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Caught Shoplifting: What Happens Next?

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

The best shoplifters get in and out of the store quickly, but most get caught.

The best shoplifters get in and out of the store quickly, but most get caught.

Your Actions Determine How You'll Spend the Rest of Your Day

Firstly, I'm not an attorney. The following article is not intended to be legal advice. If you are stopped by a Loss Prevention employee, you are advised to consult with your lawyer. Shoplifting laws vary from state to state and country to country.

The following is just a guide based on my experience as a loss prevention specialist.

Shoplifting: The Scenario

So there you are walking down Aisle #6 and you can't help yourself. The Tylenol is just sitting there waiting to be stolen. For some reason, you can't justify paying $6.99 for a bottle of 50 caplets. "That's insane," you're thinking. "How can they expect me to pay all this money just for that?"

You glance around. There's no one in the aisle. You look up to see a black camera dome, straight above you. You think it over. Your palms get sweaty. "No one really watches us through those things, do they?" you ask yourself.

You reach over and grab it off the shelf already feeling (and looking) guilty. Within 10 seconds it's inside your pocketbook. What a rush! Your heart is pumping, and you can actually hear it.

"I got away with it." you're thinking.

You decide to do some legitimate shopping. It takes you another half an hour to fill up your grocery cart and then you head up front to the checkout lanes. You feel better. You've almost forgotten you've just committed a crime.

After the cashier checks out your order, you pay for your items using your Visa card. The grocery bagger has placed your last bag inside your carriage and you walk outside, feeling pretty good about yourself. "I've paid enough for my groceries!", you rationalize. "Serves them right for charging so much for a little bottle of Tylenol."

All of a sudden from behind you hear a professional, sounding voice (for our purposes, this voice is female) and she says.

"Excuse me, ma'am. I'm with store security. Could you please step back inside the store with me? There's been a mistake made and we need to discuss it."

At this point, you're praying for a heart attack as the "fight or flight" syndrome takes over. Hundreds of questions are going through your mind. "What should I do? Should I run?, should I go back? Am I going to be arrested? Will this get in the paper? My husband is going to kill me!"

Bad news. You're being stopped for shoplifting. What you do from this point on might determine how you spend the rest of your day.

What To Do if You are Caught Shoplifting

1. Don't run.

This will cause a reaction from the store detective. If the detective is allowed to apprehend you, they will attempt to grab you and force you to come back into the store. If the store detective is NOT allowed to touch you (depending on local laws and the rules of the store), and you run, they may at their option notify the police. It's not a bright idea to run.

2. Don't over-react.

Remember this. As nervous and excited you are, the store detective is just as (and perhaps) more nervous than you are. They have no idea who you are. They don't know if you're carrying a weapon, capable of striking them, are a drug addict who may stab them with an HIV infected needle, etc. Try to remain calm. Don't make any sudden movements that might be misconstrued as a threat of bodily harm to the detective. Even a "hands-off" loss prevention detective will defend him/herself. This is a crucial moment. Try and stay calm.

3. Don't try to bargain.

LP has heard it all before. "I'll never come back, please don't do this." I'll never do it again!", "I did it for my kids" "I was going to come back and pay for it later!", "I forgot to pay for it!" "Can I please go if I pay for it?" The list goes on and on. The excuses get old after awhile. You stole an item and that's all there is to it.

4. Don't try to cut a deal.

The store detective does not care about your reasons for stealing. They want the apprehension to happen. Most don't just want the merchandise back. They NEED your name, address and other personal information for their records. They have to justify their paycheck to their boss and their store. They HAVE to show that they're doing the job.

5. The longer you stay outside with the detective, the more embarrassing it's going to be when your neighbor walks by.

You can try to hand off the merchandise and walk away and HOPE that they don't call the cops for a measly $6.99, but don't count on it. If you go inside the store with the detective, you can be out in 5 minutes. Decide carefully.

6. LP is watching your every move.

Keep your hands clear of your pockets, handbag, etc. Don't make any sudden jerking movements and keep your voice down. What you're trying to do is to place the detective at ease here. You only stole a bottle of Tylenol. You didn't commit a murder. Chill out.

7. Make certain a witness is present.

Once in the LP Office, make sure there is a witness present of the same sex as yourself. (If the detective is the same sex as the shoplifter a person of the opposite sex may be used as a witness) The witness will in most cases be whatever employee of the store is available. You will be asked a series of questions. Be as pleasant as possible and don't lie. The detective may anticipate a lie and ask you the same question later on in the interview. At this point, you may want to give up the Tylenol-and whatever other merchandise you have taken from that store. Wait for the detective to ask you for the merchandise. Do NOT stick your hands in your pocket to get the merchandise on your own. The detective may interpret this action as a threat.

8. Don't sign anything until you read it.

If you have proper ID, the detective will probably release you upon your signature. Be careful what you sign. If you have any questions about what you're signing, feel free to ask questions, but beware. The detective is not an attorney, either. In most cases, he/she is right out of high school. Use your own judgment. You could refuse to sign, but this may be taken as a sign of non-cooperation and the police may be called.

9. Civil Recovery?

If the state where you reside, has a Civil Recovery Law in effect, you may also be asked to sign a statement stating you understand the elements behind Civil Recovery. Civil Recovery is a law that says merchants have the right to civilly sue the shoplifter for costs incurred during the shoplifting process. (If you need more info on the Civil Recovery law in your state, simply Google "Civil Recovery in Arkansas" for example) A CR fine can be high. I've heard of fines up to $500. Civil Recovery is the way that LP Departments make money. That money goes to the bottom line. Usually it's a 50/50 split between the store and the company they hire to recover your money. If you ask the detective questions concerning Civil Demand, they will hand you a flyer (or some other sort of printed info) and claim they "don't know much about it." (this is said on purpose and to reduce the store's liability.) There will be a phone number on the form (usually connecting to the collecting company) you can dial for more info.

Talk to your attorney before making any kind of civil demand payments. In fact, my advice is to talk with your attorney after your shoplifting apprehension. He/she may find flaws in your situation which may steer the store away from your paying Civil Demand. (If you bitch loud enough, the store may even give you a gift certificate to use on your next shopping trip.)

10. If the detective tells you that you the police are on their way, shut your mouth.

There is no changing their minds. Don't offer up merchandise or any other personal info. Even your name. They're not cops. Save your breath and try and calm down before the police arrive.

My last bit of advice? Don't chance it again.

Caught Shoplifting? Get a Free Ride in this Car

Caught Shoplifting? Get a Free Ride in this Car

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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.


Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 03, 2016:

Hi Tina,

Yes.It may be a public place, but you can be asked to leave and never return.Verbally notifying you not to come back is often enough for police officers to come to the store, and (at the very least), make sure you understand you are not to vilolate the rule again.

Good luck!

Tina on October 03, 2016:

as I was leaving the store I was asked for my receipt. I showed the receipt for what I paid for. I was told that I can take what I paid for. I was also told to never come into the store again. Yes I understand I was wrong for attempt to take food that I didn't pay for, but I didn't leave the store with the unpaid items. So can they really tell me that I can never come into the store ever again?

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

Hi steve smith, No, not all, It's what shopkeepers did before surveillance cameras were in use. As long as an agent of the store witnessed you steal, it's good enough to have you processed or arrested.

Steve smith on September 15, 2016:

Caught shoplifting, although no cameras were present in store. Does this have anything to do with being found guilty?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 16, 2014:

Hi wonthappenagain,

You'll be ok with the first offense. Here's why.

1.) You were not apprehended.

