A WALMART thief, who faces 10 years in prison for stealing $80 worth of goods, has appealed her original conviction after judges branded the charges “unfair.”
Chasity Shirley, 34, faced a lengthy prison sentence after swapping barcodes on two items at a Kentucky store in 2018.
She was convicted of “unlawfully gaining access to a computer,” but the state appeals court judges branded it “inherently unfair,” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
In Kentucky, shoplifters who steal items worth less than $500 are typically fined $250 and imprisoned for 90 days.
Lawyers warn of the potential legal risks shoppers face if they are wrongly accused of self-checkout theft.
Shirley had swapped barcodes on a toothbrush holder and a children’s blanket and tank top, which were more expensive, according to the Courier-Journal.
Dubbed “switcheroo,” the tactic involves customers scanning an expensive item with a barcode for a cheaper product.
The difference between the two items was around $80, and prosecutors claimed she misled the self-service checkouts.
Shirley could receive a directed verdict that would see the conviction dismissed after the case goes to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Walmart shoppers have been warned of the potential legal risks of using the self-checkout.
Sandra Barger, a counselor at Bridges Counseling LLC in Arizona, told The US Sun that she is seeing an increase in petty theft cases among her clients.
Between January 2021 and March 2022, more than 60 customers were arrested at a Tucson Walmart store after accidentally forgetting to scan some items.
Barger explained that her customers are regular shoppers who accidentally stole something of little value due to a small mistake they made at the self-checkout.
She revealed a typical scenario where a customer would be arrested after an ordinary shopping spree.
Barger warned her clients would be forced to pay thousands in legal fees.
Alabama attorney Tim Fleming claimed that self-checkout counters can falsely accuse a customer of theft.
He suggested shoppers might not be concentrating when checking out their groceries so they could inadvertently miss an item.
Fleming also suggested that customers might miss the machine’s beep.
Buyers wrongly accused of theft should remain calm when questioned, the attorney said.
But attorney Stephanie Holan told Fox26 that buyers should be more concerned about the potential risks related to their personal information.
She said, “You stand there [at the checkout] Slide your card and enter your code and you’ll be watched by cameras.
“I would be much more concerned that someone would watch me get my information than they would accuse me of stealing an item.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6319313/walmart-self-checkout-thief-facing-jail-legal-challenge/ Walmart self-checkout thief jailed 10 years for legal challenge, even wrongly accused shoppers should know