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  • Advice from fellow LP's in NEVADA??

    Hey everyone..

    Anybody out there, esp. in NEVADA got any insight for me on this...

    Suspect enters local groc. market on my shift... Picks up basket, and selects some aspirin off pharmacy shelf... then appears to be resuming his shopping.. after selecting other items.. he proceeds to checkout counter where the clerk informs him that he could not pay for non-food items with a foodstamp card.. (duh) He then asks clerk to hold items while he goes out to car to get cash. For whatever reason he then exits checkout line and heads to the restroom, (still holding the aspirin in his hand?!) He never made a attempt to exit store however. In any case, I entered restroom behind him and found that he was locked in one of the stalls... I loudly announced "Store security, open the stall! " He then replied that he was 'utilizing the facilities" Worried that he may have been flushing evidence or otherwise disposing of evidence I then kicked in the stall door. Upon entering the stall I found the suspect as he had said, in the process of relieving himself... The bottle of aspirin were on the toilet paper dispenser beside him... Not concealed or deposited in or on his person as I had initially suspected... I then made a arrest of the subject and notified the local PD... The suspect claimed he was in such a hurry to get to the restroom that he just didn't pay attention to the fact that he still had the aspirin in his hand... (whatever) Furthermore he claimed that he had no intention of stealing anything, and also claimed that he had just phoned his friend, who was supposedly either somewhere else in the store, or in the parking lot waiting for him, that he needed him "the friend" to bring him cash for the purchase of the aspirin. In any case I am concerned now in hindsight about possible repercussions for kicking in the stall door.. (violation of privacy?) Perhaps I was too rash? Regardless at my insistence, the responding officer did issue the suspect a citation to appear in court. So my question is... 1) Were my actions too severe? My boss thinks they may have been as obviously the suspect wasn't going anywhere, and had to exit the stall sooner or later. Also there is some concern over the fact that the suspect did not make any attempt to actually exit the store....

    Any opinions, advice, etc... would be most appreciated....

    again, this occurred in the state of NEVADA.

    Thanks,
    Dreamshadow
    Last edited by dreamshadow69; 10-26-2007, 02:27 PM. Reason: want notification

  • #2
    Dreamshadow69,

    As a Loss Prevention Manager for national sporting goods chain I have faced a simmilar situation with a male subject wearing hiking boots. The subject asked a sales associate if he could wear a pair of boots instead of putting his own shoes back on. Per our corporate policy the subject was told yes and placed his old shoes in the boot box. The subject and his wife continued shopping in the store while a rookie lp agent and myself maintained constant surveillance. About 15 minutes later the subject made his way to the front of the store and entered the restroom. The boot box remained in the wife's cart. At that time my new agent wanted to make contact with the male and effect an arrest due to the fact that the male had passed all the open POS with unpaid merch. I advised the agent to set up outside the main enterance and wait to see if the male would exit the store with the merchandise. Lucky for us, the man was of the honest variety and ended up paying for the boots and spending almost a thousand dollars in the store that day.

    So, why did tell the agent not to grab the subject?


    1) The male did not show clear INTENT to deprive my company of merchandise. Intent in this case would have been shown by the couple ditching the old boot box some place in the store.

    2) The merchadise was not CONCEALED( in my state we can make arrest of concealment of merchandise). Again that plays into intent as defined by COMMON LAW.

    3) Without clear probable cause of a CRIMINAL incident or other emergency in progress our private property owners rights did not OVERULE this customers rights for privacy. We are also directly forbidden to pull people out of a restroom for shoplifting offenses by Corporate policy in order to mitigate posible liability.

    With the incident as you described it my company would have a the very least placed me under some kind of disciplinary action, and more likely would have sent me home (permanently). Not to mention having to pay for any damages in the Steven Segall treatment of the restroom door.

    How could you have handled your situation differently?

    LOSS PREVENTION 101

    Attempt what in the Lp industry we call a burn. An example of a burn would be waiting outside of the restroom and when the subject comes out get creative with a cordless phone, cell phone, or two way radio. I think you would be surprised how effective it is to have a perp overhear a conversation with the Po Pos about some dude with asprin. If he is guilty he is likely to go back to the sales floor and dump the merch. If he is not guilty and has the asprin in his hand no big deal. Innocent people don't get wound up when they hear security talking about an asprin thief.

    AND if the dudes got a whopping $6 bottle of asprin shoved down near his equipment and isn't intimidated by your theatrics, BIG DEAL!

    $ 6.00 asprin bottle VS $100,000 lawsuit for litterally scaring the **** out of someone.

    If you work for a company that will bitch you out for letting something as little as a bottle of asprin out of the store, this is what you do. Flip out your wallet, pull out a ten dollar bill, tell them where to shove it, and go hit the classifieds hard because that company won't ever have your back.