2.) No one would know how to look it up the video (if it even existed) at the first store. In other words, the first Kohl's has no idea about what happened at the second Kohl's and vice versa.

3.) Even if somehow the stores did match up their information (which isn't going to happen), the first Kohl's would have to know the time and date of the incident, plus a description of your personal appearance. Then they would have to check out and piece together video from several different points in the store and they still wouldn't be able to press charges because they would not have 100% surveillance of you in the store if no one was actively following you.

Kohl's has great merchandise. I shop there myself. But, they don't have forensic scientists operating those cameras.

Worry about taking care of your second offense. That's what's important here.

wonthappenagain on September 16, 2014:

Thank you rockinjoe! I did take some things tho that first time but I was not apprehended now that I have done it a second time and did get caught but not at the same store, still at kohls but different stores will I be prosecuted for the first offense? Is there a way it can find out if they filed a police report for that first initial time even though I was not apprehended.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 16, 2014:

Hi won'thappenagain. The answer to your question is no. If the first store did not apprehend you, they won't have anyway to look you (or any video they may have of the incident), up. Also civil fines cannot be issued unless there was a theft. It doesn't matter if they have your license plate, or not. This is Kohl's, not the FBI.

wonthappenagain on September 16, 2014:


Can you help me? I was arrested yesterday for shoplifting from kohls in Iowa this was my second attempt at it I think I was suspected of shoplifting art he kohls in a different city/county but they did not write me up or anything maybe the lp wasn't there that day I just got weird looks from the managers as I was leaving the first time I did this. Since I didn't give them my name or anything or wasnt actually caught at the first store now that I've been caught at the second store will I be prosecuted for the first shoplifting since they now have my information. Is there a way they can look me up somehow or use my picture to identify me and charge me for something else. Also could I get a civil offense from kohls the first time if I was not apprehended but have my license plate number?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 08, 2012:

Hi l48fk29g, Unfortunately, you've satisfied the five steps used to apprehend shoplifters at Walmart, (and most other places North America) by doing the following.

-You selected merchandise

-You concealed merchandise

-You made no attempt to pay for the merchandise

-You passed all points of purchase

-You attempted to leave the store without paying

Mistake or not, you've just shoplifted.

Now, I'm not accusing you of a crime, (I wasn't there and don't know what exactly occurred), but concealing merchandise in a shopping cart is a very common method of shoplifting.

You were fortunate that no police were involved. You will receive a civil fine in the mail and that will be up to you to decide whether or not you want to pay it, or not. The civil fine has absolutely nothing to do with a criminal charge.

Asking for your SS# is just standard protocol. It's not the LP's fault, it's on the Walmart apprehension form and is required info for the LP to obtain.

I don't see Walmart dropping this. The only other option is for you to involve a lawyer (and lots of money) and prove your innocence before a judge. I would get a free consultation with one in your area and you would be able to learn your options.

Good luck!

l48fk29g on December 07, 2012:

Today , I'm at walmart , it's packed crazy , there restocking (they should be cleaning you can't find anything ) so you can't walk down most rows or find anything , to reach anything your reaching around carts full of verious items from other aeras of the store It's the worst walmart i've seen but it's the only one close to me with a food section i'm doing my shopping , got lightblubs , few jars of baby food for my neice i have to babysit next week, a nice tote bag, baby wipes , ice scraper for the car , i grabed a few xmas ordaments , a pair of fuzzy socks , conceler because i'm running low , magic cards for my nephew and a monster high doll for my kid , well a few things went back on the shelves because i relized i buy ordaments every year and we now how more then we'll ever need , , i'm aggravated because of how much junk is in every dang row , i'm constaly bumping into somone , moving my cart , takes me forever ,I pull my jacket off and put it next to my purse in the top part of the carage,I finish putting the doll back , and go check out , i love my new tote have a great conversation with the check out girl about how shopping as fried my brain cuz i can't find my keys that i'm digging thu my bag for wile i'm getting my money out and then i relize there cliped onto my belt loop ... she laughs and says you need to go rest i nodded and smiled ,so smileing getting my phone out to check the time I walk out and BEEP BEEP BEEP .. a young kid about 22 says" i need you to come with me " confused I look up " Huh ? oh ok ".. I'm thinking i got everything so i'm looking into the bottem of the carrage maybe i missed something , so i move my purse , did something slip under it or behind it , nope nothing and I grab my jacket ... the socks/conceler and magic cards are under my jacket! Great! ,.. I put them in the top part of my cart , and wile trying to navagate the store & distracted by trying not to play bumper carts without thinking I put My jacket on top and when i went to get my wallet out of my bag i pushed the jacket down ontop of the items ,however I honestly had NO idea they were there my brain was so frazzled i wasent even thinking , dident i pick up conceler,socks and cards, I was just so sick of the store i was ready to leave now i'm shaking ,and being lead to a little room and the guy loudly is like WHAT DID YOU TAKE? right infront of the croud waiting at the costumers service desk , (thanks dude i'm already embarssed because you think i stole something , did you have to let this group know too?) I tell the kid , Omg it's this stuff, i dident even know i had them i thought i put them back, he just looks at me with that look like ("Ah huh sure wynonna !") i'm sure he hears that all the time , but i'm acctualy embarssed and nervous i've never done anything like this , i have no idear whats gonna happen , It was a mistake , They tell me to put everything i took (I TOOK, can't they at least give me the beifit that it was a mistake , it's not like it's shoved into my pant pockets or my purse , it's in the cart with a jacket draped over it ) up on the desk , So i do , he asks to see into my purse , i say of couse , theres nothing in there (another Uh huh sure sounds ) I calmly show them , some used make up , my little coinpurse wallet , &a little notebook i keep my list/to dos on, a little loation , caculator etc ..they tell me to sit down , and ask for my ID .. my hands are shaking , i'm closed in this little room and i'm so clostraphobic and i still am saying i dident know it was there , had all the stuff on my list ((I acctualy have the list in my pocket , I want to show it to them so they know i intended to get everything , )) , i just dident sleep last night my brain is frazzled i dident even think about it at the check out , i ask whats going on , , they ingore me , .. then the kid filling out forms asks for my Social secerity # ... i looked at him funny , he looks aggravated so i give it to him .. (personaly was he even allowed to ask for that ? i dont think thats OK ! , he has my id he dosent need my SS# and he wont tell me WHY) he never has me sign anything , look at anything , read anything ,never said we have you on tape lady .. nothing just hands me a peice of paper stating i've been caught shoplifting and it has somones name and phone # on it and he says somone will be contacting me about what my fine is , between 50 to 500$ .. they never asked to hear my side , he NEVER told me his name , I was polite , respectfull , What happend was a mistake . I dont know what he was instructed to do , but if your saying they just stole from the store you can at least show them the same amout of respect they show you at least give them YOUR NAME , so if he was horrabaly rude to me , i coulent complaine i dont know his name ! ...and i REALLY i dont like the fact he took down my SS# at all!!! can they or should they be doing that anyone know ? ... but so now all i have is this paper saying they can take civial action agenst me , and a guys name that i can call m~f ct or email if i want to reslove this sooner ... I get that if they suspect theft they have pollicys , and i did not expect to say , i didnt know it was here and them shrug and go ok see you later ... however , i'm sitting there wided eyed , nervous , going i dident know it was there i've been having a really bad day . ... now i'm sitting at home a knot in my belly because i felt like a criminal , and i'm waiting for police to come knock on my door , when i'm in walmart weekly , spending 80$+ every time ... i got 13$ when i went theu the check out today , and what was in the cart must have been around 15/20$ ... am i gonna end up with police comming to my house for 20$ at walmart , for a MISTAKE !? a honest to god mistake !!! WHY did he have to have my ss#? why did he ingore anything i asked , and why is there no like 3ed party there , this guy is there to protect walmart , but they woulent even let me speek , so how do i tell my side that its a mistake ... the only way he saw anything was to see on a camra that a girl put a jacket over things , in that case could he have said , mama theres stuff under your jacketi would have gotten back in line and payed for it !!!... or he saw it out of the front of my cart as i walked out , AGAIN say , Hey i think you forgot somthing ! ... i feel sick that somone even thinks i'd steal , that my names on some form someplace saying i shoplifted . I can't pay for a lawyer , I can't pay a 500$ fine , i can't pay 50$ I've never been aressted , or anything in my life , i'm a stay at home mom of a school aged child i nanny for my neice 2x's a week .. and now i dont ever want to go there again and i feel in Limbo , am i in alot of trubble over a mistake , do i get to tell somone what happend ?? do i call the # of this guy on the form they gave me and tell him i did not walk out with a camcorder under my shirt ! .. alright i've rambled on to much .. but i'm nervous , my hubby is working 12 hours a day 7 days a week , and is already so stresed to i havent told him anything yet so hes not worring so i need someone else to tell me ... and sorry i'f i asked the same thing more then once i'm just kinda angery , a little upset , and my feet are cold cuz i want slippers !!! (got to use humor or i'll cry )

