I was arrested for stealing from Target — but the self-checkout was to blame, even though I stole from the store eight times

A criminal justice professor has been arrested eight times for shoplifting at Target, but he claims he’s not to blame.

According to the new lawsuit brought by alleged thief Dr. Bruce Carroll pinned the flawed self-checkout design behind the whopping $629.02 in merchandise stolen from the store.

The alleged thief and former criminal law professor, Dr. Bruce Carroll, has claimed in a new lawsuit that Self-Checkout was behind his eight thefts

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The alleged thief and former criminal law professor, Dr. Bruce Carroll, has claimed in a new lawsuit that Self-Checkout was behind his eight theftsPhoto credit: Gwinnett County PD
Carroll quoted a TikTok attorney who explained that shoppers may now inadvertently pay for items but still be treated like thieves

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Carroll quoted a TikTok attorney who explained that shoppers may now inadvertently pay for items but still be treated like thievesPhoto credit: Getty
Carroll was arrested last year for allegedly stealing $629.02 worth of merchandise from a store near the campus where he used to work

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Carroll was arrested last year for allegedly stealing $629.02 worth of merchandise from a store near the campus where he used to workPhoto credit: Getty

The professor, who is a former faculty chair of Georgia Gwinnett College’s criminal justice program, was arrested for stealing from a target near campus, Fox5Atlanta reported.

Despite being arrested for the alleged crime last year, it was only this month that he filed a lawsuit against the Board of Regents.

Carroll said he was suspended without pay in April but also said he was placed on a diversionary scheme that would see the charges dropped.

In the lawsuit, he claimed he suffered from “post-traumatic stress disorder” at the time of his arrest, caused by a “traumatic experience” the details of which he does not recall.

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The lawsuit also states that “several criminal defense attorneys have publicly warned consumers against using self-checkout” and went so far as to include a link to a TikTok video of defense attorney Carrie Jernigan.

In the video, the attorney warned of the dangers of self-checkout, saying even if you don’t intentionally steal, you could run into asset protection issues.

Jernigan said some people “accidentally” steal when they forget to scan a specific item at the self-service counter.

Meanwhile, willful thieves have become very adept at tactics like barcode swapping, meaning you’re scanning a significantly cheaper item instead of a more expensive one to save money.

However, she warned that Walmart and other major retailers could consider the accidental error a serious issue given how difficult it is to distinguish the two incidents.

“These big department stores aren’t going to spend their time and resources trying to decide if you stole it on purpose or if it was a mistake,” Jernigan says in the video.

“They’ve lost all empathy and are just taking a ‘tell the judge’ approach.”

While isolated incidents of “accidental theft” can be a problem, it’s unclear how this could have happened eight times in Carroll’s case.

He stole 19 items during his visits, including products such as wine glasses, dog food, chocolate and socks, according to loss prevention officials.

Major retailers have declared war on theft and thousands of shoppers have been affected.

Retail crime rose 26 percent last year, threatening several companies including Target, Walmart and Walgreens.

Target is expected to lose $600 million in profits to crime, while Walgreens reported a 52 percent increase in crime since 2019.

A 2022 study by NRF found that organized retail crime was causing stock levels to shrink — or when a store has fewer products on its shelves — more than ever recorded in its inventory.

Reported losses for retailers last year totaled $94.5 billion, according to the NRF.

“These are highly organised, structured criminal networks that are often implicated in other crimes,” said David Johnston, NRF’s vice president of asset protection and retail operations.

With that in mind, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Walmart and Walgreens joined dozens of other retailers and industry groups to pen a letter to convention leaders in October.

The letter urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would require online marketplaces to verify the identity of third-party sellers selling large numbers of goods.

The INFORM Consumers Act passed the US House of Representatives last month and is awaiting a vote in the US Senate.

Another bill aims to establish a retail organized crime center within the Department of Homeland Security to facilitate training and information sharing across the country.

It’s unclear whether this proposed law could affect ancillary businesses that use third-party providers to sell items on platforms like Amazon and Shopify.

While those doing the sideline jobs do not steal items, there are no guarantees that they were lawfully obtained from suppliers.

Retail theft is “not a victimless crime,” Johnston said.

“It’s not just affecting those who make millions and billions.

“Organized retail theft affects everyone and when national retailers discuss price increases or store closures as a result, it slowly seeps into the community.”

In Carroll’s lawsuit, he is seeking both back pay and damages for “the pain and emotional distress, humiliation and loss of reputation inflicted on him” after he was suspended

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6975158/shoplifting-arrested-target-self-checkout-lawsuit/ I was arrested for stealing from Target — but the self-checkout was to blame, even though I stole from the store eight times

DevanCole

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