    GOOD LUCK with all of this,

    Justice Hound
    We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
    -George Orwell

    Comment


    • #3
      Uh Oh!

      I have to agree with JUSTICE HOUND on his assessment, and add that if the district attorney drops the case, or (and I think this is unlikely based on your description of what happened) if they accept it for prosecution, but the jury finds the suspect not guilty, both your company AND YOU PERSONALLY are likely to be sued in civil court, and the suspect can file a criminal complaint with the district attorney, against you, for false arrest.

      You might want to look into whether your state has some type of merchant theft law which allows the agent of a business (which you fall under as long as the merchant has given you permission to handle shoplifters) to stop suspected shoplifters and confront them about suspected thefts. These type of laws oftem have a limited immunity section in them for the store's agent.

      For a reference on what I am talking about, refer to california law (found in the state penal code) 490.5 pc.

      GOOD LUCK.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yikes

        Be glad that the police didn't arrest you when they got to the store. Fortunately the officer sided with you, but I wouldn't count on that in a civil court. I'm sorry, but were I on the jury, I would side with the plaintiff.

        The hard thing about security (and LE) is maintaining our cool when we suspect that someone is flaunting the law. I know I've had my BP and pulse rate go up. People like to see how far they can push the envelope and get away with it. I feel for you though - hope it all goes away.
        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

        Comment


        • #5
          This is odd. A couple of days ago I viewed this situation posted on another website - the senario was posted by the guy with the asprin. Very interesting.... I'll do some research.
          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
          Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

          Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Security Consultant View Post
            This is odd. A couple of days ago I viewed this situation posted on another website - the senario was posted by the guy with the asprin. Very interesting.... I'll do some research.
            I think this LPO is going to need a bottle of that there aspirin too.
            Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Justice Hound - good to see a solid LP post without the war stories of Ninja's fast roping from the ceiling to affect an arrest on a SL. Agree with everything you said and yes $6.00 is the cost of an LP taking dump at work compared to a law suit of say $6m plus tax.
              "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dreamshadow69 View Post
                Hey everyone..

                Anybody out there, esp. in NEVADA got any insight for me on this...

                Suspect enters local groc. market on my shift... Picks up basket, and selects some aspirin off pharmacy shelf... then appears to be resuming his shopping.. after selecting other items.. he proceeds to checkout counter where the clerk informs him that he could not pay for non-food items with a foodstamp card.. (duh) He then asks clerk to hold items while he goes out to car to get cash. For whatever reason he then exits checkout line and heads to the restroom, (still holding the aspirin in his hand?!) He never made a attempt to exit store however. In any case, I entered restroom behind him and found that he was locked in one of the stalls... I loudly announced "Store security, open the stall! " He then replied that he was 'utilizing the facilities" Worried that he may have been flushing evidence or otherwise disposing of evidence I then kicked in the stall door. Upon entering the stall I found the suspect as he had said, in the process of relieving himself... The bottle of aspirin were on the toilet paper dispenser beside him... Not concealed or deposited in or on his person as I had initially suspected... I then made a arrest of the subject and notified the local PD... The suspect claimed he was in such a hurry to get to the restroom that he just didn't pay attention to the fact that he still had the aspirin in his hand... (whatever) Furthermore he claimed that he had no intention of stealing anything, and also claimed that he had just phoned his friend, who was supposedly either somewhere else in the store, or in the parking lot waiting for him, that he needed him "the friend" to bring him cash for the purchase of the aspirin. In any case I am concerned now in hindsight about possible repercussions for kicking in the stall door.. (violation of privacy?) Perhaps I was too rash? Regardless at my insistence, the responding officer did issue the suspect a citation to appear in court. So my question is... 1) Were my actions too severe? My boss thinks they may have been as obviously the suspect wasn't going anywhere, and had to exit the stall sooner or later. Also there is some concern over the fact that the suspect did not make any attempt to actually exit the store....

                Any opinions, advice, etc... would be most appreciated....

                again, this occurred in the state of NEVADA.

                Thanks,
                Dreamshadow
                The "shoplifter" you write about is seeking "legal" help on Expert Law forums. Here's the link: http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33347

                Did you really threaten to mace this guy?
                Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                Comment


                • #9
                  Since both sides of this have reservations about their actions, why not drop the charge if the defendant waives his right to sue? Then you're both off the hook.
                  Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    dreamshadow69, things to look into

                    dreamshadow69,

                    You should look into the merchant's previous responses to persons caught in the bathroom with merchandice. Were arrests made in all, some or none of those cases. If in some or all similar cases persons were arrested, what was the outcome of any court proceedings.

                    Has the person arrested even been caught in your store, or any of your merchants other stores, if any, shoplifting before. If so, research it, including his style of theft (ie- using bathroom as place to secrete items on himself.)