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on November 14, 2012:

That's strange. It definitely sounds like some kind of mixup. What did the cops do when they got to Walmart that night? Did they summons you (give you a ticket with a court date?) or tell you that you would receive a court summons in the mail? You're only going to get your rights read when you are being arrested.

hinder81 on November 14, 2012:

i was caught stealing from Walmart one night, and was confused and concerned. I got taken into this little room where they looked in my purse and asked me questions. They wouldn't let me see the video,of course. Eventually, the police had came and never once put me in handcuffs.. Nor did i get my rights read to me. They didn't take me to jail that night, but about 2 weeks later cops came to my door and said i had a warrent out for my arrest. They took me to jail that day, and i got out on cash bond. Now i have a courtdate. Is this illegal???

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 30, 2012:

Hi leigh, I think all your friend did was attract attention to herself. She's not going to get banned from CVS, because CVS didn't apprehend her, or call the police. (As far as we know, anyway!)

If she was spotted by an employee and that employee is bright enough to let someone know what she saw, the camera (if available) could possibly be reviewed for suspected theft activity.

That being said, CVS won't apprehend her unless she steals again, but you can bet your last dollar they'll be watching her next time she shops.

leigh on October 30, 2012:

my friend took some mens cologne and one of the employees saw it. i dont know if the camera saw it or not...but she said if the camera shows she stole it she would be banned from CVS....she also took other things...probably about $40 worth.....i dont know what to do...any suggestions??? helppppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 11, 2012:

See if your mom can get a free consultation with an attorney. Some lawyers do that. She'll be able to learn what options she has. I can't believe they called the cops either. Tell mom I said good luck!

Melissa on October 11, 2012:

ok thanks she spoke to a lawyer that want 500.00 to defend her . I cant believe they call the police .

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on October 11, 2012:

Hi Melissa,

Have mom get a lawyer. This is ridiculous. This is a situation the store manager should have handled before it escalated into the police being called. Even though she didn't follow store protocol for returning merchandise, she didn't actually shoplift either.

Melissa on October 11, 2012:

hi mon went in to Ross and had the same shoes on instead of going to the front desk to exchanged them herself . For a diffenernt size . The guy confronter her at her car made her go back in the store . He called the cops . She was not to jail . Is has a court date . What should she plead .

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 07, 2012:

Hi Jenna, The worst that could happen at this point, is that you may end up being entered in a shoplifter database, if the store you shoplifted from subscribes to one. Your information may be shared with other subscribers. This is not the kiss of death for employment, but it's worth mentioning. Good luck!

Jenna on September 06, 2012:

Hey rockinjoe,

So, like many of the other people here, I stole. I stole deodorant and other personal items for ladies, totaling up to $26 something. Reason being, I'm looking for a job and if you smell funny and your crotch is bloody you'll never get hired. I just turned 18, and my parents have me 3 months to get out of their house and they haven't spent a penny on me since the day before my birthday. Anyway, I've been stealing food from the grocery store for 3 mo. just to stay alive. I was embarrassed to go to a homeless shelter for it. Anyway, the guy who caught me was employed by an outside LP group. A fine is coming through the mail, and I already dropped some classes at school to get together the money to cover it. They said the fine was in lieu of it going on my criminal record. So, no potential employers will be able to find out, right? The police were never called. All I wanted was a job, but God, I really messed up.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on September 02, 2012:

Before what? Prior thefts? Not likely. If you'd been getting away with it for awhile, piecing together a bunch of video from a hard drive (or worse) videotape would be a major pain in the ass and and even then there's no guarantee of the prosecutor accepting it as evidence. Besides that, there would only be partial video of you in one area of the store at a time and wouldn't be complete. It would be tough to pin a prior using prior video. If you haven't got one, find a good lawyer, right now.

lauren on September 02, 2012:

have been shoplifting from a store on and off for awhile.finally got caught and arrested with 3rd degree fraud.will other charges follow?can they go back and charge me from before?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 25, 2012:

Hi annngie,

That civil demand paper that looked incomplete is just to inform the shoplifter or parent that he/she would be receiving a civil fine in the mail. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the criminal case or going to court.

It was most-likely incomplete because the LP did not have a case number or other info for it yet. I don't know why he had the kid sign it. That's just stupid. It doesn't matter anyway. The kid shoplifted, the police were called and a report was filed. It's up to the prosecutor now to determine if there will be a court case.

Even if the minor doesn't end up getting a court date, your friends will receive a fine in the mail.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 25, 2012:

I appreciate that, bugsy. Thanks for the compliment. Next time you get a free Whopper, please be sure to send one my way,...

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 25, 2012:

Hi bugsy, I needed that laugh. Thank You. If you lie to Burger King, they send that freaky looking BK guy over your house to rough you up. Jus' saying....

bugsy on January 24, 2012:

Anyway, I like your page, have a good one all.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 24, 2012:

Hello Forbidden Fruit, Glad you like the page. Entertaining is what I try to be. After 250 comments on this blog, I believe you're the first one who has been popped at Spencers.

Spencers clearly has a shoplifting problem. They attract the early teenage-mid 20's crowd with all sorts of novelties that fit so easily inside a pocket or bag.

I'm not surprised they prosecuted you. Busy malls with busy stores (like Spencers) like when someone walks out in cuffs, it makes those who witness it think twice before trying it themselves. It's all theatrics. You took a pair of earrings. You're not a serial killer and you won't do any jail time. I wish stores would stop prosecuting for small dollar amounts. It clogs up the court systems and it ties up cops

Who told you that you were banned from all the malls in Jacksonville? I'd be very surprised to hear it was a police officer. I'm guessing one of the rent a cops? Usually, (Unless Florida has gone completely crazy) to be trespassed, you will be told not to return by an authorized agent of the store, which is usually the store manager, Or you'll receive a letter in the mail informing you that you are not to return.

Speaking of letters....

Florida is a civil demand recovery state and you may receive a fine in the mail. If Spencer's is on the ball with civil demand, you'll receive a bill for a minimum of $200. That is separate from any legal fees you incur or fines you may (or may not) receive from a judge.

So did the cops give you a court date, or did they tell you to wait for the mail?

My advice to you, is to consult with a lawyer about going to court. You can sometimes get a free consultation from those TV attorneys, so make sure to ask when you call.

