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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    69

    Angry Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, in Illinois

    I was in Officemax today. I had some time to kill, so I was browsing many different items in the store. So I found a USB cable that I needed and brought it to the cashier and purchased it. I then turned and went back for to look at something else. While I was looking I kept being asked if I needed help for which I said no thank you. One of the managers came up to me and was rude and said "do you need help" and I said no. Then she turned and said to another employee next to her, "look for open boxes". I was confused of what they were talking about?? So I found a software I wanted and went to the same cashier again. I gave my gift card I had. She kept running it through and she kept saying that there was a problem, all at the same time, all these young kid employees are swarming around me. So I got fed up, as I didn't do anything wrong, and I said nevermind, so I gave the software back to the cashier. I then walked out of the store and I noticed a police car parked out front, but nobody was in it. I kept walking to my car and then I looked around and an officer was running up behind me. So I turned around. He said, "why ya looking for me?" I was like, "I wasn't I just looked behind me". He said he was called for a shoplifter, and asked me why I wouldn't show what was in my bag. I was like, I just bought this and I was not asked to look in my bag. So He asked me to see in my bag, So I gave him my bag and my receipt. He said come back in the store to get this straightened out. I opened my jacket and pockets to show I didn't have anything else. We went back in the store and the girl manager looked at my merchandise and receipt. She then apologized and asked if I wanted the software still, and I said yes, so mysteriously, the gift card worked this time. Then I left. I was so pissed by the accusation and being treated like a criminal in front of everyone. So When I got home I called the store manager. The store manager was a different woman. SHe just downplayed it and said it was an issue about the gift card and not shoplifting and nobody accused me of stealing. I was like, yes they did accuse me of shoplifting and the officer even told me he was called to come becuase of a shoplifter. Then the manager was like, no, the officer was here shopping. I was like, that is a lie, the officer himself told me that he was called to come for a shoplifter. I said I was going to follow up with the police, and she said that she recommended that.

    I am so insulted and embarrassed by the situation. The officer treated me like a total criminal, until we got back in the store and then nothing was said.

    What should I do? What are my rights? Are they liable to be sued if I wanted to? How do you restore your integrity when you are treated like that. I will never go in that store again, everyone that works there will treat me like a criminal. This is so crazy.

    Please let me know. Thank you!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    1st thing is to determine whether the Police Officer was called because they claimed you were stealing or if he was actually there shopping.

    When a representative of a store or a police officer questions you on the stores behalf and it is determined that you had no wrong doing it is considered a "bad stop" meaning that you were detained illegally. You can sue the store (civily) for compensation. Before you go that far I would contact someone at a corporate level and see what they are willing to do. Also a formal letter from an attorney to the store and the corporate office demanding some sort of compensation will go a long way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,904

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    The immunity granted to Michigan merchants in relation to suspected shoplifters is quite broad:
    Quote Quoting MCL 600.2917 - Liability of library, merchant, agent, or independent contractor for conduct involving person suspected of larceny of goods or library materials, or of violating 750.356c or 750.356d; definitions.
    (1) In a civil action against a library or merchant, an agent of the library or merchant, or an independent contractor providing security for the library or merchant for false imprisonment, unlawful arrest, assault, battery, libel, or slander, if the claim arises out of conduct involving a person suspected of removing or of attempting to remove, without right or permission, goods held for sale in a store from the store or library materials from a library, or of violating section 356c or 356d of the Michigan penal code, Act No. 328 of the Public Acts of 1931, being sections 750.356c and 750.356d of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and if the merchant, library, agent, or independent contractor had probable cause for believing and did believe that the plaintiff had committed or aided or abetted in the larceny of goods held for sale in the store, or of library materials, or in the violation of section 356c or 356d of Act No. 328 of the Public Acts of 1931, damages for or resulting from mental anguish or punitive, exemplary, or aggravated damages shall not be allowed a plaintiff, unless it is proved that the merchant, library, agent, or independent contractor used unreasonable force, detained the plaintiff an unreasonable length of time, acted with unreasonable disregard of the plaintiff's rights or sensibilities, or acted with intent to injure the plaintiff.

    (2) As used in this section:
    (a) "Library" includes a public library; a library of an educational, historical, or eleemosynary institution or organization; a museum; an archive; and a repository of public records or historical records, or both.

