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Shoplifting - Application Of The Law

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The application of the law of larceny to shoplifting requires proof of wrongful taking. In order to prove that the taking was with fraudulent intent, must store personnel wait until the subject has left the store without paying for the goods, or is concealment of the goods or failure to pay at the place where the goods would normally be paid for sufficient? The problems of proof are compounded by the risks to merchants who act on unfounded suspicion. Under the law of many American jurisdictions, even an honest attempt to arrest on reasonable grounds may be wrongful if no misdemeanor was in fact committed by the person arrested. A customer wrongfully accused or unlawfully detained or arrested may have a legal claim to compensation for slander, false arrest, or false imprisonment. Additionally, more and more people are becoming (rightly) concerned about the injustices of "racial profiling" in shoplifting, where store employees use race as a primary heuristic for suspicion (Austin). A substantial judgment against a store that has acted improperly poses great financial risks for the merchant (Keeton and Prosser).

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