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Related to Shoplifting: shoplifting prevention


Theft of merchandise from a store or business establishment.

Although the crime of shoplifting may be prosecuted under general Larceny statutes, most jurisdictions have established a specific category for shoplifting. Statutes vary widely, but generally the elements of shoplifting are (1) willfully taking possession of or concealing unpurchased goods that are offered for sale (2) with the intention of converting the merchandise to the taker's personal use without paying the purchase price. Possession or concealment of goods typically encompasses actions both on and outside the premises.

Concealment is generally understood in terms of common usage. Therefore, covering an object to keep it from sight constitutes concealment, as would other methods of hiding an object from a shop owner. A shopper's actions and demeanor in the store, her lack of money to pay for merchandise, and the placement of an object out of a retailer's direct view are all examples of Circumstantial Evidence that may establish intent.

Shoplifting costs businesses billions of dollars every year. To enable store owners to recoup some of their losses, most states have enacted civil recovery or civil demand statutes. These laws enable retailers to seek restitution from shoplifters. Criminal prosecution is not a prerequisite to a civil demand request. Typically, a representative of or attorney for a victimized business demands a statutorily set compensation in a letter to the offender. If an offender does not respond favorably to the civil demand letter, the retailer may bring an action in Small Claims Court or another appropriate forum.

To forestall any allegations of coercion, many companies initiate civil recovery proceedings only after the shoplifter has been released from the store's custody. It is a criminal offense to threaten prosecution if a civil demand is not paid. Moreover, if a store accuses a customer of shoplifting and the individual is acquitted or if a store makes an erroneous detention, the store may face claims of False Imprisonment, Extortion, Defamation, or intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Further readings

Sennewald, Charles A., and John H. Christman. 1992. Shoplifting. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Ask a Lawyer


Country: United States of America
State: Florida

caught shoplifting at sears 12/05/05, first time, 20yearsold, have no criminal record.


Make sure you get counsel (or at least the public defender) to try to keep this off your record eventually--jail time is probably not likely if your record is very clear now. But having that arrest and/or a conviction on your record will make job-hunting etc. more difficult. Often this could be negotiated down to some kind of court supervision etc
References in periodicals archive ?
Across the whole of the UK, 340,420 shoplifting offences were recorded by police in the 12 months from March last year to February this year.
In an attempt to tackle the volume of crime, anyone arrested for shoplifting is, where possible, given bail conditions which ban them from returning to the area where they were arrested.
Lincoln emerged as the nation's capital of shoplifting with the equivalent of one in every 61 people from the area committing the crime in the year to June 2015.
Nationwide, a combined 815 children aged 17 or under were charged with shoplifting.
He said: "As well as the conventional professional shoplifting of expensive fashion, alcohol, perfume and electricals, retailers in Scotland have seen an increase in the losses of staple lines like meat, frozen products, nappies and cheese - reflecting the pressure on household budgets.
A man with short hair and a blue jacket is wanted in connection with shoplifting at a Spar store in Deeside on June 8.
To put it online is highly irresponsible and it's more likely to fuel shoplifting than reduce it.
26, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle), assault with a dangerous weapon, leaving the scene of property damage, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, conspiracy to commit shoplifting, shoplifting, recklessly driving a motor vehicle, and failure to stop for police; Michael Burns, 27, conspiracy to commit shoplifting, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, allowing a vehicle with revoked registration to be driven, allowing an uninsured vehicle to be driven, two default warrants; and Keesha Nolin, 32, conspiracy to commit shoplifting, and shoplifting; all of Lowell.
According to the most recent National Retail Security Survey, shoplifting accounts for nearly $13 billion in annual losses for retailers with the average amount stolen being $549 per incident.
It is a dreadful thing to steal," but he added that the bigger companies suffered "less harm" from shoplifting than smaller businesses.
TOKYO - Elderly people charged with shoplifting are increasingly citing their feelings of loneliness and isolation as the major reason for their crimes, according to a Tokyo police survey, which also found that many juveniles viewed shoplifting as like a game.
But the number of people admitting shoplifting in the past year leapt 30 per cent to 2.