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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 ?
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.
Anyone with information about shoplifting should contact South Wales Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Supt Rich Baker said: "Most people wrongly believe that shoplifting is a victimless crime, whereas our experience tells us that almost three quarters of all people brought into custody and test positive for drugs have been arrested on suspicion of thefts from shops or market stalls.
Singapore has very strict laws against shoplifting.
In total they charged 10,935 people with a total of 15,796 counts of shoplifting in relation to the allegations.
We targeted known shoplifting offenders and those suspected of being in the city centre to commit crime by stopping and speaking with them about the ongoing campaign.
Hayes said she expects to see higher closure rates for shoplifting incidents as a result.
The Centre for Retail Research estimate the loss to Scotland's retailers through shoplifting this Christmas will reach PS77.
A man with short hair and a blue jacket is wanted in connection with shoplifting at a Spar store in Deeside on June 8.
Hawkins, of Gilmour Street, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to three offences of shoplifting, one of attempted shoplifting and breach of a suspended sentence.
Malova faces drug and shoplifting charges - and deportation if convicted of a crime, her lawyer said.
To put it online is highly irresponsible and it's more likely to fuel shoplifting than reduce it.