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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    The other night my 14 year old daughter was stopped at Macy’s for shoplifting, and I have a few questions.

    The story I received from my daughter:

    The other night I allowed my daughter to spend the night with two other friends, the mother of one of the girls took them to the mall; during my custodial weekend. This mother allowed them to go on their on way and instructed them on where to meet her at 9 pm. Close to 8:15 pm my daughter and her two friends were stopped by the stores LPO and taken to their office for shoplifting. The girls were asked to return the merchandise that they had concealed in their purses while in the fitting room. Around 9 pm this mother called her daughter since she was not at the designated place they were instructed to be at. The LP instructed the girls to not answer their cell phones and to turn them off, even after the girl had told them who it was and that she was probably looking for them. Which no attempt was made by the LP’s to contact any parent. The girls mother became very concerned and upset, not knowing what had happened to the girls. Not knowing what to do; she went to mall security and informed them of the missing three girls. Mall security did an extensive search then started calling the retailers to see if any of them had seen the girls. Finally a call to Macy’s ended the search when Macy’s informed security that they had the girls in the LP office. This was around 11 pm. The LP had called for the police which did finally come to their location. The police never talked with the girls due to the fact that they were dealing with the adult offenders that were also detained for shoplifting, which they were in no connection with the girls. Macy’s gave the girls a letter of civil demand with instructions to pay $325 within 14 days; then released all three girls to the mother. The item that was recovered from my daughter was a $20 t-shirt, that she had placed into her purse after taking the tags off.

    My small knowledge of Texas Law:
    1. To establish a solid base for probable cause, and prevent false arrest claims, there are six universally accepted steps that a merchant should be follow before detaining someone suspected of shoplifting:
    1. You must see the shoplifter approach your merchandise
    2. You must see the shoplifter select your merchandise
    3. You must see the shoplifter conceal, carry away or convert your merchandise
    4. You must maintain continuous observation the shoplifter
    5. You must see the shoplifter fail to pay for the merchandise
    6. You must approach the shoplifter outside of the store
    These six steps were designed to establish a high degree of probable cause for detention and arrest of a person suspected of shoplifting. If one of these steps is skipped, the chance for false arrest increases proportionately.

    2. I believe that there is an obligation for the retailer to contact a juvenile’s parents / guardian within the first 60 minutes.
    3. A retailer can only release a juvenile to a parent, guardian or the police. Not to a stranger (mother of another child.)

    Now for the questions:

    1. How could they have seen my daughter conceal the merchandise if she was in a fitting room? Is it not true that it is illegal for cameras in fitting rooms and rest rooms? Doesn’t this constitute an invasion of privacy by stopping her and searching her; since they did not actually see her conceal the item?
    2. What are the actual time requirements of parental notice of a detained juvenile?
    3. I am a public servant; I can not release a juvenile to anyone but their parent or legal guardian that is under the age of 18 unless I obtain verbal consent from one of the two. Isn’t retailers held to this same statute or not.

    4. Do any of these three questions raise a legal violation by Macys?

    5. Should I call the corporate office of Macy’s and explain these violations and request the civil demand be reduced or dropped?

    I am not saying that what my daughter did was right; she knowingly placed the item into her purse in the attempt to leave the store with it. She will receive her punishment from me for what she has done, since she will not be affected by the civil demand directly. I know that her mother (my ex) will probably not help to pay the civil demand. I will have to pay this on my own; which will not be financially easy.

    Any and all advice is welcomed, and Thank you for it.

  2. #2
    panther10758 Guest

    Default Re: 14yo Shoplifted -- Need Advice

    Fitting room stop s are very common 5 items go in three come out fitting room is inpsected no items guess wher they are! I will be honest I did not read your entire post because we (and you) are gettinga 14 year olds view of what happened. If you have concern on the matter tak e t to macy's coporate office. Minors ar eoften released to a reposnisble adult otherwise they go to juvie

  3. #3
    panther10758 Guest

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    1. How could they have seen my daughter conceal the merchandise if she was in a fitting room? Is it not true that it is illegal for cameras in fitting rooms and rest rooms? Doesn’t this constitute an invasion of privacy by stopping her and searching her; since they did not actually see her conceal the item?
    Already explained

