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How likely is it that my shoplifting will be picked up on?


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Hello all.

 

Last week, I was an absolute idiot and went on a mini shoplifting spree on 2 seperate days, stealing £175 worth of makeup in total. I took £65 worth from store, another £65 from the same store, plus £45 from store.

 

I have mental health problems but not really sure if that was what made me do it - more that I was desperate for money (I'm currently unemployed, looking for work and not receiving benefits). I've since sold the itemsy. It was an act of desperation. Anyway I will NEVER be doing this or anything like this again.

 

I'm extremely worried now that the police are going to be showing up at my house. I know advice on here is often along the lines of 'security aren't going to bother trawling through X amount of footage for a relatively small loss' but in this case they could potentially know exactly which time on the footage to check and so it would be easy for them to link the theft to me, and they have my address!

 

I know this is a really specific question and there probably isn't anyone on here with inside knowledge of makeup counters but I'm just wondering how likely it is that I've dropped myself in it here? I'm specifically worried about the likelihood of stores contacting the police and them showing up at my house, especially since I stole from stores twice? I'm living with my parents at the moment whilst I'm looking for work (that's the address I gave) and I would never forgive myself if the police showed up at their door or worse showed up and asked to search the house! Can anyone give me an idea how likely you think this is or if police usually do this?

 

I'm actually considering going to the police station and confessing if it's likely that they'll come here, because I don't mind dealing with a caution or fines or court anywhere near as much as the idea of my parents finding out.

 

Sorry this was so long-winded and thank you in advance!

Edited by slick132
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Too much info Judy, which the site team will look at.

 

First don't do this again. Second, i should imagine the store will check and see that items were not paid for at the till. They will check back at CCTV and you might be the only person who gave name/postcode. It is then a question of the store policy in this situation. Stores don't normally involve Police and deal with it directly with the person through retail loss prevention.

 

Don't go to the Police Station, as it might then lead to it becoming a criminal matter, when the store might just want to resolve with you directly on a civil basis. If you want to resolve this, contact the store directly. Perhaps if you explain your health situation and your circumstances, they might look to help.

 

You need to see your Doctor about your health and circumstances. You should not feel driven to shoplift to have money and if you are in that position, then seek help. If you are not fit for work currently, can you claim ESA ?

We could do with some help from you.

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This system is specifically design to prevent shoplifting, so they won't just forget about it.

I would go back to the store and pay for the items saying that you forgot you had taken them from the EL counter.

If you did that, they would most likely just accept the money and forget about it.

Considering that you sold the make up on eBay, it makes it clear that you wanted to make a profit and it won't take much legwork to find this out.

In some shopping centre they report shoplifting to the police to map their statistics.

Not much is ever done, but because they have your details, they might follow this up, especially because it's not a couple of pounds.

Go back to the stores, explain that you have mental health issues and you "forgot" to pay.

They'll have records of the items you took, so they can charge you accordingly.

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Hi Judy and welcome to CAG

 

You gave too much info in your post above. The post has been edited to remove info that could identify you, or the store(s) involved.

 

Don't give out info that will identify you, the incidents or the store(s) involved.

 

:-)

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Hi and welcome to CAG.

With respect to king12345, going back to the store is fraught with problems

 

This system is specifically design to prevent shoplifting, so they won't just forget about it.

I would go back to the store and pay for the items saying that you forgot you had taken them from the EL counter.

If you did that, they would most likely just accept the money and forget about it.

Considering that you sold the make up on eBay, it makes it clear that you wanted to make a profit and it won't take much legwork to find this out.

In some shopping centre they report shoplifting to the police to map their statistics.

Not much is ever done, but because they have your details, they might follow this up, especially because it's not a couple of pounds.

Go back to the stores, explain that you have mental health issues and you "forgot" to pay.

They'll have records of the items you took, so they can charge you accordingly.

 

Going back to the store and stating the above, in red, may just result in your detention and the police called. While what you did was obviously wrong, my thoughts are rather than go to the stores, save some money (when possible) then send postal orders to the head office of each store with a short explanation. Don't give out your name or address as this may lead to more problems.

 

Nobody can say what will happen but on past experience on this forum, security videos are used on a monthly basis where each day they have the recordings on one (or more) disk then when the month end arrives the use them again after wiping the previous data. I can only see them looking for more images, if they happen to spot the thefts on one of the disks then scrutinise all the other disks. Security don't have a lot of time to do this plus they have to follow procedure to confirm a theft has actually taken place as someone may replace the goods before leaving the store,

 

Will the police get involved. Unknown. Unless they know your name and are able to match your image to that, I can't see that the police may do much.

