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The danger of false shoplifting allegations


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Old 05-12-2006, 18:27
blueblade
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I went to ASDA today, and being in a hurry forgot to take a packet of maltesers out of my trolley, and walked out without paying for them ~ quite inadvertently. I only noticed when I took the trolley outside, dumped it, and took my bags out to put in the car.

Couldn't be bothered to go back inside, so just left them there.

It occurred to me though that perfectly innocent people may be prosecuted for alleged shoplifting, when they have simply lapsed in concentration, been in a hurry, or whatever.

Also, where would one be stopped. Outside the shop, or totally off the premises and back on the street ?

Anybody else thought this, or had experience of it ?
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:34
Mort Rainey
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I did, the other day. I was in a "certain high street shop" and I picked up a thing of black hairbands. As I was pushing my niece in her pushchair, I put them round my fingers. I intended to pick up something else and then go to the counter and pay for them together but I didn't get the other thing and so forgot I had the hairbands too! Walked out totally oblivious to the fact that I had actually just nicked them!!!

It was not till about 20 minutes later, I realised I still had them round my fingers.

I would have been totally mortified if I had been had up for shoplifting as it was totally innocent, but that's what they all say I guess!

I did the same thing many years ago when I left a bag of nappies on the little hook at the back of the trolley, only realised when I got to the car that I hadn't paid for them.
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:38
CitySlicker
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I wanted to see if a particular bulb would fit in an outside lantern, so went to a shop, there was a bulb there but it needed a screw fitting - the bulb was the standard UK type bayonet fitting. So I asked if I could put in a converter in the lantern to see if it fitted, which it did. I had to buy something else, then my phone rang and I was distracted. Walked out the shop with the converter still in the lantern, unpaid for.

I didn't realise until I got home, and by that time I was miles away. If it was an expensive item, I would have phoned them up and paid by card over the phone, but with it being an item that cost about 1, I don't think they would care about a genuine mistake. Had I discovered it in the car park I would have gone straight back in though, but for a pack of maltesers I'm sure they wouldn't care.

I'd say you'd be stopped as soon as it was clear you had no intention of paying - hiding the item in clothes, being watched, then as soon as you're on the main exit approach, you'd be stopped just before you left at a guess.
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:39
julesT
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Tbh if your going about your shopping in the store legitimally the security guards aren't really gonna hound you, it's normally the ones acting suspiciously who get the attention, proper good shoplifters mostly get away with it because they seem to be a normal shopper and not out of place, i've been close up to one in a store and I new her ways and told her not to bother stealing, if she needed something i'd by it, when we got out the place I was amazed at what she'd nicked and I didn't even have a clue she'd been doing it even though i was in close proximity of her.
Normally people like her get caught by CCTV and fllor security is alerted. once known they're either barred from premises or kept check on, many stores also work with the police and other businesses with info.
If you go through and set the alarm off they'll take you to one side and just check your shopping to find the cause but the majority of the time they can tell if your genuine or not.
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:40
titanflux
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LOL, reminds me when my mum took my younger brother out in the pushchair, (years ago). She went into the fruit and veg shop. It was only when she was halfway home, she found him playing with a huge bunch of bananas he'd picked up whilst they were in there.
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:44
Mort Rainey
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I learned the other day that you get your photo taken in Tesco as soon as you pick up a bottle of alcohol which has one of those little security devices around the neck. As soon as the device is removed at the till, your photo is deleted automatically. If you try to leave the store with the tag on, regardless of whether they catch you, they'll still have your photo and they'll get you the next time you enter the store.
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:47
julesT
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Originally Posted by Mort Rainey
I learned the other day that you get your photo taken in Tesco as soon as you pick up a bottle of alcohol which has one of those little security devices around the neck. As soon as the device is removed at the till, your photo is deleted automatically. If you try to leave the store with the tag on, regardless of whether they catch you, they'll still have your photo and they'll get you the next time you enter the store.
Say Cheese and Port
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:47
achooblessyou
 
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Originally Posted by Mort Rainey
I learned the other day that you get your photo taken in Tesco as soon as you pick up a bottle of alcohol which has one of those little security devices around the neck. As soon as the device is removed at the till, your photo is deleted automatically. If you try to leave the store with the tag on, regardless of whether they catch you, they'll still have your photo and they'll get you the next time you enter the store.

Mort Rainey my leg just fell off!
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:50
Mort Rainey
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Originally Posted by achooblessyou
Mort Rainey my leg just fell off!
My friend who works in security told me. There is also a CCTV screen above your head in the drinks aisle so I don't doubt it's true.
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:51
johnny_t
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A slight reversal of the subject, but I'm always lifting stuff from B&Q by casually just holding it in my hands through the checkouts, as if I'm some absent-minded type, and can always just look surprised and forgetful if challenged.