The only reason I advise you to speak with an attorney, isthey will be able to tell you ALL of your options. A lawyer may get the charge lessened or possibly dropped. Once again, it's $7 we're talking about.

You'll have to make the decision to whether it's worth hiring an attorney over.

Now for that reassurance?

Take a deep breath and relax. Everything is gonna be fine. If you had gotten caught at Walmart or Kmart or Target, you wouldn't have even seen a cop.

Spencer's decided to make an example out of you. That's all. It's seriously not a big deal.

Keep me posted on this. I'm very interested in your outcome.

annngie on January 24, 2012:

hi i have a question, it doesn't regard me but it a family friend. they are minor caught shop lifting at a major store like macy. they sign papers about civic sue...but they are minor shouldn't a parent or legal guardine had sign it? the police should up and took a report and he said he charging them with petty theft. they were let go into parent custody but never went to juvi..the police said they might get paper to go to court. he never made it clear,...but on the civic sue paper there was the name of the minor,date and the security name but there were some information missing like the address, case numbers and so on...it look incomplete...anyways do u think they will have to go to court? since it their first time and they are both under the age of 16 what will happen????

bugsy on January 24, 2012:

What happens if someone goes to bk and lies and says they messed up your order so you can get a free double whopper, if you leave there property can charges be pressed? I'm not looking four a answer just a educated guess. Thanks.

ForbiddenFruit on January 24, 2012:

Hello, rockinjoe. I've been very entertained by the comments and your blog that I've read.

Anywho, I was caught stealing at Spencers Gifts last night at the mall. I live in Florida, and the thing I stole were a pair of $7 earrings that my friend very much wanted. Spencers did prosecute me, and although I had my ID, the manager called the mall security anyway, and I ended up being arrested. I didn't go to jail, but I was in the cop car for a while as the cop asked for my information. Another guard was having a conversation with me as he was browsing through my belongings. I was eventually told that I would have to set a date to go to court, and that I was banned from all the malls in Jacksonville for a year.

Even though all of that happened, nobody was harsh to me. Despite that I was handcuffed and escorted out, I thought I was treated pretty lightly, and I was actually told by one of the guards that I seemed like a pretty smart girl, and that I probably won't go to jail for second class misdemeanor/petty theft, but more than likely I would have a criminal record now. I was eventually let go and I took the bus home.

I'm not sure how to react to this. This is my first time being caught. I explained my situation to my room mates and some friends, and they said that I won't be in trouble if its just second degree misdemeanor - although I've read that the highest punishment possible for petty theft is 60 days in prison. I am 19 years old, and no one in my family knows about this yet. I just need some reassurance, if you can give me some, Joe. It'd be much appreciated ...

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 16, 2012:

Hi Ridddda, Thanks for writing, but I can't comment on court cases, as I'm not an attorney. Please try a legal board or forum. Sorry. Good luck!

Ridddda on January 16, 2012:

I was recently caught shoplifting at macys with $115 worth of items. I have a court date, and i was wondering what they are going to do at court and if there is any way to not get this on my permanent record, im only 17 years old and i dont want colleges to see it.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 15, 2012:

Hi forgot2pay, Like I said, this was handled poorly. The store was either having a bad night and you just happened to be there at the wrong time, or they have issues and could do with a dose of retaining.

forgot2pay on January 14, 2012:


Thank you for your reply, I asked the LP while outside during that conversation, isn't it their job to ask me or look in the cart? and I forgot to mention, the CS mgr was in the check stand right behind where this took place, not 3 ft away. Why did they not say to the cashier, or me, there is an item in your cart that hasn't been checked?

I went to another Whole Foods and had no problems and while at the check stand I made certain to check thoroughly and asked the cashier and the courtesy clerk to look, they looked at me like no problem....

I won't be returning to the WF where this occurred and I will be writing the corporate office about what transpired.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 14, 2012:

Hi forgot2pay, I think what you experienced is an example of poor customer service and Whole Foods should apologize for the way it was handled.

Now, that being said, it may have been difficult for the LP to determine your intentions when he saw you place the beer underneath the cart along with the water. BUT, the way to handle that would have been for the LP to call the cashier (or someone up front) and say something like, "Don't forget to charge the customer for the beer." It would have been over and done with and you would have never known you were a suspect. Also, I've always had a problem with cashiers who take the word of the customer on items underneath the cart. I know it's tough to get a good look sometimes and I realize (especially when it's busy) that it's just easier to ask the customer, but lots of items leave the store for free that way.

I think you should send a letter or write an email to Whole Foods corporate and tell them of your poor customer service experience.

Many corporate LP and operational executives visit this page on a daily basis. They would never comment on anything written here, but they do take note of situations such as yours.

I think at the least you'll get an apology and at the most get a gift card or some kind of discount for your trouble. It won't make up for the embarrassment they put you through, but it's something-especially if you still plan on doing business with them.

forgot2pay on January 14, 2012:

hi Rockinjow

I had an incident at a whole foods recently, I had 4 gallons of water and beer on the bottom of the cart, I unloaded all the top items, told the cashier about the 4 gallon refills and forgot about the beer, I made my purchase and really had no idea anything was not rung up, I got into the parking lot LP stopped me, grabbed the beer from out of the basket, and said, "If you want this it will be at customer svc, I told him I forgot to pay for it, and of course would pay, then he said, "you didn't even mention it" at that point I said, "I don't like your accusation, and told him I would not be coming back in, he then told me, "If I thought you intentionally did this I would have done things differently", so he went back into the store, I went to my car, calmly loaded my items and left.

what I worry about now is I shop whole foods twice a week, I don't have to go to that location, but will they have my pic from surveillance cameras with LP in all area stores? I did not sign anything, no Trespassing paperwork was presented, what do you think?

Jessy on January 14, 2012:

well , after what they did to me i promised myself never even spend a penny at any Macy's store , but it's just a question i might need to know , thanks again

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 13, 2012:

Hi elena,

Thanks for your question. That would depend on the newspaper and how they run things, what space is available and how slow a news day it is.

Some newspapers have those Police Log sections where the newspapers list crimes that have occurred over the past couple of days or so. You usually see the shoplifting stories in that section. You'll only see the shopliftings where the police have been involved. The stores do not directly send these stories to the paper. They get them from the police station or the courthouse.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 13, 2012:

Hi Jessy,

In most states you are an at will employee. Meaning a store can fire you for any reason at any time (with the exception of age, race, religion, etc.) You also have the option of quitting at anytime, for any reason. That's the beautiful part of retail.

The answer to your question is yes. Even though you are working for someone else, if Macy's management doesn't want you working in their store, they can either ask you to leave, or or make it known to your boss that they don't want you in the store. There's nothing illegal about it.

As far as shopping at the store, unless the manager has officially trespassed you (usually by letter, or sometimes just in the presence of local police, (depending on where you live), you can legally shop there. Macy's still wants your money. Why you'd want to give them your money (after what you've been through) kind of surprises me, though.

Good luck!

elena on January 12, 2012:

If you shoplift are you going to be in the newspaper no matter what?

Jessy on January 12, 2012:

Hi Joe ,thank u for being helpful and to make some time to answer all questions , my case here is little different i've been employed at macy's ,a problem happened between me and one of the associates , and i think they are backing her up for reasons i know but i cant' go in details .. one day the LP called me and they said you need to tell us what u did .. i wasn't comfortable and they made me feel like i did a crime or something , and then i got terminated for a time keeping issue that i stayed more than two times on the floor while i was taking commission .. later i worked with some other brand excutive but i had to work some hours in the same store the day after they said to my excutive that they don't want me to be in that store working as a vendor .. now my question is why do they want that ? is it allowed for them to prevent me from working in the store though i'm employed by another company ? and finally am i allwed as a customer to visit this store or they make a problem out of it ?! .. thank you very much

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 12, 2012:

Hi VeryUpset, I don't know if Macy's has cameras in their LP offices, or not. That's something they're not going to make public and I would bet it would depend on the store.

