You are the "Shoplifter" - Page 4

You are the "Shoplifter"

This is a discussion on You are the "Shoplifter" within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This story is a bit too "out there" for me. There are too many what if's in this story. What if...your mommy had testicles, would ...

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  1. #46
    Member Array walther1's Avatar
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    This story is a bit too "out there" for me. There are too many what if's in this story.

    What if...your mommy had testicles, would she be your daddy?
    -------------
    Walther1

    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of the ultimate CC gun!


  2. #47
    Member Array TechGuy's Avatar
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    To sum it up,
    KNOW THE LAWS IN YOUR STATE
    Be polite with LPO
    Wait in public after verbal 'against my will statements'
    (I like the "call 911 for recorded account of situation")
    DO NOT give up your weapon.
    Wait for LEO and do what they say
    Everyone goes home w/o things getting ugly

  3. #48
    Senior Member Array Ride4TheBrand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    No stolen merchandise, but employees FREAK OUT when the H&K USP comes out....
    Sheeple. Gotta love 'em
    "We must remember that one man is much
    the same as another, and that he is best
    who is trained in the severest school."
    ~Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

  4. #49
    Member Array Biloxi Bersa's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=TheGreatGonzo;257963]Errrr...you might want to hold off on giving legal advice.

    Not giving legal advice. And I am familiar with my state's laws.

  5. #50
    Senior Member Array razorblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walther1 View Post
    What if...your mommy had testicles, would she be your daddy?
    That was yesterday's Jerry Springer.

  6. #51
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    Most LPO's will not want to create a scene.Those that do are not well trained. Unless you are trying to run or leave quickly , you should not be touched.
    If you stay and call PD ,they should be very accommodating. I think few CCW holders will encounter LPO's stopping em anyway.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  7. #52
    Member Array PolarBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tros View Post
    The dispatch is not a LEO. They might recommend a course of action, but thats it. The officer that shows up is the person you must listen to.

    Either way, I'm just splitting hairs. The rest of your post was spot on. Explaining yourself over a recording is about the best proof you can have if you ever actually need to use it in court.
    Yes a dispatcher is not an LEO. That is why I said LEO not dispatcher. I guess I sould have been even more clear and said:

    Quote Originally Posted by PolarBear View Post
    -Inform the first LEO on the scene about your CCW status, that you have done nothing wrong, and then await his instructions. Make sure you DO NOT hang up with 911 until AFTER you say this to the LEO so it too is part of the recording.
    I kinda figured it was understood I was talking about the LEO on scene otherwise why would I talk about hangin up with 911? After all you would not "hang up with 911 after you say it" but before you hear the "instructions", would you?
    "Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud..."
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  8. #53
    Member Array kd5nrh's Avatar
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    Well, I've never worked LP, but I've worked other facets of retail, and now work private security, and every company I've worked for had a policy of never going hands-on over property, whether arresting or simply trying to retrieve the property. My current employer also has a policy stating that we do not touch any personal property without permission under any circumstances other than immediate necessity to protect ourselves or others. A gun still in a concealment holster is not immediate enough to qualify.

    Also, FWIW, Texas' citizen's arrest privilege (Code of Criminal Procedure 14.01(a)) requires that the felony or breach of the peace be committed in view of the arresting person.

  9. #54
    Member Array Doberguy's Avatar
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    I found a link with state laws concerning shoplifting.
    Don't claim it to be accurate, up to date, or all inclusive.

    Link

    I am still curious about the search factor?
    None of shoplifting laws that I read mentioned anything about physical searches?

    In NJ I have seen two LP men stop another male at the door.
    One on each arm, command "Come with us" and while walking /dragging the person back to the room, patting the guy's sides down for merchandise.

    You could tell these were not off duty LEO's because they were at most 18 or 19 years old.

  10. #55
    Member Array Tros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolarBear View Post
    Yes a dispatcher is not an LEO. That is why I said LEO not dispatcher. I guess I sould have been even more clear
    I must of read through your thread too quickly. No reason to get upset. Your advice is spot on then.
    Beretta 92FS

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by popo22 View Post
    They better be very sure that you commited the theft (ie. actually saw you steal item), otherwise you have a strong lawsuit, IMHO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leadslinger View Post
    In most states yes you can be "detained" for shoplifting......
    BUT heres the catch: If you haven't done anything wrong they have NO RIght to detain you. ..... If I haven't done anything wrong (and I won't) Heaven help anyone trying to hold me against by will.
    As far as surrendering my gun ........ Yeahhh right
    [QUOTE=randytulsa2;258265]Tough and potentially very ugly situation. No one is manhandling me, but I'm not going to be looking for a fight or to be escalating the situation.QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    If he's armed, and removed my property after my stated objection, based on his threat of force, he's going to be testing the "when your shift is over, go to jail for armed robbery" doctrine.

