Shoplifting


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Related to Shoplifting: shoplifting prevention

Shoplifting

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

Question

Country: United States of America
State: Florida

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

Answer

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 ?
Police also praised the work of food providers such as community Food Initiatives North east and said they hoped the launch of a food pantry in the area - providing subsidised meals - would help further reduce shoplifting.
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"That's one reason we're continuing a pilot with Merseyside Probation Service, to bring together people convicted of shoplifting with shop owners.
Retailers have warned that this increase in shoplifting is being fuelled partly by police forces not investigating the theft of items worth less than PS200.
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Reducing the incidence of shoplifting in Tasmania will be a win for businesses, consumers and jobs.
Shoplifting has a huge impact on small retailers and sometimes it doesn't get the recognition it deserves.
Across the whole of England and Wales there were 327,925 cases of shoplifting in the year up to and including June 2015.
And PC Helen Priestley, of Devon and Cornwall Police, told the inquiry: "We are concerned that although there has been a reduction in almost every type of crime, shoplifting has seen a 16 per cent rise across the county."
She told magistrates from the dock that she was addicted to shoplifting.
WELL- known Bengali actress Swastika Mukherjee, who is all set to make her Bollywood debut opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in Dibakar Banerjee's upcoming thriller Detective Byomkesh Bakshy , was allegedly caught shoplifting in Singapore.
Despite the startling tally of shoplifting incidents - equivalent to 45 reports every single day - charges have only been brought by police in a third of cases.