Does TJ Maxx Prosecute Shoplifters?
TJ Maxx is one of the latest retail stores to become the target of shoplifters. The company was recently cited by Time magazine as a top example of “rack and run” behavior. As with many other retailers, TJ Maxx does not want the public to know that they are pursuing shoplifters. Rather, they would rather lose the merchandise than risk an employee getting hurt or even killed.
According to the Center for Retail Research, the typical shoplifter is between the ages of 22 and 30. They steal small items, such as jewelry, shoes, and perfumes. Shoplifters are not usually caught. However, some have been beaten by store security or even killed.
Shoplifters are also known to carry a weapon or fight back against store security. Typically, stores only have a single security guard. So if a suspect has a weapon, it is important to call the police immediately. Stores should also be sure to check surveillance footage to see if the person is a shoplifter or not. Sometimes, if a person is holding something against their pants or handbag, they may not have been a thief.
If you are suspected of shoplifting, it is important to talk to a criminal defense lawyer. This is because you may be charged with a crime that you did not commit. You may also have to pay restitution for the value of the stolen items. Depending on the circumstances, you can be convicted of a misdemeanor and face penalties such as a fine or community service. A misdemeanor is typically charged if the item stolen is under $950. Felony charges are filed if the item is worth more than that.
Depending on the situation, stores can decide to pursue charges against a shoplifter in civil court. In this case, the store can sue the thief in a lawsuit for damages. But, if the store does not want to go to court, they can choose to file charges in a police report.
When a store finds a shoplifter, it is a good idea to take note of the suspect’s ID, license plate, and escape route. It is also a good idea to check the wastebaskets for empty packages or items. Oftentimes, customers will cover up a barcode with a cheaper item. Once a suspect is identified, the store can file a criminal charge.
Depending on the severity of the shoplifting charge, the penalties can range from fines to prison time. If a person has a prior criminal record, their penalty can be more severe. While most shoplifting charges are classified as misdemeanors, if the value of the goods stolen exceeds $1000, the charges can be a felony. Moreover, if the person refuses to appear in court, a bench warrant can be issued.
Fortunately, the penalties for shoplifting are not as severe as they once were. With the passage of Prop 47, which lowered the criminal sentencing for non-violent crimes, a petty theft that costs less than $950 is now charged as a misdemeanor.