(Solved Homework): Should retail organizations always pursue and prosecute shoplifters? If not, what are the…

Should retail organizations always pursue and prosecute shoplifters? If not, what are the alternatives? If so, what threshold limits (if any) should be applied?

Expert Answer


Ans: Shoplifting is often a petty misdemenor, but sometimes may amount to a theft of several thousand dollars. The setence varies according to the class of the offence, varying from a term of up to one year and a fine of $500 to hefty fines and bigger terms for more severe cases.

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In my opinion, the pursuance and prosecution of a shoplifter should be decided on case to case basis, depending on the severity of the crime and the financial impact involved. If someone is caught stealing a nailpaint or a bar of chocolate, she should be confronted, caught red handed in possession of the unpaid merchandise, reprimanded and let off with a warning after recovering the item or payment from her. However, lifters of bigger items like a piece of jewellary should be detained and handed over to the police and a criminal suit be brought agaist.

The simple reason behind the selective prosecution is the involvement of time, money and efforts in the process, that may consume the valuable resources of the organization. Sometimes the damages claimed may not even be a fraction of the expediture incurred. Further, if the charge can not be proved in the court of law, the other party may also claim damages for false prosecution. However, bigger thefts involving sizeable money must be brought under the law.

A threshold of $10 or $15 may be fixed as a desicive factor for the legal action to be taken against the offenders.

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