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  1. #1
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    Oct 2010
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    Unhappy If a Store Catches You Shoplifting Can They Handcuff You

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California

    My girlfriend was caught shop lifting a piece of candy. She was escorted to a back room where she was handcuffed to a chair by one arm.

    I understand that they took her I.D., address, etc. and stated a letter containing the fine amount to be mailed latter on.

    My question is "Does Walgreens have the authority to handcuff someone who has shoplifted?"

    Besides the rude behavior and awkwardness my girlfriend endured while detained(such as offering her a job and asking if she had a boyfriend), does anyone know the laws pertaining towards the authority that security services have over customers/shoplifters?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Shoplifting at Walgreens, Can They Handcuff You

    It's called a citizen's arrest, and it's most common practice comes from loss prevention employees detaining shoplifters.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Shoplifting at Walgreens, Can They Handcuff You

    Yes, they are allowed to handcuff her. In this situation as your described it, the handcuffs were an unnecessary step. Had your girlfriend resisted, sure but if she was totally compliant...nah. I don't know Walgreen's policies & procedures but to stop her and take her back over a piece of candy? That's just ridiculous. No LP professional I've ever worked with would have made that stop, not even if they needed end of the month numbers. Only way I would see someone doing it is if they thought for whatever reason she had taken more. Was she accused of taking more than " a piece of candy?"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Shoplifting at Walgreens, Can They Handcuff You

    She did not resist and she was not accused of taking anymore than that one piece of candy.

    also, is there a way to avoid charges for an item less than 5$? it just seems unfair to put her schooling and future at risk for candy. But she knows she should have thought better and she has no excuse, but...really?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Shoplifting at Walgreens, Can They Handcuff You

    Yes, really. It doesn't matter WHAT was taken, except that bigger ticket items result in greater charges. But if it was a one cent item that wasn't hers, criminal prosecution is absolutely possible. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's PROBABLE - the DA could toss the case, could bring lesser charges, or could press the full case but seek something like probation instead of hefty fines or incarceration. The best person to give a guess about what any partcular prosecutor is likely to do, or what sentence a particular judge is likely to hand down, is an attorney who practices in the court in question. I agree with Free9man that this seems a bit over the top for a piece of candy - most stores would have simply told her to leave and not come back - but for whatever reason that's not what happened here, and now that the detention has taken place and the case opened, it'll have to work it's way through the system until either dismissed or disposed.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Shoplifting at Walgreens, Can They Handcuff You

    I don't see any mention of the police in your original post. Were they called and was she arrested or issued a citation? Again, most companies' policies would not allow for the involvement of the police for less than $5 unless it was repeat offender. I say most but as i stated before, I don't know Walgreen's policies but I highly doubt this normal for them. Most likely they just had her sign a confession and will send her a civil demand letter for some amount of money. She needs to pay that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    15

    Default Re: Shoplifting at Walgreens, Can They Handcuff You

    Quote Quoting free9man
    View Post
    No LP professional I've ever worked with would have made that stop, not even if they needed end of the month numbers.
    I have made stops for a 37 cent piece of chocolate and I am a regional supervisor for a retail chain that does not impose quotas. She had just turned 18 three days before and did not think it would be a problem. I have always taken a zero tolerance approach to shoplifting. That 37 cent piece of candy cost her $250 civil demand, a night in jail and 50 hours of community service oh and 37 cents for the candy.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Shoplifting at Walgreens, Can They Handcuff You

    Quote Quoting Khaman
    View Post
    I have made stops for a 37 cent piece of chocolate and I am a regional supervisor for a retail chain that does not impose quotas. She had just turned 18 three days before and did not think it would be a problem. I have always taken a zero tolerance approach to shoplifting. That 37 cent piece of candy cost her $250 civil demand, a night in jail and 50 hours of community service oh and 37 cents for the candy.

    Well then I guess I've never worked with you. The companies I have worked for, the higher ups would chew you a new one for wasting time on a small stop. I agree that zero tolerance is a good policy, but much like in the school systems, can be over-applied. The only time we made chump change stops was if the person was consistently hitting us for little things. The companies I worked for wanted big stops and figured the little stuff would get evened out by spending the rest of our time on operational shortage.

    Obviously, different companies will have different approaches. I was just posting my experience in the field.

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