    Because when the searches are done, and no store property turns up, he's going to be in a world of hurt - he used the threat of force, while armed, to remove my property from me against my will.


    If I am not attempting to leave, the SO - armed or not - has absolutely no cause or reason to initiate the use of force. Or to make any physical contact whatsoever. His purpose in preventing my leaving until the actual police arrive has been accomplished.
    [QUOTE=rocky;258530]Unless you are trying to run or leave quickly , you should not be touched.QUOTE]

    OK let me back up here and try to explain a few things. I must caution here that the following is based on my experiences and VA law circa 1990. Your situation may vary!

    Regarding shoplifters. In VA, stealing merchandise, and unlawful concealing of merchandise, are basically the same thing. In fact, witnessed concealment of merchandise is considered prima facie evidence of guilt (accused has no defense).

    Sworn LEOs and, again in VA, certified/armed security officers have arrest powers. Same power. Note that loss prevention does not necessarily fall under the same umbrella. If an LP officer is certified and armed, I'm not sure, as the law I worked under 15 years ago specified, "working for a licensed agency" and "under contract to the property." Witnessing an offense generally leads to an arrest. Having a report of an offense doesn't differ very much, this has been recently added, IIRC. Believing that an offense has been committed is a little further down the line, which leads us to...

    Probable cause. Generally described as less than proof, but more than suspicion. For example. We are in a supermarket. I observe you acting furtively (looking around excessively, not browsing, attempting to conceal your actions from bystanders, loitering around small/high theft items, hand carrying small/high theft items). You have merchandise in your hand. I lose eyesight with you briefly. Suddenly, the merchandise is nowhere in sight, but there has appeared a bulge under your shirt, roughly the shape and size of said merchandise. Or you have been confined in a certain area of the store so that I can not observe said merchandise if it had been discarded. I appraoch you and state my observations, either in an accusatory manner, or as a curiosity, such as:

    "Hey, store security. I just observed you with a steak in your hand, but now I don't see it. Where is it?"

    "I put it down."

    "OK, well steak is a high theft item, and also perishable, could you please show me where it is so that I may place it back in the refrigerated section?"

    "I don't see/remember where I put it."

    "I see, well when you came in here, your jacket was open. Now it's closed. We try to keep the temperature in our store as comfortable as possible. I also notice a bulge under your jacket that looks suspiciously like that steak you had. Could you please open your jacket?"

    At this point, usually the suspect will give up the item, which accomplishes two things. You have witnessed a concealed item, and the suspect has basically admitted guilt. Further resistance leads to other options.

    The suspect moves away/begins to run. While running from an LEO is not considered probable cause (Supreme Court decision), it certainly does nothing to change your mind that everything else witnessed screams THIEF. You give chase, hopefully leading to an apprehension. Lets pause here to explore a second option...

    The suspect vehemently denies any wrongdoing, threatens your job, and calls into question your heritage. You may make a flat out accusation at this point, which may or may not work. You make a decision, based on your observations, to detain. (Here we come to company policy. Many security firms will not allow their officers to arrest on probable cause, too much liability. LEOs on the other hand, usually will take the action.)

    Now we are at the detention phase. Standard procedure in LE is to take physical control of the suspect. This usually involves the immediate application of cuffs. (Hands kill) Again, for LPs, this is probably not their course of action. Hopefully this occurs without difficulty. You have learned through experience that the judicious display of pepper gas in the face of token resistance does wonders to effect compliance. Next standard LE procedure is a Terry search, so named after the SCOTUS case Terry v. Ohio. SCOTUS upheld a search of a suspect who was detained by an LEO after careful observation, that the suspect did not appear "normal" to the situation. The LEO could not articulate what exactly brought his attention to Terry. The LEO thought that Terry was about to commit an armed robbery. The LEO did a cursory pat down of Terry's outer garments, which yielded a concealed revolver.