    2. What are the actual time requirements of parental notice of a detained juvenile?
    There arent any

    3. I am a public servant; I can not release a juvenile to anyone but their parent or legal guardian that is under the age of 18 unless I obtain verbal consent from one of the two. Isn’t retailers held to this same statute or not.
    Being released to a resonsible adult will suffice

    4. Do any of these three questions raise a legal violation by Macys?
    No but your free to contact Macy's and complain

    5. Should I call the corporate office of Macy’s and explain these violations and request the civil demand be reduced or dropped?
    You can but dont get your hopes up

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    Here's the section of Texas statute that applys:

    40-7-116. Theft - Detention of suspect by merchant or peace officer.
    (a) A merchant or a merchant's employee or agent or a peace officer who has probable cause to believe that a person has committed or is attempting to commit the offense of theft, as defined in § 39-14-103, may detain such person on or off the premises of the mercantile establishment if such detention is done for any or all of the following purposes:

    (1) To question the person, investigate the surrounding circumstances, obtain a statement, or any combination thereof;
    (2) To request or verify identification, or both;
    (3) To inform a peace officer of the detention of such person, or surrender that person to the custody of a peace officer, or both;
    (4) To inform a peace officer, the parent or parents, guardian or other private person interested in the welfare of a minor of the detention and to surrender the minor to the custody of such person; or
    (5) To institute criminal proceedings against the person.

    (b) Probable cause to suspect that a person has committed or is attempting to commit the offense of theft may be based on, but not limited to:

    (1) Personal observation, including observation via closed circuit television or other visual device;
    (2) Report of such personal observation from another merchant;
    (3) Activation of an electronic or other type of mechanical device designed to detect theft; or
    (4) Personal observation of dressing rooms, including observation via closed circuit television, two-way mirrors, or other visual devices shall be limited to observation by a person of the same sex as the person being observed. No such observation shall be lawful unless notices are posted in such dressing rooms that such monitoring may occur.

    (c) A merchant or a merchant's employee or agent or a peace officer who detains, questions or causes the arrest of any person suspected of theft shall not be criminally or civilly liable for any legal action relating to such detention, questioning or arrest if the merchant or merchant's employee or agent or peace officer:

    (1) Has reasonable grounds to suspect that the person has committed or is attempting to commit theft;
    (2) Acts in a reasonable manner under the circumstances; and
    (3) Detains the suspected person for a reasonable period of time.

    (d) The merchant may use a reasonable amount of force necessary to protect such merchant, to prevent escape of the person detained, or to prevent the loss or destruction of property.

    (e) A reasonable period of time, for the purposes of this section, is a period of time long enough to accomplish the purpose set forth in this section, and shall include any time spent awaiting the arrival of a law enforcement officer or the parents or guardian of a juvenile suspect, if the merchant or the merchant's employee or agent has summoned such law enforcement officer, parents or guardian.

    You wrote:
    "My small knowledge of Texas Law:
    1. To establish a solid base for probable cause, and prevent false arrest claims, there are six universally accepted steps that a merchant should be follow before detaining someone suspected of shoplifting:
    1. You must see the shoplifter approach your merchandise
    2. You must see the shoplifter select your merchandise
    3. You must see the shoplifter conceal, carry away or convert your merchandise
    4. You must maintain continuous observation the shoplifter
    5. You must see the shoplifter fail to pay for the merchandise
    6. You must approach the shoplifter outside of the store
    These six steps were designed to establish a high degree of probable cause for detention and arrest of a person suspected of shoplifting. If one of these steps is skipped, the chance for false arrest increases proportionately."


    This is not Texas state law. The Texas 'merchant statutes' apply.This is a guide for retailers to follow to help reduce civil liability. No State mandates the 6 steps you have outlined.

    If you are interested on how/when the "6 steps' were developed - contact me. I'll give you a detailed explaination.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    Thanks, I had talked with a friend that is also a LPO with a different merchant. He had told me that parents had to be called with in 60 minutes and that a child can only be released to parents, guardians or the police. I guess now; that this would be his employers SOPs and not a standard for all LPs. I just can not imagine that as a civil servant that I am bound by law to contact the parents before releasing a minor to someone that is not a parent or guardian, and that a LP could.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    Take it up with the police. The LP released the kids to the police and they in turn released them to the other lady.

    Not LP's problem.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    "40-7-116. Theft - Detention of suspect by merchant or peace officer."

