How many times have you gone through the self-scan checkout lane at the grocery store and had difficulty with the machine?
Using a self-scanner?
Anybody who has used one of these machines knows how difficult it can be to properly scan and pay for merchandise. Using these machines requires complete focus to ensure all your merchandise is scanned, and scanned properly. Many people admit they use the phone or are distracted by their children when they go through a self-scan lane.
Such distractions can lead to criminal charges if items are not scanned properly. Most, if not all, stores use several cameras in self-checkout lanes, including overhead cameras and cameras on the scanner.
When using a self-scanner, it is important to ensure all items are scanned so you do not find yourself facing prosecution. Many clients report scanning and purchasing numerous items, when a simple distraction occurs that causes them to forget to scan one or two items in their cart.
If store authorities, often times called Loss Prevention Officers (LPOs), see an individual fail to scan each and every item, they automatically assume the person is attempting to steal the item. When the Loss Prevention Officer perceives a theft occurring, he or she will stop you with a preconceived notion about your intent, even if the attendant in the self-scan lane did not see anything suspicious.
Many of our clients report being stopped and detained by Loss Prevention Officers after using a self-scanner. Many times, the individual is exiting the store by the time they are stopped. Often times, Loss Prevention Officers notice an individual who mistakenly fails to scan an item in their cart.
If the Loss Prevention Officers believe a mistake occurred, sometimes they will allow the individual for pay for the item, correcting the mistake, and allow them to go on their way. Many times, Loss Prevention Officers believe the individual intended to improperly scan an item and the police are called to the store.
What if Loss Prevention Officers detain me?
If Loss Prevention Officers detain you, they will question and coerce you into admitting that you intended to purposefully bypass the self-scan in a purposeful attempt to steal item(s). They will instruct you to sign a form, without even telling you that by signing the form you acknowledge committing a theft offense.
Many times they will misconstrue what you say and erroneously report what you say to the police, which is then used against you in a criminal prosecution. If Loss Prevention Officers detain you because of a mistake that occurred while going through self-checkout, it can be difficult to convince them of the mistake.
Contact the Michigan retail fraud experts
In Michigan, theft is formally called Retail Fraud. Retail Fraud encompasses purposefully failing to scan an item and/or purposefully weighing an item improperly. Sometimes, our clients welcome an opportunity to use the legal process to show that they lacked any intent to steal by proving that a simple mistake occurred. If the key evidence, such as security tape, is not requested in a timely manner, it may not later be available.
Our office obtains any and all security footage of the incident to ascertain what really occurred, while also preserving the video for any necessary proceedings, such as trial. When fighting for justice it is important that your attorney is willing and able to properly convey the facts of your case to the prosecutor, judge, and jury.
Our office is experienced in theft matters, and can present the facts of your case in a fair manner to ensure justice is served.