SHOPLIFTING and Larceny is a common crime and the cameras are watching everything
The following story is based on a true case that ETB Legal assisted a client with.
The reality of such cases is that major retailers and shopping centres have 2 ways of establishing a shoplift case:
- through video cameras that are fitted into the store
- through security guards located often in discreet plain clothing
Defence for shoplifting
Do you have any proof of purchase?
Police can and do charge people for items based on the different stores they entered. The scenario below describes the way a client stole items from 4 different stores and could not provide any proof of purchase.
Crimes Act 1900 NSW
117 Punishment for larceny
Whosoever commits larceny, or any indictable offence by this Act made punishable like larceny, shall, except in the cases hereinafter otherwise provided for, be liable to imprisonment for five years.
The story of Emily
Emily lost her job and has no income. She is a young 22 year old and has been caught shoplifting.
On Friday plain clothes police attended a shopping centre Police were at the entrance of shops for an unrelated matter when police were flagged down by the witness. The witness identified herself as the manager of the store and stated the accused left a fitting room with empty opened packets left inside the fitting room of what appeared to be cosmetics. The manager stated that as she approached the accused, the accused avoided the manager by pretending to be on the mobile phone speaking to someone.
During this time, the manager pointed at the accused who was wandering up and down carrying several plastic shopping bags and a cream/black handbag whilst speaking to someone on the mobile phone. The accused did not notice police presence as police were wearing plain clothes. The accused was agitated pacing back and forth loitering near the entrance of the store and self checkout area.
The accused then grabbed a card and walked towards the checkout and paid for the card at the self checkout. By this time, security and employees were on standby at the entrance door. As the accused attempted to leave the store, the witness approached the accused and requested for her bags to be searched. The accused did not respond to the witness, turned around and walked back in the store again pacing up and down whilst on the mobile phone speaking to someone within close proximity of the entrance and checkout counter.
Plain clothes police approached the accused, identified themselves by showing their police badge introducing their name, rank and attached station. Police informed the accused that she was going to be searched due to reasonable grounds that the accused has unlawfully obtained property in her possession.
Police cautioned the accused and commenced searching inside the white/black handbag and several plastic shopping bags that was in her possession.
OFFENCE ONE – SHOPLIFTING –Police completely emptied the handbag however police were able to feel the handbag being heavy and rattling noises were heard from the lower area of the handbag. Police were also able to feel several unidentified items inside the lower area of the handbag. Police located a hole inside on e of the inner pockets of the handbag which led to police locating several cosmetic items from the secret compartment.
The total amount of stolen goods were $3000.00. The accused was interviewed in relation to the offence to which the accused replied ”No comment. ‘’.The accused did not have a receipt to prove the purchase.
OFFENCE TWO – SHOPLIFTING/GOODS IN CUSTODY- Police spoke to the manager of the store who scanned the 23 cosmetic items to which she confirmed that it was their property. The total amount stolen was $2000. The accused was interviewed in relation to the offence to which the accused replied ”No comment.” The accused did not have a receipt to prove the purchase.
OFFENCE THREE – GOODS IN CUSTODY –Police continued their search by searching the several plastic shopping bags locating 5 assorted female clothes which still had tags with the label. The total amount of the 5 female clothes totalled $100. The accused was interviewed in relation to the offence to which the accused replied ”No comment.” The accused did not have a receipt to prove the purchase.
OFFENCE FOUR – SHOPLIFTING/GOODS IN CUSTODY Amongst the assorted female clothes, police located an unopened glass bottle of tequila.