Shoplifting “Sweetheart” Style
Shoplifting is an epidemic throughout our country. Some individuals convicted of the crime explain they only did it to feed their families, indicating a community failure to aid those in need of assistance. Others do it for the sheer thrill of the experience. No matter the reason, statistics show shoplifting is only caught once in 48 incidents. Despite these dismal numbers, management watches security cameras only 1 percent of the time, enabling a new rise in shoplifting by customers and employees alike.
“Sweethearting” is the term coined for incidents where an alleged thief pays for some but not all of his or her items. This maneuver is completed solely by the shopper, or while working in conjunction with the cashier. The two most common situations include the following:
- The shopper puts all but a few items on the conveyor belt for the cashier to scan, leaving one or two unnoticed items in the cart, thus walking out of the door without paying for those items; or
- The cashier gives the customer a “sweetheart” of a deal by intentionally not scanning all of the merchandise, either by bypassing the scanner or covering the barcode.
How Big is the Problem?
Most intentional shoplifters typically pay for items during their visit, using the stop at the cash register as a diversionary tactic from secret shoppers hired to catch thieves in action. Intentional criminals rely on the probability that anyone watching was unable to maintain a line of sight for the entire duration of the shopping trip, creating the reasonable doubt of concealed items. In other cases, if someone mentions products left within the cart, it is easy to feign surprise and thank the good samaritan for bringing the issue to attention. Statistics show:
- Sweethearting costs the retail industry approximately $14 billion each year; and
- This form of employee theft and shoplifting occurs more often than various types of burglary.
As this form of shoplifting gains popularity, many innocent shoppers find themselves in the crosshairs of establishments attempting to combat its prevalence. Unsuspecting citizens find themselves accused of shoplifting for forgetting that large item at the bottom of the cart. Faithful employees stand charged with employee theft of accidentally not scanning merchandise which only occurred because they were busy engaging with the customer, as per employee training specifications.
When you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, the experience is unnerving and escalates rapidly. The attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC understand your situation and have the skill and authority to guide you to the best possible outcome. Contact a Wheaton, IL shoplifting lawyer today by calling 630-580-6373 to schedule a consultation.