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Innocent people could accidentally look like shoplifters

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Posted By | January 31 2020 | Firm News, Theft & Property Crimes

The word shoplifting probably conjures an image of a person in an oversized coat shoving expensive items inside of it before walking out of the store without paying for anything. Concealing merchandise on your person or inside your clothing is certainly one form of shoplifting, but it is far from the only one.

Shoplifting can cost a company thousands of dollars a year, so many businesses will do everything in their power to minimize their losses to theft. Those who work in retail often receive training to watch for common signs of shoplifting, which can sometimes mean that innocent customers get accused of property crimes in a retail setting. Innocent actions you take in a store could look like shoplifting to retail employees, security staff or loss prevention professionals.

Whether you hold an item in your hands as you move through the store, try it on, or consume part of it while shopping, the potential exists for a confrontation before you even make it to the checkout in some cases. Other times, a simple mistake could be all that it takes to wind up detained while exiting a store and facing theft allegations in Colorado.

Shoplifting can look like many kinds of behaviors

As previously mentioned, shoplifting often involves somebody hiding an item on their person or in their clothing to take it from the store without paying. However, people can also place smaller, unpurchased items inside larger items or containers they then pay for, successfully getting the items out of the store without paying for them.

Sometimes, people alter or replace the price tag or barcode on an item. There are even people who create their own barcodes in an attempt to purchase an item for a price far below its actual value. Stores do have an obligation to uphold their advertised price on items, but that does not include when a customer intentionally alters the price for their own benefit.

Stacking items or forgetting them under your cart could lead to an arrest

Shoplifting, as with any kind of theft, requires intent to be a crime. If you can demonstrate that the circumstances leading up to your arrest were truly accidental, you may have the grounds for a defense strategy.

Whether you inadvertently placed one item inside of another without thinking about the potential consequences or simply forgot to present purchased items from the bottom of your cart to the cashier during checkout, unintentional mistakes could look like a criminal act if misinterpreted by others. Depending on the value of the items involved in the alleged shoplifting incident, you could face consequences that range from minor misdemeanor offenses to more serious felony offenses.

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