If they ever find the drill bits placed in between the bags of sand I'm going to be done for though....
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:52
Chie
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When I was homeless I walked into Asda to buy a bottle of water and some cigarettes, when I walked out the door the alarm went off. This was at about 2 in the morning. I was asked to empty all my bags, 4 of them containing all my worldly belongings. Think bag lady here! I went through everything until we finally discovered it was a pack of razor blades I'd bought weeks ago and the security tag hadn't been disabled properly when I purchased them I was so embarassed having to go through all my clothes etc in front of security
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:53
DeltaUnit22
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Originally Posted by blueblade
I went to ASDA today, and being in a hurry forgot to take a packet of maltesers out of my trolley, and walked out without paying for them ~ quite inadvertently. I only noticed when I took the trolley outside, dumped it, and took my bags out to put in the car.

Couldn't be bothered to go back inside, so just left them there.

It occurred to me though that perfectly innocent people may be prosecuted for alleged shoplifting, when they have simply lapsed in concentration, been in a hurry, or whatever.

Also, where would one be stopped. Outside the shop, or totally off the premises and back on the street ?

Anybody else thought this, or had experience of it ?
They can accuse all they like, if its legitimate you will offer to pay straight away, surely?
The onus is on the store or police to prove that you intended to permanently deprive the loser of the good(s) and if you're offering to pay then the intention is not there.

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Old 05-12-2006, 18:56
Mort Rainey
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Originally Posted by DeltaUnit22
They can accuse all they like, if its legitimate you will offer to pay straight away, surely?
The onus is on the store or police to prove that you intended to permanently deprive the loser of the good(s) and if you're offering to pay then the intention is not there.

Seriously?

But surely that could open the floodgates for people "accidently" walking out with stuff and then only offering to pay should they get caught!
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:01
DeltaUnit22
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There is a difference between someone forgetting to take a box of malteasers out of the trolley and only finding it outside and someone being found with said box in their jacket after denying possession of it.
The key word is intention.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:06
marling
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Originally Posted by julesT
If you go through and set the alarm off they'll take you to one side and just check your shopping to find the cause but the majority of the time they can tell if your genuine or not.
Happened to me in Tesco the other day. I only had one small bag of groceries but the alarm went off as I was leaving the store. Naturally I stopped. The guard asked me to walk through without the bag - no alarm. He then waved my bag through the alarm and it did not go off (of course 'cos I hadn't nicked anything!). But I pointed out to him that another shopper had passed through the same time as me and had not stopped and nor was he apprehended by the guards.

I was a bit peeved because everyone looks over at you (as I would anyway) and assumes you been on the nick. But they should have got the other person
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:08
blueblade
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Originally Posted by DeltaUnit22
They can accuse all they like, if its legitimate you will offer to pay straight away, surely?
The onus is on the store or police to prove that you intended to permanently deprive the loser of the good(s) and if you're offering to pay then the intention is not there.

Many places have notices like "ALL shoplifters will be prosecuted". Anybody can say they forgot. How do you prove you're innocent ? You can't.

It's simply your word against the fact that you haven't paid for the item. Even if you offer to pay immediately, they still prosecute.

We have seen some high profile cases in the past of celebrities (who wouldn't need to shoplift anyway) being accused of shoplifting and being taken to court because of it. The trauma of that is appalling for some people.

Last edited by blueblade : 05-12-2006 at 19:09.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:09
Mort Rainey
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Originally Posted by DeltaUnit22
There is a difference between someone forgetting to take a box of malteasers out of the trolley and only finding it outside and someone being found with said box in their jacket after denying possession of it.
The key word is intention.
I understand that but say I went into tesco and picked up a jar of pasta sauce, wandered around aimlessly for a while so as to look absent minded then left the shop still carrying it. If I was stopped, I could just say "oh my god, I didn't realise, I'll pay for it!" but if I wasn't stopped, then I'd have a jar of pasta sauce for free. I could do a full weeks shop like that!!!

Not that I would, you understand, it's just a theory!
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:14
Mort Rainey
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Originally Posted by marling
Happened to me in Tesco the other day. I only had one small bag of groceries but the alarm went off as I was leaving the store. Naturally I stopped. The guard asked me to walk through without the bag - no alarm. He then waved my bag through the alarm and it did not go off (of course 'cos I hadn't nicked anything!). But I pointed out to him that another shopper had passed through the same time as me and had not stopped and nor was he apprehended by the guards.

I was a bit peeved because everyone looks over at you (as I would anyway) and assumes you been on the nick. But they should have got the other person
Once I went into a shop and bought a couple of cushions, then I went into WHSmith and bought a DVD, alarm went off, everyone looked, like they do and I went back to the till. No problem! went back through, alarm went off again and the shop girl waved me through as if to say "don't worry about it".