Do you know if you were brought to the actual LP office, or was it perhaps another room? Something bigger since you had the stroller with you? In the past, if the shoplifter had a large amount of merchandise, (or kids) I would take them to the break room, or HR office, or someplace larger and not as scary for the kids.

A friend of mine (whom I worked with at Kmart) installed a camera in his office, himself. This would cut down on any claims of sexual/racial harassment or being accused of adding more items to the shoplifter's total, etc. It would also help out in cases such as yours. It was not mandatory. This is something your lawyer can probably find out if you plan on pleading down your case and not going to trial.

More importantly, you should ask your lawyer to find out if the LP who made the stop was certified to make what are known as fitting room stops.

A fitting room stop is basically what happened to you. The LP saw no concealment, but "assumed" that you had stolen the merchandise you brought into the fitting room and apprehended you. At Kmart, very few LP were even allowed to make fitting room stops. In fact, my LP regional manager for the east coast was the only one certified to perform such stops-and she couldn't find her ass with both hands and a GPS. Just because someone leaves the fitting room without merchandise, doesn't mean they concealed it. Definitely find out this information.

Also, was there a witness of the same sex with you present for the stop and during the entire process? (At least until the cops got there?) That's also important.

A witness (in your case, a woman) must be present for the whole process. If the LP who stopped you was a female, they can use either sex as a witness (even another LP)

Remember, that witness cannot leave the office to check prices or do her regular job and come back for a few minutes and leave again. The witness must be present for the whole deal.

If there is no camera in the LP office (and for some reason they are lying about the clothes being found in a bag), I'm afraid, you're going to have a difficult time proving otherwise.

VeryUpset on January 11, 2012:

I forgot to mention that yes I was arrested.

VeryUpset on January 11, 2012:

Thanks Joe for quick reply. I put the merchandise in the stroller in the fitting room. So, there is no video which could prove that merchandise was in the stroller.

I understand that Macy's has camera but I wanted to know if LP back room, where they took me has any cameras which could show that merchandize came out from the stroller but not from diaper bag. So, I Can prove that merchandise was indeed in the stroller and not in diaper bag. I already have consulted attorney and he mentioned that it would be easy to negotiate with prosecutor if merchandise was in the stroller as we can tell him that it was mistake but if it was in diaper bag then it clearly shows the intent of shoplifting.

Thanks for all your help

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 11, 2012:

Hi VeryUpset, Many parents use a stroller to assist them as they shop. Placing store merchandise underneath the stroller isn't suspicious, but stuffing a diaper bag is. It really doesn't matter in this case. If you left the store with unpaid for Macy's merchandise, you've shoplifted. Yes, Macy's has cameras, but there's no way they are going to let you see any evidence they may or may not have.

Were you arrested, or did they let you go? If the police were involved, they most likely saw the tape and based their decision to arrest on it.

If you feel that you're innocent and Macy's made a mistake,call an attorney and get the ball rolling.

Good luck.

VeryUpset on January 11, 2012:

Hey Joe, Me, my husband and my 2 boys went macys for shopping. I was looking for the kids clothing and my husband was in the men section. I liked few stuff and i kept all the merchandise under the stroller. I was waiting for my husband to come and show those merchandise before i buy. when he came my son starting crying for food. We were going out to pick a snack from the car. All of a sudden LP off stopped us. They took us in the bck room. I told them what happened. We were coming back , but they didn't belive. Now they are saying merchandise was in the diaper bag. I m 100% sure it was underneath the stroller and diaper bag was hanging out. Is there is any way to prove that all the merchandise was under the stroller not in the diaper bag? Does LP back room has video cameras?

Please reply ASAP.


Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 07, 2012:

Hi worriedgirl,

I don't know anything about the law in the UK, unfortunately. The best I can do is to take a guess and say that they were trying to scare you with mention of the police. They did get their merchandise back, they confirmed your identity with your dad (and now probably have your address and phone number) so I think they'll be ok with your paying the fine. You may want to check with an attorney, just to be on the safe side.


worriedgirl on January 07, 2012:

I'm 17 and was in a chain beauty store in the uk today and I was apprehended for taking some items. I panicked and told them that I was asked to do it by someone else but they didnt follow that up. They took items which were my property which they claimed were theirs.The only id I had with me was a photo pass for my college with my name and school phone no. They let me go after returning my i.d. but when they spoke earlier they said a fine would be sent and discussed even going to the police and a record.

If they let me go and didn't insist on formal id (they photocopied my school id) they just took my address and rang my dad to confirm my identity. what do you think will happen?


Menage on January 06, 2012:

haha thanks very much!! either way i dont think i will do it again it feels nerveracking i cant take it im too chicken for it. but i feel way better now.

regards.. thanks for your time

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 06, 2012:

Hi Menage,

Little kids walk out with toys all the time, whether the parents are aware of it, or not. Walmart is not going to spend any time trying to piece together a toy theft and link it together with a return. Trust me on that one. It's not worth it. It takes too much time and there are more important things for them to concentrate on.

That being said, If someone had wanted to make your life miserable that evening, they could have technically gotten you for shoplifting. It's something I would never get involved with, but there are people out there who would stop you.

You're all set....

Menage on January 06, 2012:

Hi there, I googled for the first time ever, shoplifting walmart.. well a few days ago i had my daughter playing with a broken toy in walmart, it actually had a paper that switch is not working well i did all my shopping and then at the time of paying she refused big time to give it back.. i thought itrs broken will possibly go to the garbage and i kept it. the cashier didnt ask for it..since it was out of the box and i guess it looked used. well i think i felt exactly the same as any other shop lifter, cross the doors waiting for somebody to stop me and nobody did so i felt releived. But yesterday i noticed 2 missed calls and when i called back it replied the automatic machine from Walmart and the location where i went that day.. i dont know if this is a coincidence but that day before entering the store i did some merchandise return and provided my phone number.. now im super worried, can they do that.. look at their cameras, figure it out, link it with my return and then get my phone number from there?? And if they are calling for that reason, what is next?? thats why i was reading this article... whats next after shoplifting in walmart, but what after leaving the store and not beight caugh apparently... help im paranoid

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on January 02, 2012:

Hi WhatDoYouKnowReal, First of all, Happy New Year. Secondly, I was only having some fun with you about the hurt feelings and I do respect your opinion. We just happen to disagree on the subject.

After reading your first comment, I thought you might be LP,(or former LP) but when you spelled everything correctly and used proper grammar, the thought quickly left my mind.

You are correct. I've seen some of those "How to Shoplift" websites. Some of them go into great detail about how to steal, when to steal, how to avoid detection, etc. Most of what I read on these sites was inaccurate. If someone believes something they read on the internet (and I include my articles here) they should check it out before taking it as the truth.

I wrote it as an informational piece. The intent was not to teach people how to shoplift, but how to avoid the rogue LP who had his/her own agenda on how to catch shoplifters. Those who skirt the rules just to show a dollar amount on that form on the clipboard hanging on the wall in the security office. (Being former LP, I know you know the feeling of calling in a blank shoplifter total at the end of the week.) I know shoplifters I would rather sit down to dinner with, instead of some loss prevention people I've worked with in the past.

