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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Retail Theft Law

     The laws vary in different states, but in most places security personnel may legally stop a shoplifting suspect once he leaves what is known as the paying area. The law provides that a retail store or its employees has the right to detain a suspected shoplifter. Detaining a person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time is not an arrest and the store will not be liable to the person detained. However, the retailer must notify the local police department as soon as possible. [That is if the retailer wants to press charges. Otherwise, the shoplifter can be detained then released after the stolen merchandise is recovered and/or the shoplifter pays for the item or items.]

     In most states it is considered retail theft to conceal goods on one's person while still inside the store. The shoplifter does not have to walk past the cash register to be eligible for apprehension. In some states it is also a crime to conceal an item in one department then move to another department within the same store….[The concealment creates a presumption of guilt and probable cause for detention.]

Mauro V. Corvasce and Joseph R. Paglino, Modus Operandi, 1995 

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