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I saw someone Shoplifting? What do I do?


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Hi All.
So I was at American Eagle today and saw a woman shove in a tee shirt in her bag. I later checked that the tee was marked down for 9.00 but it was still stealing.... I didnt tell the salesperson because I didnt want to get her in trouble and also because I am a coward!!
I have seen something similar at Sephora...

So what do you guys do when you see someone shoplifting?
24 Replies (last)
I would tell the employee and let them take care of it...

But some stores wont do anything, they dont want to risk lawsuits over wrongful detention and things like that (and they cant actually do anything until the person leaves the store)... its a really messy business.

But either way, you shouldnt be worried about the person who was shoplifting....that kind of thing is just basic trash behaviour (and its what ruins things for everyone else).

I would very discreetly tell an employee, even the cashier if there was no one else around. It would be the right thing to do.

#3  
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Tell the employee but never confront the shoplifter yourself. If the employee doesn't seem to know what to do then grab a different employee as quick as possible.

Stealing is not fair to anyone. It's the ultimate selfishness. The woman DESERVED to get in trouble. =/

give her the shirt that you've been wanting, and tell her to put IT in her bag as well (then meet her in the parking lot later)
I wouldn't say anything. You never know how people are going to act these days...
Oh, and I liked Moody's suggestion too! :)

Commend her later for sticking it to the man.

Please make the store aware of it.  Some shoplifters will frequent stores that they know they won't get caught in.  Think of it this way: we pay in the end for their 5 finger discount. 
I'd let someone know in the future.  Walk up to security or an employee and say, "Hey, I just saw someone stealing.  She put a shirt in her bag and I'm pretty sure she hadn't paid for it."  If they do something, they do something.  If they don't, you still sleep better at night knowing you tried.

Definitely tell an employee.  Although they won't be able to do anything about the shirt she already stuffed in her purse (since they actually have to see it happen), they can at least keep an eye on her and stop her if she tries to steal something else.  Thieves cause lost profits for stores, which results in higher prices - so the rest of us have to pay more to make up for their stealing!

just curious, ahsa - what did you expect to hear?  obviously what you "should" do is report the theft. 
If they have to actually see the person steal then why do stores bother with the little alarm thingys at the door?  I mean, if I were to walk out with something that sets the alarm off and my receipt doesn't show that I paid for it, they could arrest me for shoplifting whether they saw me stuff it in the bag or not... We may have different laws about it here though.

But yeah, you should probably tell somebody if you see it, let the store choose whether to do anything or not.  Frankly, I'm rarely paying close enough attention to other shoppers that I'd notice if they were taking something.
Original Post by moodymomma1977:

give her the shirt that you've been wanting, and tell her to put IT in her bag as well (then meet her in the parking lot later)

 hahaha! What a perfect idea!

Original Post by lilsammi23:

If they have to actually see the person steal then why do stores bother with the little alarm thingys at the door?  I mean, if I were to walk out with something that sets the alarm off and my receipt doesn't show that I paid for it, they could arrest me for shoplifting whether they saw me stuff it in the bag or not... We may have different laws about it here though.

But yeah, you should probably tell somebody if you see it, let the store choose whether to do anything or not.  Frankly, I'm rarely paying close enough attention to other shoppers that I'd notice if they were taking something.

 That is not a law, but it's pretty hard to accuse someone of something if you didn't see them do it.  Any case could get thrown out for wrongful detention if you don't have enough proof to make a "stop".  I used to work in retail for a long time in management, and my husband worked in loss prevention, so that's pretty much how it works.  As far as the alarms at the door  - that is more for prevention than anything.  If the shoplifter sees those things at the door (sometimes they don't even work, LOL) they are less likely to take something for fear of getting caught.  However if the alarm DOES go off - how often do you ever see anyone react?  Not often!  But, if an employee does follow the person out, there is nothing to stop them from asking the person to open their bag - at that point they are not accusing them of anything; they are just making sure all the magnetic tags were properly taken off.  If they person doesn't have a receipt, well, it becomes a problem.  If the person takes of running, usually the employee will not follow (all the places I worked had a do not pursue rule) for the employee's safety.  Again, none of these are laws, just general rules most stores go by based on experience.

 Stores can only do something IF they have tape of the person doing it, or an officer of the law (not some mall security person) has good REASON to believe its been done.

But its not your place to mention it, if they person can get away with it let them.   I hate theft, and i do think its wrong, but if one takes pride in their work and can do it without getting caught, more power to them... its only the scrubs that can't do it properly that should be thrown in jail. 

most stores only put security tags on the expensive items; walking out with a tee-shirt is relatively easy.

just an aside: years ago i worked at eddie bauer in vancouver, and i approached this man to ask if i could help him with anything.  he immediately launched into the standard, "I'm looking for something for my wife - she's about your size" routine, then flashed a badge and whispered that he was vancouver PD following a suspected shoplifter.  it was so cool - i felt like a spy!!
puppy, if a theft is witnessed by a customer, isn't that reason enough to call the thief a "scrub" and say they haven't done their job properly?
Tags are easy to get off,  either a wire snip, a toe nail clipper, small magnet, or cats claw can pop them right off.   Every store has blind spots, even walmart!   Third, to get past that stupid security system at the end, go to one store beforehand look in the wallets, there are little squre tags generally, slip the tag in your pocket, you will set off the alarms now.   Walk into your store set off the alarm look at the upfront person and just shrug, they will just let you in and say some cell phones just set it off.     Take what you want take tags off there or later... as you walk out you'll buzz.   Stop look at the girl up front again and just laugh and she will say, "Oh i saw you come in and you beeped.... just go *smile*"     ...so simple.
Yes, it is, but some times you gotta give them the benifit of the doubt, in a busy store it can be hard to get things out totally unoticed ^_^.

I wouldn't say a damn thing. Just say to myself "hell nah she didn't!" and keep steppin'

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