This article is 4 years old. I went a long time without checking it and one day I logged on to Hubpages and noticed numerous comments and questions from people with real problems. I decided that I wanted to help and separate the lp facts from the lp fiction. This small article has turned out to be a pretty decent small business and will hopefully become lucrative someday.

I encourage no one to shoplift. It's a stupid, idiotic (and sometimes dangerous) thing to do. So is speeding, going through red lights, not coming to a complete stop at intersections, illegal gambling and prostitution. It doesn't mean it's going to stop, though.

I sincerely appreciate your stopping by and letting your thoughts be known. You are always welcome to come here and express your opinion. Thanks again!


WhatDoYouKnowReal on December 30, 2011:

Joe, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. I respect guys like you. (LP) Loss Prevention is a crap job. It pays little, most stores dont cut enough hours to the LP departments and you get to sit in a small office monitoring cameras all day watching shoplifters walk out of the store with merchandise because the stores have implied five or six ridiculous rules that you have to follow in order to capture a shoplift.

You've made plenty of solid points on your website and like I've said before, I applaud you for that. Most importantly, you've pointed out that a lot of stores hire pimple-faced teenagers right out of high school for these LP jobs. Its disgusting. And let me tell you, I know. I've worked with many. They sit in the back office talking about how they'll "shoot a shoplifter" in the face and blah blah blah. I always invite them to join the Armed Forces and take a ride to Iraq or Afghanistan to go shoot a Taliban member in the face. And it always seems to quit them down.

My main point for my comment was not to disrespect you, pick at you or berate your website. I think what you have going here is, for the most part, a good thing. But it also entails a lot of information of how easy it is to really shoplift. Having worked LP myself, it find it frustrating that these websites are out there on the internet. It gives a lot of the youngsters a good idea of how to do it and how easy it is and how little the consequences are. And by posting these comments myself, I'm probably making myself out to be quite the hypocrite. But what other vehicle do I have to communicate with you?

With all that said, I hope that when information is posted it's a bit more scrutinized and carefully thought-out before the "submit" button is clicked.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 30, 2011:

Hi WhatDoYouKnowReal...Awwww, you didn't have to go and hurt my feelings, now, did you?

I agree with most of your comment. I don't know where you see me encourage (or worse), tell someone how to go about shoplifting, though. If you can find it, please point it out.

I have no love for shoplifters. My job was to catch them. I needed shoplifters to keep employed. Shoplifters have existed hundreds of years before you and I and will live on for hundreds more after we are both dead.

I don't encourage people to shoplift. I hate paying higher prices for being honest, just as you do.

If you want to blame someone for the high theft in the chains, point your finger at the stores. They have the resources to see there is adequate LP in the store, a great camera system and employees staffed AND TRAINED) in high theft areas, such as the fitting rooms. Excellent customer service is the #1 theft deterrent. (Ask Lowes)

I bet if you were to walk into a Kmart right now, you'd hardly find anyone on the sales floor to help you (or deter you from stealing) and I bet the fitting room doors would be unlocked and unattended. Same thing with their electronics department. (The only reason I use Kmart as an example, is, I worked there for a number of years-so I know how they conduct their business.)

If the chains put their money back into the stores and their people, you'd see shrink figures drop and profits rise. You also wouldn't see Kmart closing stores (now in the hundreds) since 2003.

People read my stuff AFTER they shoplift. There is no one "on the fence" about shoplifting. You either steal, or you don't. Me pushing people over to the darkside is laughable, but I found it entertaining, so thanks again for your post.

WhatDoYouKnowReal on December 29, 2011:

This website not only gives good insight on how to become a successful shoplifter but it also encourages people that are sitting on the fence about it to really see how easy it is to shoplift and get away with it.

Shoplifting is a continuing growing problem. Its a multi-billion dollar industry and its one of the leading problems as to why a lot of businesses charge so much for their product.

Nothing good comes from shoplifting. You couldn't possibly steal enough merchadise to change your life for the better,long-term. If you're that hard up for cash and you absolutely really need that piece of merchandise from your favorite store that you'd go as far as stealing it, maybe you need a reality check on your priorities.

Yes, stealing from department stores is easy. And I'm sure if you ask RockinJoe to give you a step by step procedure on how to do it, he just might. He seems like a friendly guy, out to help, and trying to do people that had a lapse in judgement a second chance by imploring some information that they may not be aware of. For that, I applaud.

But to sit here and explain how Loss Prevention has their hands tied on most shoplift cases and explaining that all you have to do is take merchandise into the restroom or fitting room, and you'll walk out of the store home free, is nothing to oogle over. Truth is? Jobs are scarce out there. This we know. More people are venturing out looking for jobs to pay the bills. That means more laid off cops, military combat veterans, sheriff deputies and other public service people are scooping up these Loss Prevention jobs.

If you're a shoplifter or you're trying to become one some of these LP detectives will spot you the moment you step into the store. And your little bathroom trick or your fitting room idea will be already booted because those things will have already been covered as you walk your shoplifting self into the store.

I'm not big on corporations or CEO's making billions while the little people suffer. I'm not a gun loving republican or a pot smoking liberal. For the most part, I'm for the people, equality and respect. But I won't put up with shoplifters. Its a dishonest trade, a dark path to travel down and will lead to nothing in good interest. If you're in it for the thrill, go skydiving for a thrill. Or go mountain climbing. Something productive that doesn't involve harming others. If you're addicted to stealing, seek help. Today. If you're stealing just because you want stuff you can't afford, get a job like all the honest folks in the world and buy it.

That's all I've got.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 27, 2011:

Hi Anonymous, It depends on the store. If you steal a $20 item at Kmart, you're taking a ride. There is no negotiation with the store at this point, because if you turn in a report with a $20 shoplifting (or more) attached to it and you did not prosecute, you have a lot of explaining to do. I also worked at a supermarket chain once, who prosecuted for $10 and up.

A cop picking up a shoplifter for me at Kmart, told me about a store at a local mall. (It sold nothing but posters) that would prosecute for any amount. (Their lowest priced item was .99 cents.) The police hated going there.

Call your lawyer and ask about getting the charge removed from your permanent record. Your state or local attorney general's office would have information on this as well. You have to wait a certain amount of time before you can get it removed. (approximately a year) Good luck!

Anonymous on December 27, 2011:

Thanks rockinjoe. Is there a certain dollar amount that makes it pretty much mandatory to call the police? It's driving me crazy wondering if I could have avoided the police if I only had ID with me, now this is on my record and I'm about to graduate college.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 26, 2011:

Hi Anonymous, It's common that when a shoplifter has no ID, the police are called. He probably had no choice. You could easily give the LP fake information and you would never receive your civil demand letter. I never called the police unless I absolutely had to. If someone had no ID, I would usually (depending on the dollar amount of the merchandise) let the shoplifter call someone to bring their ID in. If they couldn't locate anyone, or they were uncooperative, the police would have to be called. A store detective doesn't care about getting you to admit guilt. If they have enough evidence to stop you, they know you're guilty.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 26, 2011:

Thanks, htodd. I sincerely appreciate the compliment.

Anonymous on December 25, 2011:

I was caught shoplifting at a Shopko and taken into the office. The LP said if I cooperated he might not call the police. I gave him my name but did not have any ID with me, at that time he called the police. My question is, if I had ID with me would he still have called the police or is this a common tactic to get you admit guilt by cooperating?

htodd from United States on December 24, 2011:

This is really interesting ...Thanks a lot for putting points

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 21, 2011:

Sad&worrief. You're welcome. Good luck :)

Sad&worrief on December 21, 2011:

Thanks rockinjoe. Yes i still work there but only on weekends though. No one called me and my coworker didnt mention anything to me.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 21, 2011:

Hey everyone, please feel free to check out my latest shoplifting articles.



