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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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 of the store. These laws provide that a retail store or its employees have the right to detain suspected shoplifters. Detaining a person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time is not considered an arrest, and the store will not be liable to the person detained. However, retailers must notify their local police departments 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. The concealment itself creates a presumption of theft and probable cause for detention.

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