                    It might be well worth paying the money to have the suspect's past investigated by an online background check company to see what can be learned by that. Too bad you can't do the research on his criminal history by way of an NCIC check. Tells alot. By the way, have you gone to the arresting police department to ask about seeing the report. Most P.D.'S will not let you see anything but what you wrote, or what they wrote about you statement, but they might let you see more, which could be helpful. Remember, you are your best advocate.

                    While it should be the police officer's job to check into the suspect's background, if you learn something possibly important about the suspect's background that could positively impact the case in your favor, it might be worth it for you to learn what district attorney's offices have prosecuted the suspect for thefts, and then you could go to those district attorney's office. They should have the files on the suspect's cases which you can read. If you find similar "M.O.'S" (method of operation, or better put, the way he commits his crimes) which are similar to what he was doing in your store, it is something to show to the D.A. handling your case. (I must advise you that while the above info is good, you cannot use information you learn after the fact to justify anything you did during the incident.)

                    Finally, as asked previously on this thread, did you threaten to mace the suspect, while he was using the stall for relief purposes, or if you did threaten the use of mace, was it after he made comments or threats to do you harm or something similar. Hopefully the latter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      on threat to mace....

                      As I recall... Suspect exited the stall (after pulling up, and fastening his pants) :-) I instructed him to place his hands behind him so I could cuff him, he was slow to respond.. wanted to confuse the issue by stating that he hadn't done anything wrong... So, I held my mace up to his face and told him that if he didn't turn around and put his hands behind his back RIGHT NOW I would be forced to use my mace.. To which he quickly complied... I don't recall him making any dangerous moves or remarks... But my experience dictates that one can never be too careful....

                      Dream.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mr. Security View Post
                        Since both sides of this have reservations about their actions, why not drop the charge if the defendant waives his right to sue? Then you're both off the hook.
                        This looks like the best answer as you both seem to have much to loose should anyone peruse this matter. I like what you did to the bathroom but man if you simply stayed just outside the bathroom door to see if he concealed it or was openly carrying it out then made your decision as what action needed to be taken. On a side note if anyone ever interrupted me while in the middle of a good $$$$ then that person would be blowing bubbles trying to get oxygen. On top of IMO wrong what you did was just plain cold.
                        THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A 911 CALL IS FOUR MINUTES
                        THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A .357 MAGNUM ROUND IS 1400 FEET PER SECOND?
                        http://www.boondocksaints.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1 recall working early 1 Sunday morning as a store LPM and a call from CCTV reported a young male SL carrying a bag over EAS pedestals in mens jeans. I found him in the rest room "watering the plants" with a jeans leg and EAS tag dangling out a side compartment of his backpack. He walked past me and back in only to have EAS activate so I got closer to him (can't arrest him as I did not see selection or concealment). I followed him in a cat and mouse game around the store and took shortcuts to beat him to an exit. I grabbed a uniform LPO to visual encourage a dump but the kid ignored him stopping near an entry door to hand me $2k in BOSS jeans (not my size). A cop walking in spotted him doing this and detained him before he arrested him after a confession from the young bloke.
                          "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Based upon what was written, there is no case of shoplifting here that will ever be convicted. You don't have any proof of intent to steal. If there is a discussion of payment at the register, and the guy runs to the bathroom real fast, you cannot prove he intended to steal the item. Especially when he did not conceal anything.

                            In my opinion, you made a big mistake.

                            This is one of the drawbacks of just learning the 5 steps for an apprehension. They wind up taking good decision making out of the equation. Passing the last point of purchase without paying for merchandise is not a crime. This element is coupled with all the other elements, including concealing the merchandise. If they do not conceal the merchandise, you better do more to make sure there is some intent to steal that goes beyond passing the last point of purchase, because that is not going to fly if they do not leave the store.

                            Let this be a lesson to all about using GOOD JUDGEMENT in addition to following the guidelines set forth by your company.
                            www.plsolutions.net
                            www.customerloyaltysolutions.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Loss Prevention or Shoplifter????

                              Originally posted by Security Consultant View Post
                              The "shoplifter" you write about is seeking "legal" help on Expert Law forums. Here's the link: http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33347

                              Did you really threaten to mace this guy?
                              OK folks... here's the true scoop on this poster Dreamshadow69 This is the same person as Johnhill who is posting as the shoplifter on Expert Law http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33347 So...on this site you are the LP person and on Expert Law you are the shoplifter?

                              This information has been confirmed by a reliable source. If you are truly in LP, you now have no zero credibility on this site. If you are not truly an LP person and a shoplifter, as you write on Expert Law, you have falsified your registration on this site and will be dealt with. Which would you like to claim? LP or Shoplifter? Please circle the correct selection and get back to me. If you're embarrassed to answer in an open format, please send me a private message.
                              Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                              Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                              Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                              Comment

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