stupid teenager. And now I'm affraid

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

Hi martafr,

Using the fitting rooms is a common way to steal merchandise and it's pretty much a no brainer, if someone goes into the room with merchandise, comes out without it and it's no longer in the room, that person must have taken it. Correct?

Not always.

In many stores, the LP must see the merchandise concealed before making an arrest. That's a great policy, but it's also impossible inside the fitting rooms where customers expect privacy and cameras are not allowed.

Most likely, the cameras are monitoring activity outside the fitting rooms watching shoppers go in and out. That's also a great idea, but if stores do not have employee coverage at the fitting rooms, they can expect to get ripped off. Why most stores will not pay someone $10 an hour for dedicated coverage to the fitting rooms boggles my mind, when they can lose thousands in a day. But, I digress. Getting back to your friend.

There is no doubt that the guy writing down your friend's registration suspected her of stealing merchandise. It also appears that he either had no authority to stop her from leaving the store with stolen merchandise, or he didn't have enough evidence. The police can question you on suspicion. LP cannot. Here's the way I see it.

A.) He wrote down the info to scare the hell out of your friend. I used to do this all the time when I didn't have enough evidence. It was hilarious to watch them looking back as they drove out of the parking lot. It's also a good theft deterrent.

B.) He wrote down her registration number and called the police to report the theft. The cops either missed their opportunity to pull her over, or (depending on the size of the town) passed it to the detectives who handle those types of investigations.

It's always a good idea to consult with an attorney, but in my opinion, there is no need to do it until the police come to the door-if they even come at all.

Good luck.

martafr on February 25, 2016:

Hi RockinJoe, I am writing on behalf of my close friend, as she is not very computer savvy. We need your advise!

She lives in South Jersey, NJ and she went to the local Boscov's store where she shoplifted some clothes and miscellaneous. The actual cost of the taken items (not what was written in the tag prices, as several items were on sale) was probably 120 dollars.

She was never suspected of shoplifting before (as far as she knows), and she has no felonies.

She was using a shopping cart provided by the store and she went inside a fitting room and placed the items in a bag that she was carrying (not the store bag).

The fitting room is not monitored, as far as she knows. There are no notices informing of that. She also consumed a small package of candy from the store and she did it on plain sight :(

She left the store without anybody stopping her. When she got inside her car, she noticed a guy with a phone (walkie talkie?) near her trunk writing something, but without saying a word. She realized that he was writing her license and maybe other characteristics of the car.

She called at him loudly to ask why he was doing that and he did not utter a word and went inside the store. My friend, without thinking, went after him and followed him inside Boscov's (the bag in question was left inside her car). He was actually avoiding her, until she caught up with him and asked him why he had written her license plate. He answered that they think she may have seen in camara taking things without paying. She was adamant that she had not and that she had put everything back. He said "but where?" and she answered "I don't know, maybe downstairs? (the store has 2 floors). Why would I have come back to talk to you if I have really taken something?"

Without another word, he left her and she went back outside to her car.

I know it is not an excuse but she suffers from depresion and bad anxiety. She is in her upper fifties. The car is registered under her husband's name.

Let me be clear, she is very, very ashamed, and she is also very scared about what may happen now. She has learned her lesson.

Any advise? Should she contact a lawyer? We read that they have up until 1 or 2 years to contact her and/or take action?

We would very much appreciate your input as soon as you can.

Thank you and keep up your excellent work!

Kellyann on February 08, 2016:

Joe, Any interest in LP for a small chain? You've been the buzz with these articles of yours aat our LP meetings the past few months. They are required reading for all LP.

I have a wonderful internal investigator position you may be interested in. The Carolinas are beautiful anytime of year and you're already familiar with grocery.

I've located your email address (through your entertainment company) and will send better (and extensive) details.



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

You're welcome! Good luck!

Guiltycinscience on February 01, 2016:

Thanks for all your advice joe. In a way I'm happy I finally came to realization that shoplifting is wrong and not worth the consequences. So thank you.

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