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  1. #1
    IMGreat101's Avatar
    IMGreat101 is offline The Butcher
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    Did they go too far?

    "From our preliminary investigation, it appears we may not have handled this matter in the best possible way. We are taking this situation seriously, and giving it our full attention," Safeway said in a statement on Saturday.
    Read more: Parents Arrested, Lose Custody Over $5 Theft - Des Moines News Story - KCCI Des Moines

    Store security did their job. The police arrested them. I overheard a customer tell her kids once, "You cannot eat what we have not paid for." The moment you conceal a product you have not paid for, you are stealing.
    We have had incidents where parents were separated from children. Usually someone can come pick them up.

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  2. #2
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Yes -- she consumed merchandise and never paid for it. Based on the totality of the circumstances in the article, I'm not sure that prosecution was the wisest choice. The "I forgot argument" is, given ONLY the information in the article, credible. Obviously, had she thrown the wrappers away or otherwise tried to conceal the fact that she ate the sandwiches, that would change things.

    But... she was 30 weeks pregnant. With other another kid present. And her husband. And she paid for quite a bit more, and in one account I saw briefly last night, they offered to pay. OK, take the hard line. Charge one, not both. Or get the info, and prosecute in, say, 3 months. I'm kind of curious about the custodial arrest; I have the authority generally to release on a summons for shoplifting, and custodial arrest for such an offense is rare. Especially with complications like pregnancy and kids present...

    Safeway needs to look at what happened. I'm not absolutely saying that nobody should have been arrested -- but I kind of agree with their statement: It may not have been the best way to handle the situation.
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  3. #3
    mavriktu's Avatar
    mavriktu is offline Patrol Sgt.
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    Here we at least have the option of issuing a misdeameanor summons,just like a traffic ticket,and will release them,but they still have to go to court.I do feel it was overkill,the store could have demanded they pay,than "request" they not return,or any one of other available options.

  4. #4
    Five-0's Avatar
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    Our bigger merchandisers usually will not prosecute over something this small. It is not worth their personnel's time in court. We might be asked to trespass them.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

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  5. #5
    Xiphos's Avatar
    Xiphos is online now I Void Warranties
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    My wife has eaten food or had drinks while shopping. She has several kids in tow and it's a long trip to get everything we need and the kids are hungry, thirsty, and cranky. She always saves the wrappers with food in the cart. The empty wrappers are put with all the other food. The cashiers ring it up like everything else. No big deal. You can't do that with food that has to be weighed though so she doesn't let the kids eat grapes or apples.

    I'm curious how this couple "forgot" to pay? Did they throw away the packaging or conceal it? What I described above is obviously routine because the cashiers always know what to do and aren't surprised. In the news story it sounds like security waited for the couple to pay to see if they paid for the food they consumed, which is reasonable in my book.

    I wonder if the couple had previous theft convictions that bumped up the $5 to a felony and resulted in mandatory arrest? Waiting for CPS to come get the kids is a huge pain in the ass and I'm sure the cops would have avoided it if at all possible.

    At my last job there was a woman in town who was shopping at the store and had her recyclable shopping bags. She was placing items in the shopping bags and was stopped by security for "concealing" merchandise. The cops are in a bad spot because technically she was violating the law but nobody believed she was attempting to steal (they were shopping bags, duh). http://www.roanoke.com/columnists/kennedy/wb/15671
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  6. #6
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    VA Code 18.2-103, Concealment, requires intent:
    Whoever, without authority, with the intention of converting goods or merchandise to his own or another's use without having paid the full purchase price thereof, or of defrauding the owner of the value of the goods or merchandise...

    Using a shopping bag, or whatever, to simply carry stuff within the store is not illegal.

    Lots of people shop, open and eat a few cookies or whatever, while shopping. If they pay, no big deal -- but it's not something I personally do.

    As I said -- based solely on the article, there were options. But I don't know beyond what's listed, so the cops may not have had much choice.
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  7. #7
    berserk is offline The reason they do psych evals
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    Using a shopping bag, or whatever, to simply carry stuff within the store is not illegal.
    Agreed. The same code goes on to say "The willful concealment of goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, while still on the premises thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to convert and defraud the owner thereof out of the value of the goods or merchandise," but prima facie isn't dispositive.

    We've got a similar provision in our theft statute, but I wouldn't even think of charging under those circumstances. The security guards may not be happy with me, but that's okay.

  8. #8
    121Traffic's Avatar
    121Traffic is offline Just Us
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    Quote Originally Posted by berserk View Post
    Agreed. The same code goes on to say "The willful concealment of goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, while still on the premises thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to convert and defraud the owner thereof out of the value of the goods or merchandise," but prima facie isn't dispositive.

    We've got a similar provision in our theft statute, but I wouldn't even think of charging under those circumstances. The security guards may not be happy with me, but that's okay.
    Yep. Letter of the Law vs. Spirit of the Law. Just like anything else, we have the discretion to use the totality of the circumstances to articulate a crime. Just because something might be "prima facie" per the statute doesn't mean I'm required to make an arrest or take ANY enforcement action.
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  9. #9
    abom334's Avatar
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    The fact that they did not CTA them and took the child away for a theft III is ridiculous. This is not a mandatory arrest therefore discretion should have been used here.

 

 

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