While shoplifting is often thought of as a juvenile crime, this serious offense costs businesses around the country billions of dollars annually. Shoplifting occurs when a person takes merchandise from a business without paying for it. Businesses worldwide are forced to deal with shoplifters to prevent losing out monetarily, so they often use various different deterrents to prevent the crime from happening in their store.
How to Deter Shoplifters
Most modern-day businesses have at least one surveillance camera to monitor their store, protect their merchandise from theft and provide proof of any crime to authorities. When visible, surveillance cameras often work as a deterrent against theft. The shoplifter knows that even if they get away with the merchandise, their faces have been captured on camera and will likely be forwarded to the police. Even when a business doesn’t have surveillance cameras, it may be wise to post signs or warnings for shoplifters explaining that they will be prosecuted by the law if caught. Other deterrents businesses often utilize to prevent shoplifting includes:
• Hiring a loss prevention specialist
• Adding security tags to merchandise that will beep when the item is removed from the store
• Keeping merchandise clean and organized
• Strategically placing mirrors on the sales floor
Can Shoplifters be Detained?
Loss prevention specialists often watch customers closely to look for possible signs of shoplifting. In some stores, the agent will wear plain clothes and pretend to walk around the store shopping like a normal customer. In this way, they can catch more potential shoplifters. When a loss prevention specialist identifies a shoplifter, they have the option of either confronting the suspect or calling the police. In most cases, shoplifters will be long gone by the time law enforcement officials arrive to the scene unless the loss prevention specialist confronts them. According to the law, merchants do have a legal right to detain a suspected shoplifter in a reasonable manner for a reasonable amount of time as long as there are reasonable grounds to believe the person committed or attempted to commit shoplifting.
False Accusations and Civil Liability
Before the merchant can legally detain the person, they must have proof or sufficient grounds to believe the person was shoplifting. Suspicion alone is not enough evidence. The potential shoplifter must be held in a reasonable manner, which may be difficult if the person is uncooperative. If the merchant acts unreasonably or falsely accuses someone of shoplifting, then they open themselves up to a potential civil liability lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Cherry Hill Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with shoplifting in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. Criminal defense attorney Michele Finizio has successfully represented clients charged with shoplifting in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro and throughout New Jersey. Call 856.599.5519 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ 08057
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.