Submitted by Humbcaught in Illegalism

I went to Walmart with a magnet stack to try and get a Roku streambar tried it out and didn’t work so I went to shove a blowtorch up my jacket and someone walked into the aisle as I was doing it but I wasn’t sure if they saw me I went to leave but decided to go back to get two more blowtorches and as I was getting them noticed a guy leaking behind a corner but thought nothing of it, he disappeared and I went to walkout but as I did the corner guy came up behind me and told me to hand him the items and come to his office if I had lied said I had nothing and started walking what would he do? Are they allowed to psychically stop or search me? Is it true running ups the charge to robbery? The police searched me and found my stack but they didn’t mention anything about upping my charge that’s probably up to the prosecutors office and the store isn’t pressing charges.



You must log in or register to comment.

hellofriendilu wrote

Requisite disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice:

In the United States there's something called Shopkeeper's privilege, which allows them the privilege of detention of a person that is suspected of shoplifting. There are 4 requisite conditions of the shopkeeper's privilege.

  1. the shopkeeper has to have reasonable grounds to suspect a person.
  2. Only reasonable, nondeadly force can be used to effect a detention.
  3. The detention can only last as long as the time necessary to make a reasonable investigation of the facts.
  4. The investigation has to be conducted near or on the premises and the detention should be either in the store or in the immediate vicinity. Common law generally allows the pursuit to recapture stolen goods, but stores will typically dissuade pursuit because it opens up a different set of liability.

So the answer is maybe you could have gotten away if you ran and ran fast enough, they probably wouldn't chase you. but also there's cameras in the parking lot so it wouldn't be hard to figure out which way you went. If you were in a car they'd have your plate numbers. And they can, if they want to, physically force you to comply, but they have to "be reasonable" which, you know, doesn't mean much.


GoodOldWorkingClass wrote

You're not a lawyer, you're not giving legal advice but ..... .... why the fcuk do you have standing to say ANYTHING?

reasonable grounds, reasonable force, reasonable investigation, .... nice sounding phrases but vague as hell. Who's to say what's reasonable?

Shopkeepers' privilege is an archaic law that doesn't quite make today's standards of clarity and enforceability, let alone hold in court. Best answer to the OP is that there's no way to know what would've happened if he'd run. It would've all depended on the guy asking him to cooperate. That said, if he'd handed over the items and then ran, it's hard to imagine the motivation to chase him beyond store premises, as merch is recovered.


hellofriendilu wrote (edited )

why the fcuk do you have standing to say ANYTHING?

I'm in school to become a legal worker. I thought some context might be helpful considering that OP asked if they are physically allowed to stop them. The short answer is yes, because of shopkeeper's privilege.

Who's to say what's reasonable?

A judge, usually. I didn't write the language, just passing on what it is. If you're mad at the vagaries of American law then idk what to tell you because it's literally entirely bullshit that's balanced on the fiction that a piece of paper has the capital a authority over everything on so-called American land.

Shopkeepers' privilege is an archaic law that doesn't quite make today's standards of clarity and enforceability, let alone hold in court.

Eeeeeeh, the common law concept has been made into state statute, so it isn't like it isn't a thing that exists in law. It does. It's just called things like Section 218 of the New York General Business Law or California Penal Code Part 1 Title 13 Chapter 5 490.5.f. Without knowing there OP lives it's not super effective to point out each state's individual answers.


GoodOldWorkingClass wrote

Mr. Future Legal Worker

Did you know that not long ago the state of Georgia had a law that said no person may vote if they've been dead for more than three years?

Point: just because a law is on the books doesn't make it enforceable. Any cop worth his salt will tell you that enforcement on the street is quite another matter. At least a cop can justify his use of force in court by saying he acted in good faith and his word would go far just because of his status, but LP is just a private citizen. What excuse is there for beating the sh!t out someone and detaining them to your heart's content without calling the real law enforcement?

You say a judge gets to decide what's reasonable force.

