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Why do wrongful charges of shoplifting occur?

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Shoplifting costs U.S. retailers billions every year. Reports put their losses for 2021 at $95 billion. So it is understandable that stores want to do all they can to prevent people from walking out of their stores with goods they have not bought. Yet, sometimes, they go too far.

Each year, many people face harrowing experiences due to wrongful accusations and arrests over alleged shoplifting. Here are some of the reasons stores get it wrong:

They refuse to believe honest mistakes

Imagine your mom rings to tell you that your dad has been taken to hospital while you are shopping. You might run out of the changing room forgetting you are still wearing an unpaid item of clothing.

If you are shopping with a toddler, the security guard might not believe you when you say you had no idea your child had grabbed an item and put it in the buggy while you were not looking.

They rely on poor evidence

If you have ever seen camera footage on a crime show or the news, you’ll know it’s often grainy and of generally poor quality. Stores and the police must exercise extreme caution when identifying suspects from it, but unfortunately, they sometimes don’t.

Store staff or bystanders might also give inaccurate descriptions of someone they saw, leading to police arresting the wrong person.

The law says you are innocent until proven guilty. If a store accuses you of shoplifting it probably won’t feel like that. Getting urgent help to learn more about your legal rights and options will be crucial to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.