 

My specific advise. See your GP, you may need your meds adjusting as it comes across that you aren't coping well. You can tell the GP anything as what you say will be kept in confidence (unless your wellbeing is at risk)

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Hi everyone and thanks for your advice. As far as paying the money back, I'm going to go with Silverfox's suggestion and send anonymous postal orders to the stores although it's going to be a while until I have enough money to do this. In terms of my mental health, this is being dealt with.

 

The specific advice I was looking for has been edited out of my post but it was basically that I gave my name and postcode at the makeup counters and the items were scanned there before I left the shop so presumably they could easily match my name to my image if they check cctv.

 

I suppose a more straightforward question would be - assuming security DO make the connection and see that it's me who took the missing items, how likely are the police to show up at my house?

That's what I'm particularly worried about.

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I suppose a more straightforward question would be - assuming security DO make the connection and see that it's me who took the missing items, how likely are the police to show up at my house?

That's what I'm particularly worried about.

 

Nobody can be 100% sure that the stores do spot anything. It's a case of wait and see. The problems with security cameras is that they need to show the entire event from theft to leaving the store. They have to be clear that an actual offence has occurred.

 

For shoplifting to be proved, most security follow the SCONE method. More info:

https://ukconstable.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/theft-shoplifting-student-learning/

 

If any one of these guidelines are not followed, prosecution becomes very difficult.

 

I must stress that although I am passing this info on, it is not a licence for anyone to go out and nick stuff. Because you have mental health issues and if the police do get involved they may treat you differently than other shoplifters.

 

I would avoid these stores for at least 6 months as a minimum. If the police do get involved, they do have a limited time to arrest and charge you but as I say, nothing is 100% A case of wait and see. Sorry I can't be more specific than that

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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I strongly disagree with silver fox on this one.

It's not the classic case of someone leaving the store without paying for some items, the op left correct name and address at EL counter where goods were scanned.

This will flag up and there will be no hard searching of CCTV images.

They know who you are and they know you haven't paid for goods.

Their system will confirm this along the CCTV images.

Going back to the store and pay for the items will prove no intention to steal, but simply that the op forgot to pay.

The mental health issues reinforce this version of events.

Would they call the police and detain the op?

Unlikely because the police will see this as someone who made a mistake and went back to remedy, not as shoplifting.

It is much more likely that the op would receive a home visit from the coppers if money is not paid promptly.

Sending anonymous postal orders to ho will not solve anything because if police gets involved they will see this as a guilty afterthought.

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King, I think we will have to agree to disagree. As we are not 100% sure that the police WILL get involved, I am trying to think of the least serious way of repayment. As the OP receives no benefits, it will take a while to get the money together. If the police DO get involved then that's a different matter

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Infinite. But it is extremely unlikely they'll get involved

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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Could you advise what the time limit is for police to arrest and charge me? Thank you.

 

Do NOT presume the worst. IF the Police become involved which seems unlikely, as a big store will have many security issues to deal with every day, then there is no time limit for Police to start a process of investigation. You might not face arrest, but would be requested to attend a Police station on a date/time to answer questions.

 

Personally i don't think the store will pick this matter up very quickly, because it would take someone in their accounts team to spot that there was stock taken and not paid for. To then connect this with you might take some working out and by that time the CCTV footage will probably have been deleted.

We could do with some help from you.

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Doubtful they'll pick it up at all.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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It's a system designed to flag up unpaid items when daily account is closed.

They will pick it up, whether they follow up or not is all to see.

Being high value transactions over £50 they will probably follow up.

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This was written out in my original post before it got edited but basically makeup counters ask you for your details to make a note on your file of what you purchase, they say so they can keep a record of your preferred shades (but from experience it's also so they can send you marketing).

 

Very conflicting advice here but thank you all the same! Very much panicking.

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I know you will get some great advice from the people on here that know about these things,listen to what they tell you and you will no go far wrong.I hope you get it sorted out soon.I do not give my name and addess to any shop i buy things from for the very reasons that you state.

 

barns66

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This was written out in my original post before it got edited but basically makeup counters ask you for your details to make a note on your file of what you purchase, they say so they can keep a record of your preferred shades (but from experience it's also so they can send you marketing).

 

Very conflicting advice here but thank you all the same! Very much panicking.

 

But look at the information and see what the majority are saying. In a large store they deal with thousands of transactions at tills every day. There might have been dozens of people who took goods from the counter to pay at other tills, because they wanted to buy other items in the store. To trace it back to one person and to prove a theft would be fairly difficult and time consuming.

