I’m a lawyer – if you accidentally steal from a self-checkout counter, cops can always arrest you later unless you take my warning

A LAWYER has warned that shoppers who accidentally steal items while using the self-checkout can still be arrested by police.

Self-checkout-related theft has become increasingly prevalent in recent years as the technology has been rolled out in stores and super centers.

A lawyer has warned that buyers who accidentally fail to scan items still face legal consequences

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A lawyer has warned that buyers who accidentally fail to scan items still face legal consequencesCredit: TikTok/sparkslawfirm
The legal expert warned that stores have cameras and check inventories so they know when an item hasn't been scanned

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The legal expert warned that stores have cameras and check inventories so they know when an item hasn’t been scannedCredit: TikTok/sparkslawfirm

Suspected shoplifters have been known to resort to tactics such as “passing around” where merchandise is not intentionally scanned.

Or they remove the sticker from a cheap item and stick it over something more expensive, known as a “switcheroo”.

However, an attorney for the Texas law firm Sparks has warned that customers who forget to scan items face legal consequences.

In a TikTok clip, he warned: “Be careful when using the self-checkout.”

I used to work at Walmart - we know if you steal even at the self checkout
Insights into the development of anti-theft measures at self-service checkouts

The lawyer revealed stores have cameras and inventory so they know when an item hasn’t been scanned at checkout.

He claimed: “They hand it over to the police. The police then get an arrest warrant and enter it into their system.”

The lawyer warned that if you conduct a traffic stop, cops could “knock on your door” or arrest you on charges of theft.

Legal experts warn of the risks that customers are exposed to when using self-checkout.

And Carrie Jernigan has divided the shoppers who get hit by the machines into three categories.

She said: “The first group of people to be charged with shoplifting at the self-checkout are [sic] People who go into the shops to steal.

“The second group of people who take up this charge, I will call accidental theft. These are the people I really think just forgot to scan an item.”

And the third group refers to those who are targeted after leaving the store.

Jernigan warned she wouldn’t get into trouble if the store investigated her lost inventory.

She explained, “It’s something that, for example, asset protection does quality control or inventory falls short weeks, days, months later.”

But shoppers have been falsely accused of stealing from the self-checkout.

Legal experts have offered advice to clients on how to deal with the potential situation.

Alabama attorney Tim Fleming said, “Without evidence, there is nothing they (employees) can do but hold you for a reasonable period of time.”

Buyers should remain calm but ask for evidence against them if questioned.

Fleming added that if workers refuse to provide the evidence, customers should politely ask to leave.

He suggested calling the police so they can rule on the allegations if staff refuse to cooperate.

According to the 2022 National Retail Security Survey, retailers lost around $100 billion to so-called shrinkage.

The US Sun has reported how big companies like Walmart have taken action to crack down on shoplifting.

Some items were locked away in cupboards while others were kept behind Plexiglas.

Angry customers have claimed the promotion has made shopping “impossible”.

The goods are also protected by spun film, which is available in various shapes and sizes.

But retailers like Lowe’s have resorted to a more invisible strategy to combat shoplifting.

Self-checkout-related thefts have become more prevalent as the technology has been introduced

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Self-checkout-related thefts have become more prevalent as the technology has been introducedPhoto credit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

https://www.the-sun.com/news/7270074/lawyer-shoppers-accidental-steal-self-checkout-arrest/ I’m a lawyer – if you accidentally steal from a self-checkout counter, cops can always arrest you later unless you take my warning

DevanCole

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