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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Does the Store Have to Catch a Thief Before They Leave the Property or Not

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: P

    A customer walks out of a store with unpaid merchandise. An employee follows him out the door and he drops the stuff and gets into a car and drives away. The employee stands there with arms raised as if to say "what are you doing" and gets the car's license plate number.

    The store has video cameras. Is the image of him walking out without paying and the license plate number enough to take the theft to police? Can the person be prosectued after the fact or does he have to be stopped after exiting the doors or in the parking lot?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: Does the Store Have to Catch a Thief Before They Leave the Property or Not

    Is the image of him walking out without paying and the license plate number enough to take the theft to police?
    More than likely, yes.

    Can the person be prosectued after the fact
    Yes.

    does he have to be stopped after exiting the doors or in the parking lot?
    No...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: Does the Store Have to Catch a Thief Before They Leave the Property or Not

    Thieves aren't exactly the brightest bulbs.

    Dude, bank robbers rarely get caught on bank property. The cops use the video, license plate and eyewitness testiomony to identify the perp and arrest them. When they go to court if they use the excuse, "Your honor, I wasn't caught on property", you will get jailtime and bubba will be your friend.

    You stole from the store, you got caught, be a man and face the consequences. Nah, you drove away like a scared little kid and now you will have warrants for your arrest. Go to the police with a lawyer and beg for mercy.
    Not worth my time...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Does the Store Have to Catch a Thief Before They Leave the Property or Not

    Thanks for the answer. I am actually the employee who got the license number not the thief. I guess I should not have used "I" in the title. This just happened a few days ago and I was wondering if I have to get involved in the issue since I got the plate number. The manager said he'd look into it. I'm a petite woman 100lbs wet and the thief is a BIG man. I sort of am afraid he'll do something to me if/when he finds out I'm the one who provided the identifying onfo.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Does the Store Have to Catch a Thief Before They Leave the Property or Not

    I agree with the other posters who say that it is not necessary to apprehend the suspect on the premises or even near the premises. All that is required is proof of identity and facts which show taking an item of merchandise without paying for it.

    Your concern about revenge is understandable. I note, however, that practicing law for 30 years I have not personally come across a case where that has actually happened. I have seen a few cases where threats were made, but nothing physical actually happened. I am not saying it never happens. It does. However, usually thieves who are caught have so many other problems on their hands that they do not ever follow up with revenge tactics. Good luck to you. It sounds like you are doing a good job for your employer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,107

    Default Re: Does the Store Have to Catch a Thief Before They Leave the Property or Not

    Quote Quoting mrsnshick1
    View Post
    My question involves criminal law for the state of: P
    What state is that? Pennsylvania?

    A customer walks out of a store with unpaid merchandise. An employee follows him out the door and he drops the stuff and gets into a car and drives away. The employee stands there with arms raised as if to say "what are you doing" and gets the car's license plate number.
    Okay. Good obs by the employee.

    The store has video cameras. Is the image of him walking out without paying and the license plate number enough to take the theft to police? Can the person be prosectued after the fact or does he have to be stopped after exiting the doors or in the parking lot?
    He can be prosecuted.

    Quote Quoting mrsnshick1
    View Post
    Thanks for the answer. I am actually the employee who got the license number not the thief. I guess I should not have used "I" in the title. This just happened a few days ago and I was wondering if I have to get involved in the issue since I got the plate number. The manager said he'd look into it. I'm a petite woman 100lbs wet and the thief is a BIG man. I sort of am afraid he'll do something to me if/when he finds out I'm the one who provided the identifying onfo.
    Most thieves do not come back to exact revenge from an employee. I have been at this for 20 years and have yet to ever hear of such a thing.

    yes, you will have to get involved if the store calls the police and it goes to trial because they will need your testimony as to what you saw. Most these matters plead out, however, so I wouldn't stress too much.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

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