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How you can get arrested for shoplifting while in a store

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2021 | criminal defense

Many shoplifting arrests take place at the exit of a business or in their parking lots. Management may have called police, who will wait outside for a suspect to exit the building. Loss prevention or security professionals employed by a retail business or their landlord might detain a suspect when they try to exit the building as well especially if they set off security alarms when leaving.

Although it is less common than arrests at the exit of a building, people can wind up stopped and detained while still pushing their cart up and down the aisles in a store. When do people get arrested for shoplifting before they even leave the business?

Someone hides or wears merchandise

Shoplifting comes in many different forms, and sometimes something innocent can look like shoplifting. Maybe you tried on a jacket or sweatshirt, and you liked it so much that you decided to wear it until you got to the checkout.

Unfortunately, wearing items that they intend to steal is a common ploy by some shoplifters, which means that security and loss prevention professionals might mistake your behavior for an attempt at theft. The same is true if you seemingly put merchandise into your pockets, inside your clothing or in a purse. You could wind up arrested before you ever try to leave the building.

Someone has something that looks like an anti-security device

Businesses rely on different kinds of technology to reduce their shoplifting losses or shrink. RFID tags that trigger alarm panels by the doors is a common system. For clothing and other soft goods, companies may attach security tags that leak ink if forcibly removed.

If security spots a device intended to remove security tags or deactivate RFID chips, they might detain or arrest you right there in the store. The same is true if they spot you with a box cutter or other device that they think you might use to open boxes and products to remove security tags.

Someone swaps price tags or puts items into other items

Some forms of shoplifting involve a person going through check-out but not paying for the full price of everything they purchased. People use their carts to keep items hidden from a cashier. Others will put expensive items like jewelry inside another product box or in the toes of shoes. People might even switch the price tags and barcode labels on products so that it rings up at a lower price.

Anyone facing shoplifting charges can potentially defend themselves. Those who get arrested without ever exiting the store could have multiple options for developing a defense to their pending charges.