Shoplifting and larceny charges form a lot of the cases our criminal defense lawyers see in courtrooms in District and Superior Court. Every major department store has a group of people who work in loss prevention, sometimes referred to as loss prevention officers. Their job: to keep people from stealing and catch those that do. A lot of department stores have a fairly sophisticated camera setup to follow people in the store. They identify potential theft by studying profiles of those involved in said activities. They have a whole litany of things they look for when it comes to stealing that they attempt to ID when people are in the store so they can observe to see if they follow through with what they believe they’ll do. According to our friends at at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, this is what you should do if you are caught shoplifting.
So what separates a larceny from shoplifting? Shoplifting is generally when you’re in the store, you put an item in your purse while inside of the store, and a loss prevention officer approaches you while you’re still inside of the store and asks you to hand over the item. Shoplifting occurs before the last point of sale, the cash register. Larceny occurs after the last point of sale. This is where you pass the checkout and are on your way out of the store or already outside of the store. Sometimes loss prevention officers will approach people inside of the parking lot to ask them to hand over their things. These confrontations can become physical and it’s vital to be aware of what’s going on.
Self-checkout is an efficient way of shopping. However, this has become one of the primary places people attempt to steal things by not scanning items. Stores with self-checkout have become far more sophisticated in their camera technology and now keep a very watchful eye on those who use those systems. Our theft lawyers see more arrests from this area than anywhere else. Typically, people either don’t scan certain items, change tags on an item and scan it in place of the item they’re supposed to be scanning. Loss prevention generally approaches after the point of payment, the person usually says they weren’t aware they didn’t scan certain items and this just leads to arrest for larceny. There’s also a separate charge for larceny by changing a price tag, so please be aware.
Larceny and theft crimes make up the bulk of charges in the criminal justice system. If you or someone you know is facing a larceny charge it’s vital that you speak with a theft lawyer. They will do everything they can to help you.