    (b) "Library material" includes a plate; picture; photograph; engraving; painting; drawing; map; newspaper; book; magazine; pamphlet; broadside; manuscript; document; letter; public record; microfilm; sound recording; audiovisual material; magnetic or other tape; optical storage disc or other recording medium; electronic data processing record; artifact; and other documentary, written, or printed material.
    The Michigan Court of Appeals recently refused to find false imprisonment where a suspected shoplifter agreed to go with store employees to a security office to clear the matter up, and was found not to have any stolen merchandise. Whitfield v Meijer, Inc, No. 242209 (Mich App, Feb 26, 2004).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,652

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    This is Illinois.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,904

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    I guess I need more sleep.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    I was never asked for ID, or asked for my name or anything, so I don't know if my name and stuff went down on any report, but the store had my name and address and stuff cause I filled out a rewards card application when I bought my item, so I am not sure if they just gave that to the cop when I left.
    The whole situation has me very mad. I never in my life was approached this way or treated this way. I do not want my name and such attached to any report of shoplifting, but I have no way to check really without giving someone all my info anyway.

    What should I do? I could tell the girl manager I was talking to was trying her best to down play it. I guess they realized how wrong they were.

    If I contact Officemax headquarters, what should I state to them as far as compensation?

    Opinions / recommendations?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Seattle, Wa.
    Posts
    529

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    Errors were made and you were made to look like a common criminal in front of about 20-30 other customers...no 50-60 customers! Not to mention ALL the employees looking at you with disgust!! Treating you like dirt, you were lied to, publicly embarrassed and humiliated!! Your reputation in the community has been sullied and you DEMAND compensation immediately!!! You demand that heads must roll, you've lost your appetite, can't sleep, loss of sexual function....well maybe not but you get the idea?

    Getting a lawyer to at least send a letter and make sure the corp. office hears you loud and clear....you'll probably get a letter of apology and $50.00 Starbucks gift card. Seriously....don't let them get off easy, you can get some form of satisfaction as you were wronged.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    Quote Quoting dakota_sydney
    View Post
    1st thing is to determine whether the Police Officer was called because they claimed you were stealing or if he was actually there shopping.

    When a representative of a store or a police officer questions you on the stores behalf and it is determined that you had no wrong doing it is considered a "bad stop" meaning that you were detained illegally. You can sue the store (civily) for compensation. Before you go that far I would contact someone at a corporate level and see what they are willing to do. Also a formal letter from an attorney to the store and the corporate office demanding some sort of compensation will go a long way.
    i don't believe you can be sued for a 'bad stop' per say..
    i know in PA the law says something like...
    if a peace officer has probable cause that a crime has occured and/or is occuring in an establishment, and has probable cause that he can identify the person committing hes allowed to detain the person in a reasonable amount of time... you said you emtpied your pockets and showed that you didn't have anything and all, but were you 'detained and searched' or did you voluntarily show them your empty pockets

    from what i see they might have said something to the cop that was shopping to the effect of...they didn't know if you paid for what was in your bag, he ran out and asked you to come back in.. you showed your reciept, and then they apologized.. whats wrong with that? humiliating, probably... illegal, nope

  9. #9

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    well here is the part that I believe is illegal. If he FELT that he was detained and not free to leave that is against the law.

    Nevertheless If he takes this seriously and contacts someone on a corporate level heads will roll. I strongly urge him to have a lawyer send a letter. Speak to a lawyer about what kind of comp you want. They will know the limitations.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,904

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Shoplifting at OfficeMax, Illinois

    The Illinois statute says,
    Quote Quoting 720 ILCS 5/16A‑5 - Detention
    Any merchant who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed retail theft may detain such person, on or off the premises of a retail mercantile establishment, in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time for all or any of the following purposes:
    (a) To request identification;

    (b) To verify such identification;

    (c) To make reasonable inquiry as to whether such person has in his possession unpurchased merchandise and, to make reasonable investigation of the ownership of such merchandise;

    (d) To inform a peace officer of the detention of the person and surrender that person to the custody of a peace officer;

    (e) In the case of a minor, to immediately make a reasonable attempt to inform the parents, guardian or other private person interested in the welfare of that minor and, at the merchant's discretion, a peace officer, of this detention and to surrender custody of such minor to such person.
    A merchant may make a detention as permitted herein off the premises of a retail mercantile establishment only if such detention is pursuant to an immediate pursuit of such person.

    A merchant shall be deemed to have reasonable grounds to make a detention for the purposes of this Section if the merchant detains a person because such person has in his possession either a theft detection shielding device or a theft detection device remover.
    Also
    Quote Quoting 720 ILCS 5/16A‑6 - Affirmative Defense.
    A detention as permitted in this Article does not constitute an arrest or an unlawful restraint, as defined in Section 10‑3 of this Code, nor shall it render the merchant liable to the person so detained.

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