    A second reason for the search, which can be more intrusive than the Terry search, is for concealed merchandise. Even if the suspect has relinquished an article of merchandise, being the good and experienced SO that you are, you are aware that there may be other items still concealed.

    Finding a concealed weapon, barring a previous disclosure, is cause for alarm. Any movement from the suspect at this point should initiate a takedown, or at least some type of pain compliance, whether it be an arm lock, wrist lock, etc. Be aware that a physical altercation at this point will put the LEO/SO in survival mode. If I am fighting a suspect for control of a weapon, I care not whether he may file criminal or civil charges at a later date. NOTE that this activity can be prosecuted separately from any other offense, under disorderly conduct, assault, or resisting arrest.

    You take control of the weapon and complete your search for other weapons and merchandise. Lets hope at this point that you have found some concealed merchandise, but if not, all is not lost. You have acted on probable cause. You had probable cause to believe the suspect was in the midst of criminal activity, and acted in the store's best interests in determining whether or not your probable cause was true. You have not "arrested" the suspect, only detained him for further investigation. Upon finding evidence of criminal activity, you call 911 and request an LEO to respond and transport your prisoner to the magistrate to secure a criminal complaint. You advise the prisoner that he is under arrest, and for what crime. You further advise the prisoner that he is barred from the property, and if seen on the property again, he will be arrested for trespassing.

    If no evidence of a crime is discovered, you better start apologizing profusely, and explaining the cause of your actions.

    I know that all this is a bit off topic of LPs, but just wanted to let everybody know that you shouldn't assume anything in this type of situation. If you are wrongly suspected or accused of shoplifting, you have just entered the proverbial area between the rock and the hard place, so please be polite and super cooperative. Catching shoplifters is dangerous work. To begin with, most thieves have the same mindset as many posters here, that they cannot be detained or searched, which makes the job difficult. Many carry weapons, some are willing to use them, or at least to fight their way to freedom. I have taken a variety of edged weapons off of shoplifters. I have been in many scuffles with shoplifters.One of my coworkers was fired on after chasing one out and behind the store (not recommended).

    One last thing. Disarming a suspect is not armed robbery, unless the suspect is told to leave the property without the weapon being returned. It is officer safety. Further, in the case of a prosecution, the weapon becomes evidence. The possession of a weapon while in the act of another crime may be a separate charge.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Finding a concealed weapon, barring a previous disclosure, is cause for alarm. Any movement from the suspect at this point should initiate a takedown, or at least some type of pain compliance, whether it be an arm lock, wrist lock, etc. Be aware that a physical altercation at this point will put the LEO/SO in survival mode. If I am fighting a suspect for control of a weapon, I care not whether he may file criminal or civil charges at a later date. NOTE that this activity can be prosecuted separately from any other offense, under disorderly conduct, assault, or resisting arrest.
    And conversely, if you are the completely innocent, lawfully armed civilian, this unwarranted physical assault, coupled with a potentially unqualified person trying to gain control of your firearm puts you into survival mode. If at this point, the LP officer is using force despite my stating I will remain and await a sworn officer, I will have serious questions about that individual's mental stability. And I will not meekly let someone who is acting like that gain control of a firearm.

    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    You take control of the weapon and complete your search for other weapons and merchandise. Lets hope at this point that you have found some concealed merchandise, but if not, all is not lost. You have acted on probable cause. You had probable cause to believe the suspect was in the midst of criminal activity, and acted in the store's best interests in determining whether or not your probable cause was true. You have not "arrested" the suspect, only detained him for further investigation.
    And you have also committed battery, and if you have taken something from that person, robbery.

    My firearm is not store property, and you have no right to take it from me so long as I am not attempting to draw it or acting in an aggressive manner.

    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    If no evidence of a crime is discovered, you better start apologizing profusely, and explaining the cause of your actions.
    And you'd best get a good attorney, because at this point, you have assaulted, battered and possibly robbed an innocent person. You may even have done these things under color of authority. Your "probable cause" has just taken a huge hit, since you failed to uncover any actual crime.

    You have also exposed your employer, and the property owners, to a major liability issue.

    This is not to say that every encounter with loss prevention is going to go this way. I have been approached a couple of times after the electronic inventory control system alarmed. The person was polite, there was no getting grabby, and the matter was resolved in matter of moments, in an amicable fashion and that was the end of it.

    However, had one of those folks simply run up and grabbed me, without a verbal discussion first, it would have been very different.