And of course, the website:


Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 21, 2011:

Hey Sad&worried...I would chill out. These guys are in way more trouble than you. They stopped you not knowing what you did or didn't have, they let you go and they went through your bag. Unless WM has drastically changed their policy on apprehending shoplifters (which I doubt) you're ok.

Are you still working there? Have they (or anyone else) mentioned this incident? My guess is no. Once again, these guys aren't cops-in fact, they're so far from cops it's not even funny. I'd let it go.

Sad&worried on December 20, 2011:

Can they still send me a mail to ask me to pay a fine even if they did not take me to the room or get any of my information? They did not ask me to sign anything? They took the brush and let me go as if nothing happened and it was dark outside the store when they approached me. I can barely see their faces and when they asked me to show them whats inside my purse, it was hard to see whats inside since it was kind of dark. There wasnt enough lighting. Can they still reopen and get me in trouble with what happened? Like search me again even if theyve already taken the brush back?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 19, 2011:

Hi Shannon...Some stores have handcuff policies in place, but their personnel must be trained to use them properly. (This is usually done as a computer based training or CBT program within the store.)

I think all shoplifters should be handcuffed upon apprehension. Shoplifters are unpredictable and I've gotten into more than a couple of fistfights with shoplifters who bugged out upon being caught.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 19, 2011:

Hi Sad&worried-Officially, you have shoplifted. Whether or not the makeup you had purchased previously, had a brush or not, the right thing to do is to return the item to the desk and do an even exchange. (Why didn't they allow you a return) Even though it was just a brush, WM can do longer sell the cosmetic as a complete item. It concerns me that Walmart is stopping people without following through and letting people go on the sidewalk. That's risky for them-and you as an employee or customer.

As far as your job, I have no idea what will happen here. True, you messed up by stealing from your store, but they messed up by letting you go when they approached you.

Let me know what happens and good luck!

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 19, 2011:

Hi asdjkl. It's highly doubtful they would share your photo with other stores in the chain. It's not like you were a big time booster who had been cleaning them out at every opportunity. At the most, your name and address are in a database, along with the info you provided to the store. That would be used by the store only (or chain) to identify you if you were stopped again. Your photo however would not be used.

Shannon on December 18, 2011:

I was caught shoplifting at kohls. A female LP approached me outside, and handcuffed me. Is this proper procedure? I also have to pay a find and am banned for a year?

Sad&worried on December 18, 2011:

I am not sure if they know that i currently work there since i covered my shirt with a jacket when i get off work. I feel ao terrible for taking that one brush. I hope they will give me another chance.

Sad&worried on December 18, 2011:

I work at walmart. When i got off work, i took my purse and my lunch bag from my locker. I went to the bakery where my friend works and i gave here money for her bus fare since she asked me if she can borrow $10. I was carrying a pair of gloves while heading to the bakery. I realized i forgot my lip balm in one of the drawers. Since my friend couldnt find it i stepped inside to find and get it. Afterwards, i decided not to get the gloves so i left it in one of the bakery shleves. I went to the cosmetic section, i purchased an eyeshadow a week before and didnt noticed until yesterday that i am missing a tiny brush so i decided to open one of the boxes took one brush and slip it into the bag. Then i continued to go shopping buying a bday card and some chocolates. After i paid, i went outside the store and ready to go when two associates stopped me. They identified themselves as LPs then they told me they saw me take stuff. They asked me to open my bag to see if i took the gloves and they didnt find anything. They asked to see the bag and found the brush. They asked for it and handed it to them and they asked if i took any cosmetics and i said no. Then they said " we just want our stuff back" and then we parted ways. I went into my car and feeling terrible i shouldnt have taken that brush but the one i bought there has no brush and they wont allow me to return it. I started driving and noticed that they were not there outside anymore. They didnt really say anything after i said no. They just took the brush and said ok. Should i be worried? They didnt ask for my identification or anything.

asdjkl on December 17, 2011:

thanks for your quick reply.

also cotton on is a chainstore, so will they send the picture to every single cotton on store and ban me from entering it? i signed the document without looking at it because i really wanted to leave quickly and so i didnt have a chance to read it properly.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 17, 2011:

Hi guillermo. You're fine. Kmart shouldn't have stopped you without taking you back in. That's a Kmart no no. They can't do anything. You're safe.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 17, 2011:

Hi asdjkl. I'm not quite familiar with the laws and policies in Malaysia, but it seems pretty extreme, compared to what would happen in the US. I'd be very surprised to see your photo posted. We used to take photos in one store I worked for, but they were placed in an album and kept in the LP office.

guillermo on December 17, 2011:

During lunch one day I went walking to K-Mart and I was being stupid and decided to rip candy bags and stuff the candy in my pockets. It wasn't easy because I had to walk around the store and ripp the bags to steal the candy. Me being dumb left the bags just laying there in random places. Then as i was leaving I made it out of the store but this lady call me and told me to come back inside. She told me that I had candy and that she wanted me to tell her where I putted them. I was NERVOUS and I had to lie. I told her I put them back in the place. Then she let me go. I know I still stole from there but will I get caught? Will the camaras see them or will they play them to see me and to track me? I went out the store walking so the license plate doens't matter. PLEASE HELP!

asdjkl on December 17, 2011:

a few days ago i stole a shirt from cotton on and on my out i was caught and made to pay 3 times the amount of the shirt. the shop then took my id and wrote out all the details and made me sign a document. they later took a picture of me, then let me go without calling the cops. i was wondering whats going to happen next? will they print out my picture and post it in the store or something??

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 13, 2011:

Hi LEILADON, Sounds like you got off pretty easy as far as the legal part of your dilemma. It's obviously really bothering you. I'm not an attorney or a doctor, but if I were you I'd speak to a doctor about this. Why beat yourself up over it when you can do something about it?

Good luck.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 13, 2011:

I wanted to take a second and thank the good people at The Huffington Post for linking two of my shoplifting articles from Hubpages on their site, I'm honored.


LEILADON on December 12, 2011:


I did something really stupid stole from asda UK WALMART and I got caught....the police got called and i received a warning letter. Two month ago and I cannot move on, Im 19 and i feel soooooooooooooooo ashamed. I keep beating myslef about it. I wrote two hearltfelt apology letters the lady was considering but she later changed her mind. I am planning on writing another apology letter two years later to ASDA and probably email the CEO am I wasting my time? Should I just move on. I never ever stolen before and I received counselling to ensure it won't happen again. But I fear for myself becuase I cant stop crying or thinking about. Its about to get a whole lot worse because.....im going home to face the parents who live next door to a 24hr ASDA. HELP ME ANYONE

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 12, 2011:

Hi Snowbunny.....Thanks for your comment:)

snowwybunny on December 11, 2011:

Twice I walked out of a bookstore without paying with books in my bag by accident.

The next day, I just went back to pay for it and bought another book on top of that!

opps on December 06, 2011:

Walmart. It was only 30 dollars. But no Lp left. When the police came a worker came in there to socialize wit the Lps then when she seen they were busy.. she continued to stay and returned when my parents came... As well as another guy

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 06, 2011:

Hi opps, thanks for your comment. As far as your question, stores usually have a policy where a witness is required in the LP office. The witness should be of the same sex as the shoplifter. The witness, however can use a witness of another sex if the LP is the same sex as the shoplifter.

I've been in situations, where the apprehension is taking longer than necessary and witnesses have to return to the sales floor to help a customer. They have to be replaced with another witness, immediately.