Then I went into Boots, their alarm went off too! By this time I was getting fed up with all the glares from people. Bought something in Boots and as I left, the bl00dy thing went off again. Back to the till, had my purchase checked, no problem. The girl told me to re-trace my steps and I ended up back in the place I bought the cushions. There were tags on the inside of their cushion covers which had made every alarm (except their own one!) go off!!!
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:23
DeltaUnit22
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In a word, yep!
As I say, we have to prove it was your intention to dishonestly appropriate the item, permanently depriving the rightful owner.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:35
achooblessyou
 
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Originally Posted by Mort Rainey
My friend who works in security told me. There is also a CCTV screen above your head in the drinks aisle so I don't doubt it's true.

I apologise for doubting you.

I have found some info about these things....although none of them apply to alcohol specifically. Whilst I think of Tesco as a crook, in chief, I don't think they would use those tags on alcohol....

I have often watched cashiers as I wait my turn- sometimes tills are back to back so you can see what one person is doing on their till - and I have NEVER seen any pictures of people pop up- and on a Saturday night most people buy loads of booze!


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/st...001211,00.html

http://www.spy.org.uk/cgi-bin/rfid.pl


http://www.out-law.com/page-3771



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesco
In January 2005, Tesco faced criticism for their testing of RFID tags used to collect information on product movement in pilot stores. Critics label the tags "Spy Chips" and allege that they are to be used to collect information on customers' shopping habits.[33]



http://news.com.com/2100-1039_3-5519521.html


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:35
Deep Purple
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Originally Posted by blueblade
Many places have notices like "ALL shoplifters will be prosecuted". Anybody can say they forgot. How do you prove you're innocent ? You can't.

It's simply your word against the fact that you haven't paid for the item. Even if you offer to pay immediately, they still prosecute.

We have seen some high profile cases in the past of celebrities (who wouldn't need to shoplift anyway) being accused of shoplifting and being taken to court because of it. The trauma of that is appalling for some people.

They may have notices, but it is the CPS who will decide on a prosecution, based on the evidence available.

In your case, where you've left a small item in the trolley, it would be impossible to prove the necessary intent.

General policy about stopping someone is to wait until the person has left the store building, but technically the offence is complete when the person picks up the item, and they have no intention of paying. It can be difficult to prove that though.

People do make genuine mistakes sometimes, and that is accepted.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:35
PhilH36
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Originally Posted by Mort Rainey
Once I went into a shop and bought a couple of cushions, then I went into WHSmith and bought a DVD, alarm went off, everyone looked, like they do and I went back to the till. No problem! went back through, alarm went off again and the shop girl waved me through as if to say "don't worry about it".

Then I went into Boots, their alarm went off too! By this time I was getting fed up with all the glares from people. Bought something in Boots and as I left, the bl00dy thing went off again. Back to the till, had my purchase checked, no problem. The girl told me to re-trace my steps and I ended up back in the place I bought the cushions. There were tags on the inside of their cushion covers which had made every alarm (except their own one!) go off!!!
I had something similar,bought a few dvds/cds in HMV in Oxford Street,as I left the shop the alarm went off,stopped outside but the security guard didn't come out so I carried on walking,went down to Virgin on the TCR corner,as I went in the alarms went off,and again when I left. No-one challenged me.Got the train back to Croydon,went in one or two more shops,the alarms went off each time I entered and exited but again no-one challenged me.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:39
dmuk
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Originally Posted by marling

I was a bit peeved because everyone looks over at you (as I would anyway) and assumes you been on the nick.
I wouldn't worry about it, I always hear the alarm when I do my shopping. It's a regular thing.

Also, if you want to stop hearing the alarm, stop robbing

Last edited by dmuk : 05-12-2006 at 19:44.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:43
Satai Delenn
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For medical reasons, I have a lot of tiny bits of metal in my groin and hip, so much so that I can, (and often do) trigger shop alarms. It is not so bad in shops that now know me, but it is extremely difficult to try and explain precisely why I am triggering their alarms.

I was a witness at a court case, and yes - that wandy thing that the guards wave over you is also triggered by my metal bits. I thought they were going to ask me to strip in the foyer!

I haven't tried flying yet - not since the advent of my metal bits, but I know what will happen when I am eventually able to fly again.

My local Asda just wave me through now - they know me, but if I were dishonest, I could walk out of there with virtually anything! Fortunately I am not dishonest, and the stock levels are not suffering as a result of me.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:48
♣ Moya
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I absentmindedly walked out of Woolworths once with the wire basket & unpaid goods. I got half way up the road when I realised and returned to the shop. The girl behind the till thought I was mad.

On another occasion I bought my daughter some dungarees in Mothercare just as the store was closing. I paid and was ushered out of the entrance door because the exit door was locked. When I got home I found the security tag had not been removed so I had to return to the shop.
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