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Handling Shoplifters

NCJ Number
Security Systems Volume: 16 Issue: 8 Dated: (August 1987) Pages: 14-16
R Griffin
Date Published
3 pages
This article describes steps preceding the apprehension of a suspected shoplifter, for apprehending and interviewing the suspect, and for deciding whether to prosecute or release the suspect, with attention to differences in the handling of adult and juvenile suspects.
Prior to apprehending a shoplifting suspect, a store employee should see the suspect take an item, conceal it, retain it, not pay for it, and leave the store with it. One or more employees should be involved in the apprehension, and the suspect should be addressed politely but firmly as they are informed about the identity of the apprehenders, the reason for the apprehension, and the request to accompany the apprehenders back into the store. Reasonable nondeadly force may be used if the suspect resists. The purposes in interrogating the suspect are to recover the merchandise, obtain an admission of theft, and have the suspect sign a form which releases the store and its employees from civil liability in the incident. Prosecution should not proceed unless there is sufficient evidence to gain a conviction. Juveniles should be formally processed by store security officers, including notification of police or the juvenile's parents. The juvenile should be released only to parents or police.