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DEFINITIONS

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(Shoplifting) – The act of depriving a merchant of the full retail value of their merchandise; Theft of merchandise from a store or business establishment.

 Although the crime of shoplifting may be prosecuted under general Larceny statutes, most jurisdictions have established a specific category for shoplifting. Statutes vary widely, but generally the elements of shoplifting are (1) willfully taking possession of or concealing unpurchased goods that are offered for sale (2) with the intention of converting the merchandise to the taker's personal use without paying the purchase price. Possession or concealment of goods typically encompasses actions both on and outside the premises.

Concealment is generally understood in terms of common usage. Therefore, covering an object to keep it from sight constitutes concealment, as would other methods of hiding an object from a shop owner. A shopper's actions and demeanor in the store, her lack of money to pay for merchandise, and the placement of an object out of a retailer's direct view are all examples of Circumstantial Evidence that may establish intent.

Shoplifting costs businesses billions of dollars every year. To enable store owners to recoup some of their losses, most states have enacted civil recovery or civil demand statutes. These laws enable retailers to seek restitution from shoplifters. Criminal prosecution is not a prerequisite to a civil demand request. Typically, a representative of or attorney for a victimized business demands a statutorily set compensation in a letter to the offender. If an offender does not respond favorably to the civil demand letter, the retailer may bring an action in Small Claims Court or another appropriate forum.

(Loss Prevention) -  Includes controls and procedures designed to build an effective defense against all situations which may cause the loss of business assets and create inventory shortages.

(Probable Cause) - The most well-known definition of probable cause is "a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime".[1] Another common definition is "a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person's belief that certain facts are probably true".[2]

In the context of warrants, the Oxford Companion to American Law defines probable cause as "information sufficient to warrant a prudent person's belief that the wanted individual had committed a crime (for an arrest warrant) or that evidence of a crime or contraband would be found in a search (for a search warrant)". "Probable cause" is a stronger standard of evidence than a reasonable suspicion, but weaker than what is required to secure a criminal conviction.

(Establishing Intent) - In criminal law, for a given actus reus ("guilty act"), the required element to prove intent consists of showing mens rea (mental state, "guilty mind").

The requirements for the proof of intent in tort law are generally simpler than criminal law. Knowledge of the repercussions of the act is often not necessary. It is sometimes only a matter of showing that there was desire to perform an act.

(Reasonable force) – In the area of retail theft, it is the minimum force necessary to make a successful apprehension.

(Opportunity) – The single most important factor that will aid a potential shoplifter in making his or her decision to steal.

(Arrest) – Depriving a person of their freedom of movement

 


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