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Security Guard Authority During Shoplifter Detainment

Wheaton criminal defense attorneyWhen someone is thought to be shoplifting, there are a variety of officials that may become involved. In a mall or retail store setting, the first-responders typically include store employees, store management, and any security officers retained by the establishment. After they have the suspicious person detained, the local police officers then become involved. Just as with police making an arrest, personnel must complete a series of actions before creating a case.

Before Detaining a Suspect

It is important to understand your rights if you are being detained by store personnel or a security officer for shoplifting. Often, these employees overstep their authority, typically either out of their ignorance of what they can do legally or because they are relying on your naiveté of the situation. If they detain a suspect without probable cause, they are opening themselves up for false arrest claims. Therefore, before apprehending anyone, they must:

  • See the item belonging to the store, not brought in from outside the location;
  • Watch that concealment occurs;
  • Never lose visual of the individual;
  • Witness failure to pay for the merchandise; and
  • Observe the citizen leaving the store.

Taking Custody of Suspect

After all of the above actions are satisfied, store personnel has a starting point in which to initiate detainment.  Multiple staff members generally will be included in the apprehension, for safety and witness purposes. The stop must be within a reasonable amount of time in an acceptable manner.  The following are allowable:

  • Reasonable restraint, such as handcuffing;
  • A “pat down” to verify if the individual has a weapon or poses another threat;
  • Requesting identification from the suspect; and
  • Keeping the person sequestered until law enforcement officials arrive.

Shoplifting is no small accusation. However, you still have state and federal rights afforded to you that no one has the power to dismiss. Not only does a lawyer have in-depth knowledge of shoplifting laws, penalties and your legal rights, but they also have the ability to apply them directly to your case to assist in giving you the best possible outcome for your situation. If you are interested in discussing your situation with a proven and experienced DuPage County, IL criminal defense attorney, contact the Davi Law Group, LLC today at (630) 580-6373. From our offices in Wheaton, Warrenville, Joliet, and Chicago, we proudly serve clients throughout DuPage, Kane, Will, Cook and Kendall Counties.



Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
Warrenville Office
Address28371 Davis Parkway, Suite 103, Warrenville, IL 60555
Phone(630) 657-5052
Fax(888) 350-9195
Wheaton Office
Address1776 S. Naperville Road, Building A, Suite 105, Wheaton, IL 60189
Phone(630) 580-6373
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Phone(312) 985-5676
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Address58 N. Chicago Street, Suite 102,
Joliet, IL 60432
Phone(815) 582-4901
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Davi Law Group, LLC handles criminal law matters for clients in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs including DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County and Cook County and the cities of Aurora, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Joliet, Kendall County, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oswego, Park Ridge, Roselle, St. Charles, Villa Park, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Woodridge and Yorkville.




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