 

Seems very unlikely to me.

We could do with some help from you.

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But look at the information and see what the majority are saying. In a large store they deal with thousands of transactions at tills every day. There might have been dozens of people who took goods from the counter to pay at other tills, because they wanted to buy other items in the store. To trace it back to one person and to prove a theft would be fairly difficult and time consuming.

 

Seems very unlikely to me.

 

Yes, but how many didn't pay?

If it was so easy, they would have shoplifters queuing up at the make up counter to take stuff and walk away.

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Yes, but how many didn't pay?

If it was so easy, they would have shoplifters queuing up at the make up counter to take stuff and walk away.

 

If they cross referenced the items taken with items purchased at tills, they might work out which customer might not have paid. But they would have to carry out this work activity and in a busy store it might not happen. Also it depends on how accurate a record was made by the counter staff about the items taken. Did they record exact product, bar code etc, so that it could be properly checked ?

We could do with some help from you.

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Yes, but how many didn't pay?

If it was so easy, they would have shoplifters queuing up at the make up counter to take stuff and walk away.

 

If she paid for no products,why did they ask for her name and address?????

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If she paid for no products,why did they ask for her name and address?????

 

You have to read the first post.

Within the boots store there is a make up counter.

You can pick make up from this counter and pay for it straight away.

Alternatively the make up counter will scan the items, take your name and address and you can pay these items at boots till before you leave the store.

The op did exactly this, but failed to pay for the items which have been recorded against her name by the system.

That's why it's different from other shoplifting stories.

Please, before shovelling advice, can we read the story?

Otherwise members get mixed up advice that is gonna fail badly.

As I already said, they won't let high value items go lost, especially because they know name and address of the op.

Best thing to do is to go back and pay.

Having given correct name and address and voluntarily go back to pay will look like no theft was intended.

Any other action might lead to the police getting involved.

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If they cross referenced the items taken with items purchased at tills, they might work out which customer might not have paid. But they would have to carry out this work activity and in a busy store it might not happen. Also it depends on how accurate a record was made by the counter staff about the items taken. Did they record exact product, bar code etc, so that it could be properly checked ?

 

Yes, the above is what I assumed might be standard procedure (which is what I was asking in my post before it was edited), which King seems to think is the case. As for whether the record was accurate, I know for a fact that they scanned the barcodes in store 1. In store 2 (which is the one I stole from twice) I'm not 100% sure whether they scanned the codes, just that they made a record of which makeup I purchased (or not purchased obviously in this case), but I was just assuming since one store scanned the barcodes then the other store would have done the same (since it's the same makeup brand). Whether doing this actually records the time of purchase though I have no idea (again that's the kind of thing I was hoping someone might be able to tell me even though it's a long shot since it would require specific knowledge of makeup counters I guess) because if so then I would imagine it would be extremely easy for them to check CCTV to confirm theft, although I'm not sure if they could actually do this if a) I didn't actually conceal anything as per the SCONE procedure and b) the cameras didn't record me continuously from the makeup counter to the exit, which is on another floor (is this likely?).

 

It might or might not be relevant to point out that although I was internally panicking at the time I'm VERY good at looking casual and "normal", and I also look fairly "respectable" in the sense that I probably wouldn't raise a red flag to someone who might judge people by their appearance.

 

Thanks for the reassurance everyone, I'm trying not to assume the worst and realise the majority don't anticipate police involvement but what King is saying about the way makeup counters do checks is in line with what I was thinking so I'm just not sure what to think.

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You have to read the first post.

Within the boots store there is a make up counter.

You can pick make up from this counter and pay for it straight away.

Alternatively the make up counter will scan the items, take your name and address and you can pay these items at boots till before you leave the store.

The op did exactly this, but failed to pay for the items which have been recorded against her name by the system.

That's why it's different from other shoplifting stories.

Please, before shovelling advice, can we read the story?

Otherwise members get mixed up advice that is gonna fail badly.

As I already said, they won't let high value items go lost, especially because they know name and address of the op.

Best thing to do is to go back and pay.

Having given correct name and address and voluntarily go back to pay will look like no theft was intended.

Any other action might lead to the police getting involved.

 

Unlike you i did not shovel any advice at the poster,I merly asked as to why they wanted her name and address.It's you that wants to read what people write.and not what you think they do,now point to any advice her gave them.,thought not.

Edited by barns66
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If she paid for no products,why did they ask for her name and address?????

 

By asking this question you showed that you hadn't read the thread.

Op needs advice, telling her that nothing will happen after she took hundred of pounds worth of goods and left a full record of it, is quite poor advice imo

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