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Shoplifting: Methods

Types of Shoplifting - New York City Shoplifting Defense Attorney

Taking and walking out. This is the boldest, but one of quickest methods. It requires little or no planning, no preparation, and very little time to carry out. The most typical strategy would involve a high price item or items, a nearby exit, and a fast getaway. For example, a shoplifter might grab several expensive leather coats, run out a nearby exit and into a waiting getaway car. For this reason, stores often keep expensive merchandise as far from the exits as possible.

Concealment. This is the most common and intuitive strategy. The shoplifter identifies which item he or she wishes to steal, removes it from a shelf or display, and places it inside a shopping bag, back-pack, pocket, or other similar place. Detection is usually possible only if the concealing act was spotted by store security or if an alarm sounds upon exit.

Booster bags. These bags are usually lined with a material that disrupts communication between magnetic, microwave, or RFID tags and their respective readers at the exit. The bag also helps to conceal the merchandise. These bags appear normal on the outside and are often made from the store’s own shopping bag to further deter any suspicion.

Tag Switching. Ever wish that the $1,000.00 mink coat you’ve always wanted was only $29.95? Tag switching involves removing a high-priced tag and/or bar code and replacing it with one from a less expensive item. It can also occur when a shoplifter knowingly places an improperly cheap tag on an obviously more expensive item that is missing a price-tag. The resulting price difference is the amount stolen from the store. This strategy is less direct and affords greater defenses in the event the shoplifter is caught. Call the Law Office of Lance Fletcher for a consultation.

Group Shoplifting. Several individuals acting together may plan to steal a variety of goods, either for themselves, or for a criminal organization. By banding together, individual shoplifters can utilize the natural advantage of teamwork, shoplift in a less obvious manner, and, if caught, deflect responsibility.

Sweethearting. Much of what is stolen from retail stores occurs because of a practice called sweethearting. This happens when a store employee, such as a cashier, gives a friend a few Evaluation items by not scanning them. The cashier can do this by stacking items while only scanning the bottom item, covering the barcode, or by moving the items too quickly or in the wrong orientation for proper scanning. This is a popular practice and a huge challenge to retail establishments because no paper trail is left because the item is never scanned.

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