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How Do Shoplifters Get Caught?


According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, statistics show that shoplifters are caught approximately once in every 49 incidents of theft. However, you may be curious to know more about how shoplifters are apprehended.

In this blog post, we will delve into five common signs used to catch shoplifters. If you are facing shoplifting charges, remember that you don't have to navigate the legal process alone. Our dedicated legal team is here to provide you with the assistance and support you need.

1. Clothing

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, shoplifters often dress in loose, baggy clothing to conceal stolen items more easily. They might also wear hats, sunglasses, or hoodies to hide their face from security cameras.

Other items of clothing that can raise suspicion include:

  • Long or heavy coats
  • Purses
  • Backpacks
  • Umbrellas
  • Briefcases
  • and more

However, security personnel are trained to notice these fashion choices and be on high alert for potential shoplifters.

2. Body Language

Body language emerges as one of the most powerful tools at a security guard's disposal when it comes to effectively identifying and apprehending potential shoplifters. By keenly observing subtle gestures, postures, and non-verbal cues, security guards can gain valuable insights into the intentions and behaviors of individuals.

Examples of these types of behaviors include:

  • Avoiding eye contact with employees or security cameras
  • Glancing around nervously or excessively
  • Repeatedly entering and exiting the store without purchasing anything
  • Loitering
  • Excessive sweating or fidgeting

3. Focus

Unlike regular shoppers, shoplifters can exhibit an intense focus on the merchandise they're targeting for theft. In addition, while a typical customer may engage with store officials or interact with other customers, shoplifters deliberately keep to themselves in an effort to avoid drawing attention. Moreover, they constantly monitor the activities of employees and security personnel, prioritizing vigilance over the products available for purchase.

4. Item Transportation

When considering the typical shopping habits of an average person, it rarely involves carrying an individual item around the store for extended periods. Usually, a regular customer may relocate an item from one section to another, but this is typically done using a shopping cart and is only a small part of a larger purchase.

However, store security may take notice if someone picks up an item from a shelf and carries it around without any apparent intention of returning it. They might suspect that this person is seeking an opportune moment to remove the item from its packaging and take it out of the store.

5. Distractions

Another telltale sign of shoplifting is the use of distraction techniques aimed at diverting the attention of employees.

Examples can include:

  • Requesting out-of-stock items that are supposedly stored in the back storeroom
  • Asking numerous questions to keep employees occupied in one particular area of the store
  • Customers who appear to be waiting for someone else to arrive

Overall, there are multiple indicators and behaviors associated with shoplifting that can lead to being caught.

Contact Our Firm for Help

If you or a loved one are facing shoplifting charges, it's crucial to seek assistance from an experienced shoplifting lawyer. Depending on the value of the stolen item(s), the legal consequences could range from a misdemeanor to a felony. At Masella Law Firm, P.A., our dedicated theft crimes attorneys understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to providing personalized legal representation.

We can listen to your story, conduct a thorough investigation, and meticulously build a defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. Rest assured, we can vigorously advocate for your rights and work towards achieving a favorable outcome for your case.

Get in touch with us today at (803) 938-4952 or message us online.