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Is it legal in the state of CA for an employee to detain someone outside of a store they think shop lifted?

A friend was shopping at a store in Long Beach Ca a few days ago. Something to note about Long Beach is they passed a bill to ban stores from giving out plastic bags to customers. My friend was walking around the store and was offered a sample of cheese. Since he is a pre diabetic he told the women he would buy...

 

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Answer`s (3):
1. Annie
Your friend would have to prove financial loss to sue. What financial losses did he suffer?

Details, please.
2. SarahT
You friend was an idiot for thinking that he could walk back through the entire store and then back out the front door without someone thinking he was stealing. He could have just as easily asked the front desk to watch his items, or put them in his car and then return for the sample.

You are asking if it is store policy? Apparently at that store it is. If you are asking if it is legal for a store to detain someone they think may have shoplifted until he can produce a receipt or proof of purchase, then yes, that is completely legal. It is not at all out of line for a store to ask for a receipt if they feel that you are taking something without paying for it.

" but because of his appearance he was profiled."

There is no way for you to know that. He was stopped because he walked right out the door and passed the cash register without stopping with an armful of items. Again, he should have put them away in his car once he paid for them.

I'm not sure why you have such a hang up on how this guy looks. From the sound of it, you are the only one that has a problem with someone's appearance.

There is no case here. To hire a lawyer would be a waste of his money. In the future do not offer someone legal advise if you know nothing of the law yourself.
3. rickinnocal
Yes it is.

CA statute law follows the traditional common law concept of "shopkeepers privilege". This gives a shopkeeper or his employees or agents the legal right to detain a customer that they have 'reasonable suspicion" to believe has stolen from the store. Shopkeepers privilege does not end at the front door - a store employee can chase you all across the city if he has that 'reasonable suspicion'.

Your friend walked from the back of the store past the registers and out, apparently without paying, and with the goods in his possession. He had a good explanation, but the employee who stopped him did not know that, and therefore had the required "reasonable suspicion' to suspect that he'd stolen them.

So, yes, the detention was perfectly legal.

Second, even if it was not, your friend would still not have grounds for a meaningful civil suit, because he has no damages to sue "for". (Although if the stop were illegal he could make a police report and the police / DA "might" choose to prosecute for unlawful arrest.)

Richard


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