Wrong! A judge gets to whether it WAS reasonable force or not, months after the event. I'm talking about what happens in the moment. It's just you and LP. How would it work out if you were the lifter, I was the LP, beat the living sh!t out of you because, you know what? you might've had a very sharp knife in your pocket. I don't know what you might have done to me or others. "It was all for everyone's safety your honor"

All around, I'd say this is not a can of worms you want to open. I think we can leave this at the agreement that Shopkeeper's law, like any other old law, is too vague to be of any use today, and that if it gets invoked in court, it's only to justify a course of action decided without it being considered in the first place.


hellofriendilu wrote

Hey, first off please don't refer to me as Mr. anything. I have my pronouns listed clearly on my profile. It isn't hard to check.

Someone asked a question about a subject matter that I'm currently studying. I made it clear that I wasn't offering advice, just pointing out an answer to a question - does LP have a right to get physical? The answer is yes. Is there language like "reasonable" and "unreasonable" written into law? Again the answer is yes. Look up the reasonable person doctrine. That's a valid legal standard. A person is allowed to do what they want and then a judge decides after the fact, if it was indeed reasonable. That's how it works. This is literally why cops will say that they had "reasonable suspicion" when they pull someone over or do a stop and frisk. It doesn't matter if they actually had reason, they said it was reasonable because that's what the law requires.

Be mad at the law, absolutely, it's fucking ridiculous. But leave me out of it. I answered a question.


GoodOldWorkingClass wrote (edited )

I think what prompted my response is the all-too-common "I'm not a lawyer but ..." which I hear all the time. You're not a lawyer but you have an opinion. So do all of us and I hate to break it you but even if you were a lawyer you still wouldn't exactly have me hypnotized. There's very little you can tell me I can't find written somewhere.

As for answering his questions, since all we have is opinions, I think I can make a try, just like the next guy:

if I had lied said I had nothing and started walking what would he do?

No real way to know without knowing the LP personally. He could be someone who lets you go or some hot head who thinks he's special forces. Real stories of both extremes abound.

Are they allowed to psychically stop or search me?

They're only allowed to detain you if they're making a citizen's arrest, which has nothing to do with Shopkeeper's Law nor with the fact that they're LP. Anyone may make an citizen's arrest if they find you committing an offence (in this case shoplifting). As for searching during an arrest, I believe that's a no-no. It's the exclusive privilege of law enforcement in most jurisdictions. n

Is it true running ups the charge to robbery?

Again, no way to say for sure. Depends on particular state law.


hellofriendilu wrote

all-too-common "I'm not a lawyer but ..." which I hear all the time.

Right but as a person who is going into legal work I am actually obligated to say that by the fact that I am not a lawyer and nothing I say should be construed as legal advice. Specifically because should my irl name get attached to something that could look like legal advice I could be charged with a felony.


granite wrote

Dog if you wanted real advise. You should have ran. Nobody is going to tackle you over a Roku and a blow torch. You could have taken your chances and not be seen again for a few weeks and voila! You can re enter that same store knowing very well you have at the least one more chance to do it again before they attempt to save the video footage. Now give it at the least 6 weeks of course, cause them video surveillance cameras they use at Walmart superseed Pentagons security cameras.


jbrn3237 wrote

Had friends get tackled years ago over one-hour photos they had not paid for when they ran there years ago; I've been gripped up at similar box stores too. That's not to say I haven't successfully outran them before too, but that's usually only when I saw lp coming. One time I saw the lp following me after I pocketed something and managed to wait them out until their shift was over haha


Demona wrote

I've been stopped at the doors when leaving a handful of times. I am a female and I'm assuming this sometimes leads to LP acting more bold/less fearful of potential harm when stopping us. In my experiences, every time I've been stopped when exiting, the LP workers would block the doorway entirely, and grab my shopping cart (which had items I had legit paid for, my lifted items would be kept in my purse).

I've understood Walmarts corporate policy to be never to block an exit or grab carts/customers physically if they suspect shoplifting, of course they do it all the time. But when I do see them violating those policies, I've gotten in the habit of getting out my cell phone and recording it on video, so if nothing else I can submit it to corporate later and make the assholes lose their job (I've been successful with this in the past).

When reaching for my phone in these situations, I've learned that when I am reaching inside my purse to get it, just the action of "my hand reaching into my purse" has so far always caused all of the LP people to suddenly let go of my cart and move out of my way to allow me to exit. I'm assuming this is because they are worried I'm reaching for a weapon? Nonetheless, if that is of any use to anyone, there it is. Reaching into my purse for my phone has gotten me off the hook several times at different stores now.