People are always in and out during an apprehension. The LP might require price checks, or other information that he/she can't get on their own. It's usually a circus in the LP office (especially for a large amount of merchandise)

I'm curious. What store were you at when apprehended?

opps on December 06, 2011:

Is there s policy on who comes to the back while u are filling out papers? Because a worker came back talkin abou a football game to the Lp and wa

s being nosey. Then she left and returned when my parents came in just to hear what my mom wud say . Not to mention some random guy came n and stood there IDK if he was wit LP or not. And the lady that priced the items came in as well and peeked at me

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 05, 2011:

Hi this is bs, What bothers me most about your story, is that you're not accepting any responsibility for what you did. You justify your crime by blaming Walmart for cutting your hours and then you take "out of box merchandise" like it's acceptable to do that.

Out of package DVDs, get returned to the vendor for credit. It doesn't mean they are "free" once they are out of the package. It's shoplifting. In fact, it's embezzlement. You got off lucky. The jerk in the suit could have had you arrested. Walmart did not need your parents present to question you. Did your parents fill out your application for you? Did they sit in on your job interview? Did they punch in for you everyday? I highly doubt it. You took the job, you dealt with the responsibilities of the job and you ruined it all on your own. You don't realize how fortunate you are. It's too bad you weren't arrested. You don't seem to have learned anything from your experience.

this is bs on December 05, 2011:

i worked for Walmart for 6 months. they fired me on friday, cuz they caught me stealing dvds. i admit that i stole dvds but i only took ones that were open already. they can't sell the ones outside the package. this is bullshit. they cut my hours and i stole dvds to make up for that. they got some guy from corprate to talk to me. he was ajerk. i admited to stealing 3 dvds and he made me write it down. i stole way more then that. that's all they got me for. just 3. wm did not call the cops. they just fired me. i have 2 questions. can wm fire me for stealing if the items aren't 4 sale? and can they talk to me without calling my parents? i'm 17. if they did not call my parents i can't see how they can acuse me.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 03, 2011:

Hi FriendlyShadow, Thanks for your opinion. I'll let your comment speak for itself.

FriendlyShadow on December 03, 2011:

"Why running away is not a good idea. You’ll get caught". Idiotic propaganda. Maliciously bad advice.

You can't and shouldn't always run. But it is a damn fine option which is valid and doable in many cases. Cops train to chase down an average 18-30yr old and often can't and AP/LP is nothing. If you can run a few miles you are golden. I remember my hometown cops couldn't run more than a few blocks when I was a kid. Not usually the case, but cops run a spectrum from will smith build to chris farley build.

You can run, you can hide, if you have a opening run for freedom.

scared on December 01, 2011:

Thank you so much.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on December 01, 2011:

Hi Scared, If you were on camera,left the store with an item and then concealed it after you left the store and the detective stopped you without taking further action, she is still at fault.

Don't get me wrong. You still shoplifted, but she did not follow company policy. When Sears stops a shoplifter, they are required to have a witness at the door watching the procedure and in the event of a mistake (finding you with no merchandise) they are supposed to apologize and offer up the name of their district manager, his/her contact info and their name. This wasn't done.

I don't know if she called in the incident to her superiors, but from the way you described the situation, it's doubtful.

I wouldn't worry about it, but then again, I'm speaking from past experiences I've dealt with and every case is different.

It sounds to me, like this detective took a chance and then realized that she didn't have any evidence and ran back inside. She shouldn't be catching shoplifters. LP is not supposed to take chances.

If it makes you feel better, discuss it with a lawyer.

scared on December 01, 2011:

Thank you so much for anwering my question.

scared on December 01, 2011:

Hi its me again. what if im on their camera? when i actually conseal the item after i left. and what if she's got my plate number aswell. it has been eight days now but im still scared.what is the possibility of that happening? now i dont want the lady to loss her job or some thing happen to her because of what had happened.ive checked if there is any arrest warrent issued for me, but so far there is none. would they still go after me tho?

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on November 30, 2011:

Hi Scared-This happened at Sears? Talk to an attorney first, but I would take them to court for stopping me and then not being able to produce the item, or any evidence that I stole something. The store detective made what is called a "bad stop" or a "discontinued detention" as Sears calls it. She handled it wrong, whether you took merchandise or not.

They won't bother you about this. They're more scared of you right now.

scared on November 30, 2011:

oh and the store was sears.

scared on November 29, 2011:

hi i need help as i am confused for what's going to happen. i live in colorado and 6 days ago i shoplifted from a store and i walked out. I had a feeling that's some one was watching me i was so STUPID.right after i walked out a lady followed me and stopped me she said where's my stuff? where's my stuff? at first i was kinda confused of what she was talking about so i go what are you talking about? cuz i totally forgot about the item i stole she kept on asking where did you put it? so i said calmly you can search me if you want, that's when she runned inside the store saying i will get your licence. i left the store and went home the item was worth $10 i think or may be 15 but my question is why did she stop me and didnt even take me inside? does that happen often? why sisnt she say that she's the store security cuz i honestly thought that she was a customer.so i dont kknow what to do will she inform the police to come get me? i kinda highly doubt she's got my licence tho cuz she wasnt around my car. im still freaking out i cant sleep,eat,work...im already being punished for what ive done. call me CRAZY but shoplifting is not fun its the stupidest thing to do.

Joseph Addams (author) from Standing right behind you! on November 29, 2011:

Thank you all for writing. I apologize that I haven't been around, but internet problems have kept me from being online much. Hopefully they're all fixed.

Let's get to these questions.

Sabree- I doubt you still need my help, but it sounds to me like you were charged without being arrested. In other words, the cops gave you a court date (or a summons to appear in court) It saved you from going to the police station and being charged, but it's pretty much the same thing without the handcuffing, the jail and all that other crap. It may stay on your record, but do call your prosecutor's office and ask about expunging your charge. If you stay out of trouble, some US states allow you to remove the charge from your record like it never happened. Good luck!

Hi holycrapman-Sorry for the delay. That's quite a story. You didn't say where this took place, but if the LP saw you conceal in person, he can make a statement to police. It's better if they have you on tape, but if he saw you do it and has backing evidence, (empty packages, for example), they'll take a sworn statement. Since you got away and haven't seen any police yet, they may be letting it go. I don't have a good answer for you. It's very possible the police would investigate this. Good luck.

Charlie-I don't know if you're trolling me, or not, but you know right from wrong. If you're having a problem with bullies, tell an adult now. Good luck!

Hey Coolbeans. I don't know if you're a minor or an adult, or if you have any previous record, I don't even know where you live so it's difficult to even make a guess about what your outcome may be. If you haven't already, talk to a lawyer ASAP. I would highly discourage you from going to court without an attorney.

Hello GrammarNazi-Thank you for stopping by my highly successful hub. I see from your IP address that you're from the UK. Therefore, you obviously have a grasp on the English language. Congratulations. Given the choice, I'd rather have straight, white teeth.

Coolbeanss on November 26, 2011:

Today I stole A case for an ipod touch at Claires...My friend was with me and she stole A lot more.When we were about to walk out of the store the lady asked us to come to the back they called the cops and are prosecuting.What do you think i will get?

lavenderbird on November 20, 2011:

charlie may, How old are you? You need to tell an adult about what is going on and you really need to find a new group of friends. Those are not friends. Something really bad is going to happen one day and they will not be there for you, infact they will be the ones who caused it!

charlie may on November 04, 2011:

I do shoplifting all the time. My friends all ways dare me too other wise they hurt me. i know its wrong but what should i do. i hat being teased. Can someone out there help me?


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