    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    I know that all this is a bit off topic of LPs, but just wanted to let everybody know that you shouldn't assume anything in this type of situation. If you are wrongly suspected or accused of shoplifting, you have just entered the proverbial area between the rock and the hard place, so please be polite and super cooperative.
    And I will do so, to include remaining in a public place awaiting the arrival of a sworn law enforcement officer. I will make it very clear, in a polite but firm manner, that I am remaining against my will and that I am not in any way waiving my right to bring civil or criminal legal action against all involved.

    As an innocent party, I am not going to just bend over and take whatever the store thinks they should be allowed to get away with.

    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Catching shoplifters is dangerous work.
    So is assaulting and battering the innocent.

    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    To begin with, most thieves have the same mindset as many posters here, that they cannot be detained or searched, which makes the job difficult. Many carry weapons, some are willing to use them, or at least to fight their way to freedom. I have taken a variety of edged weapons off of shoplifters. I have been in many scuffles with shoplifters.One of my coworkers was fired on after chasing one out and behind the store (not recommended).

    One last thing. Disarming a suspect is not armed robbery, unless the suspect is told to leave the property without the weapon being returned. It is officer safety. Further, in the case of a prosecution, the weapon becomes evidence. The possession of a weapon while in the act of another crime may be a separate charge.
    Correct - and the possession of a weapon by the LP officer while unlawfully assaulting, battering and taking another's property may - and should - also be a separate charge. Nowhere does the right to detain also carry with it the right to deploy unnecessary force. And if the person being falsely accused does not make any attempt to flee, no force is necessary to prevent their flight.

    At the end of this rainbow, I know I have not stolen anything nor concealed any merchandise. When all is said and done, I will be walking out of the store with my property - including my lawfully carried firearm.

    And the LP officer - and his bosses - had best be looking for competent counsel and praying vigorously to the deity of their choice. Because if I am accosted in this fashion, I am certainly going to vigorously pursue all lawful avenues of redress.

    Matt
    Last edited by MattInFla; December 22nd, 2006 at 11:09 AM.
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  13. #58
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    Alan,

    Great post. Very informative, and I agree with your points. The only thing that makes your scenario different from the original question is that in yours, the shoplifter is/probably is guilty. If we (members of this forum, inclusive) are carrying at a grocery store and put a steak in our coat, woe be upon us. We then cross over the line of being a criminal, prima facie. We then deserve all that you described and more.

    If however the bulge the LPO observes is not merchandise, and they did not witness strange behavior, and they are approaching you on a hunch, everything changes. If, while you are cooperating and asking for LE, they learn of your weapon and go into the survival mode as you described, they have probably made the biggest mistake of their career/lilfe and woe be upon them. In the end, the old addage, "cooler heads prevail" seems the most appropriate.

    Alan, keep up the great posts. You have a knack for uncovering great topics.

    Dave.

  14. #59
    Senior Member Array walvord's Avatar
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    Don't Touch Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by produman View Post
    First off let me tell you I am a store mgr for a large retailer in FL. The law in FL states if you set off the inventory control system(beep beep at front of store) they may detain you, this means by force if necessary. I do not do this at my store. Second, if I stop you, I know 100 % you are stealing, no doubt about it....
    Well, I'd be very careful about being 100% sure I'm stealing and having no doubt about it. I've set off the "You've activated the Wal-Mart inventory control system - please - stand back." many times and what has happened each time was the nin-com-poop at the checkout left the "whatever it is" on the item triggering the system. So.....don't be so sure the person exiting your store is a criminal stealing your goods.
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  15. #60
    Senior Member Array walvord's Avatar
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    The Way it Should Be

    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    I posted some info a while back about this very situation happening to my wife. She was shopping at WM, had a CCW in her purse, store employee approached and asked her to empty her handbag. She refused. They threatened to call LEOs. She suggested that they do so. Waited at front of store. LEO shows up, takes her outside, she explains about the CCW. Empties purse in front of employees on LEO's car hood. No stolen merchandise, but employees FREAK OUT when the H&K USP comes out. Accuse her of attempting an armed robbery. LEO not-so-politely informs them that they are idiots. Cuts her loose. Employees ask LEO to stay and protect them from her. More not-so-nice commentary from LEO. Wife finishes shopping, employees go hide.
    Great story and outcome. The way it should always be - although I think I would have left WM and went somewhere else - permanently. Who needed protection from whom?
    The most exhilarating thing in life is getting shot at with no results.
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