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what happens if a Citizen's Arrest subject excapes prior to cops arrival?

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  • what happens if a Citizen's Arrest subject excapes prior to cops arrival?

    For the sake of argument, suppose you have his name or "street name" and/or he is generally "known to the police" (they ALWAYS are LOL).

    Since we aren't paid enough, and certainly don't have the same support as police, it would be a rare case where I'd even consider going "hands on" with Citizen's Arrest.

    But if Subject "breaks away" after otherwise lawful and legit CA, and IIRC the cops are "required" to take any CA seriously and take subject into custody or something, what happens if subject is no longer present?

    Are cops in anyway required to help or get involved in a meaningful way?

    I'm guessing this varies greatly by State, since IIRC in MI only Felonies are OK for Citizen's Arrests (by guard or others).


  • #2
    It depends on the crime. Seattle, for example, has essentially decriminalized shoplifting, so if the suspect got away from the merchant or LP officer, I can tell you most likely nothing will happen. For felony assaults, however, they will make a reasonable effort to look for and apprehend the suspect. The other issue is citizen's arrest, at least in WA, is still legal but highly discouraged. It really has to be "...a felony committed in the presence of the (security) officer."

    What I've found is the more evidence & information you have, the more likely PD will act. Let's say you detain a metal thief at your site and he escapes. You have no cameras, no partner as a witness, etc. If the cops did catch him, you know what he'd say - he was lost, didn't see the giant "NO TRESPASSING" sign, and when he stopped and asked you for directions to the methadone clinic, you grabbed him and he got scared and ran away. The case would never get past the prosecutor's first review, if it even got that far.

    Not to go too far off subject, but I blame judges rather than the police. Judges have forgotten that law abiding citizens have rights too. A Seattle judge just this week let a rape suspect go on $1.00 bail, because the rape kit from ten years ago only got processed in 2016, and the suspect was tracked down in another state this year. Never mind that he has a conviction for raping a 14 year girl, and the crime he's accused of here is kidnapping and attacking a homeless woman.

    And I'm sure in gratitude for being released for the cost of a small soda, this guy will stay in touch with the court, his probation officer, etc. and become a model citizen.
    Last edited by Condo Guard; 06-09-2018, 02:26 PM.

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    • #3
      Not a thing. A report would indicate that the subject fled. It's up to the DA if they would go to Warrant or not. There won't be a manhunt for him.
      And no, they aren't "always known".

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