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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 68988 Find in a Library
Title: RETAILER'S SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION GUIDE
Corporate Author: Washington Office of the Attorney General
Washington Crime Watch
Temple of Justice
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Washington Office of the Attorney General
Olympia, WA 98504
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: RETAIL STORE OWNERS AND MANAGERS ARE GIVEN ADVICE ON HOW TO PREVENT, DETER, APPREHEND, AND DETAIN SHOPLIFTERS; AN OUTLINE OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SHOPLIFTING LAW IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON IS PROVIDED.
Abstract: RETAIL THEFT IN WASHINGTON IS COVERED BY GENERAL THEFT STATUTES. MOST SHOPLIFTING INVOLVES GOODS WORTH LESS THAN $250, A GROSS MISDEMEANOR WITH A MAXIMUM PENALTY OF $1,000 OR ONE YEAR IN JAIL. A CIVIL SHOPLIFTING LAW PASSED IN 1975 ALLOWS MERCHANTS TO SUE SHOPLIFTERS OR THE PARENTS OF SHOPLIFTERS WHO ARE MINORS FOR THE RETAIL VALUE OF GOODS NOT RECOVERED AND MONETARY PENALTIES. ALTHOUGH CRIMINAL CHARGES NEED NOT BE FILED FOR A CIVIL SUIT, MOST MERCHANTS ONLY SUE WHEN THE SUSPECT HAS BEEN ARRESTED, TO PREVENT EXTORTION CHARGES BY THE SUSPECT AND INSURE SUCCESS OF THE SUIT. IF CORRECT PROCEDURES ARE FOLLOWED, 80 PERCENT OF SHOPLIFTING SUSPECTS WILL PAY BEFORE THE CASE GOES TO COURT. PROCEDURES INCLUDE SENDING THE SUSPECT DEMAND LETTERS AND INSTITUTING COURT ACTION IF THE LETTERS ARE UNSUCCESSFUL. MERCHANTS MUST BE CAREFUL IN ACCUSING A CUSTOMER OF SHOPLIFTING TO AVOID FALSE ARREST SUITS; THEY MUST REMAIN REASONABLE AND POLITE, AVOID USING FORCE IN DETAINING A SUSPECT THAT MIGHT INJURE HIM, AND CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY. ONLY SUSPECTS ACCUSED OF FELONIES (THEFTS OVER $250 IN WASHINGTON STATE) MAY BE DETAINED UNTIL THE POLICE ARRIVE. STOLEN ITEMS AND SHOPLIFTING DEVICES SUCH AS LARGE PURSES AND OVERCOATS SHOULD BE PHOTOGRAPHED OR LABELED AND KEPT FOR EVIDENCE. SHOPLIFTERS OFTEN DISPLAY SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR SUCH AS WANDERING ABOUT THE STORE WITHOUT BEING INTERESTED IN MERCHANDISE OR SEEKING ISOLATED SPOTS; SHOPLIFTING METHODS INCLUDE CONCEALING MERCHANDISE OR USING ACCOMPLICES TO DISTRACT MERCHANTS. SHOPLIFTING MAY BE BEST PREVENTED BY A FIRM, COMPREHENSIVE, WELL-PUBLICIZED SHOPLIFTING POLICY AND PROPER STAFF SIZE AND STORE LAYOUT. OTHER HELPFUL PROCEDURES INVOLVE USING MIRRORS AND VIDEO CAMERAS TO OBSERVE THE FLOOR, SUPERVISING OR SECURING EXPENSIVE GOODS, AND USING ALARM SYSTEMS.
Index Term(s): Retail business crimes; Shoplifting; Washington
Note: REVISED VERSION
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68988

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