The Negligent Detention of Shoplifters

  I’d like to share a case of Negligent Detention by a major retailer of two “suspected shoplifters” that took place over two years ago. Of course, I’m not naming the subjects or retailer involved, but can tell you this case was settled, in...

The suspects also repeatedly asked for security or a manager to question the cashier to determine if there was a connection with them. The senior LPO finally left the office and questioned the cashier whose response was she didn’t know the suspects. While at the register, the Head Cashier told the LPO that this was the cashier’s first day on the registers where she was allowed to ring customers without supervision and she had caught the cashier ringing merchandise without removing the EAS tags and in fact had failed to ring some of the customers’ merchandise.
At this point, the suspects had been detained in the office about two hours and you would think they would have been immediately released, their purchase properly recorded, apologized to by the Store Manager and given some sort of minor compensation (gift certificate) for their inconvenience – but that was not the case. The LPO took the cashier to another office, questioned her further and took the time to write up a violation notice, all while the suspects were detained and guarded in another office.
Only after this were the suspects released. They were never apologized to and when they asked for the name of the senior LPO and the store manager they were told, “it’s none of your business” and were asked to immediately leave the store. They still wanted the merchandise and the Head Cashier properly rang the sale, removed all of the remaining EAS tags, and then summarily escorted out of the store.

Other interesting facts about this case include, 1)  During the discovery it was determined, through the stores records, 2) the cashier was a new hire and had only completed a few days of the retailer's mandatory five-week cashier training program and, 3) the senior LPO had been disciplined before by another retailer for a like situation. The retailer, in this case, knew this when the LPO was hired.
I share this case as it points out that by using a little commonsense this entire situation could have been avoided. The Plaintiff’s attorney hired me in this case and when I talked with the Plaintiff she repeatedly told me all she wanted at the time this occurred was an apology from the manager, but he refused to talk to her at the time. Let’s see here….. an sincere apology or a major 6-figure settlement what would you have done?