    I would appreciate knowing under what statute or code this comes from. Many thanks! LP

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    Texas theft/shoplifting laws.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    Quote Quoting Security Consultant
    View Post
    Here's the section of Texas statute that applys:
    I think that's from Tennessee.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fourteen-Year-Old Caught Shoplifting

    My bad - heres the correct statute:

    § 31.01. Definitions


    (2) "Deprive" means:


    (A) to withhold property from the owner permanently or for so extended a period of time that a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property is lost to the owner;
    (B) to restore property only upon payment of reward or other compensation; or
    (C) to dispose of property in a manner that makes recovery of the property by the owner unlikely.


    (4) "Appropriate" means:


    (A) to bring about a transfer or purported transfer of title to or other nonpossessory interest in property, whether to the actor or another; or
    (B) to acquire or otherwise exercise control over property other than real property.


    (5) "Property" means:


    (A) real property;
    (B) tangible or intangible personal property including anything severed from land; or
    (C) a document, including money, that represents or embodies anything of value.


    (7) "Steal" means to acquire property or service by theft.


    § 31.02. Consolidation of Theft Offenses


    Theft as defined in Section 31.03 constitutes a single offense superseding the separate offenses previously known as theft, theft by false pretext, conversion by a bailee, theft from the person, shoplifting, acquisition of property by threat, swindling, swindling by worthless check, embezzlement, extortion, receiving or concealing embezzled property, and receiving or concealing stolen property.


    § 31.03. Theft


    (a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.
    (b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if:


    (1) it is without the owner's effective consent;
    (2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or


    (c) For purposes of Subsection (b):


    (1) evidence that the actor has previously participated in recent transactions other than, but similar to, that which the prosecution is based is admissible for the purpose of showing knowledge or intent and the issues of knowledge or intent are raised by the actor's plea of not guilty;


    (e) Except as provided by Subsection (f), an offense under this section is:


    (1) a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is less than:


    (A) $50; or
    (B) $20 and the defendant obtained the property by issuing or passing a check or similar sight order in a manner described by Section 31.06;


    (2) a Class B misdemeanor if:


    (A) the value of the property stolen is:


    (i) $50 or more but less than $500; or
    (ii) $20 or more but less than $500 and the defendant obtained the property by issuing or passing a check or similar sight order in a manner described by Section 31.06; or


    (B) the value of the property stolen is less than:


    (i) $50 and the defendant has previously been convicted of any grade of theft; or
    (ii) $20, the defendant has previously been convicted of any grade of theft, and the defendant obtained the property by issuing or passing a check or similar sight order in a manner described by Section 31.06;


    (3) a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is $500 or more but less than $1,500;


    (4) a state jail felony if:


    (A) the value of the property stolen is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000, or the property is less than 10 head of cattle, horses, or exotic livestock or exotic fowl as defined by Section 142.001, Agriculture Code, or any part thereof under the value of $20,000, or less than 100 head of sheep, swine, or goats or any part thereof under the value of $20,000;


    (B) regardless of value, the property is stolen from the person of another or from a human corpse or grave;


    (C) the property stolen is a firearm, as defined by Section 46.01; or


    (D) the value of the property stolen is less than $1,500 and the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of any grade of theft;


    (5) a felony of the third degree if the value of the property stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, or the property is:


    (6) a felony of the second degree if the value of the property stolen is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or


    (7) a felony of the first degree if the value of the property stolen is $200,000 or more.


    (f) An offense described for purposes of punishment by Subsections (e)(1)-(6) is increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:
    § 31.08. Value


    (a) Subject to the additional criteria of Subsections (b) and (c), value under this chapter is:


    (1) the fair market value of the property or service at the time and place of the offense; or
    (2) if the fair market value of the property cannot be ascertained, the cost of replacing the property within a reasonable time after the theft.


    (c) If property or service has value that cannot be reasonably ascertained by the criteria set forth in Subsections (a) and (b), the property or service is deemed to have a value of $500 or more but less than $1,500.


    (d) If the actor proves by a preponderance of the evidence that he gave consideration for or had a legal interest in the property or service stolen, the amount of the consideration or the value of the interest so proven shall be deducted from the value of the property or service ascertained under Subsection (a), (b), or (c) to determine value for purposes of this chapter.

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