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Stores’ Treatment of Shoplifters Tests Legal Rights
The New York Times ^ | 21 June 2010 | COREY KILGANNON and JEFFREY E. SINGER

Posted on 06/21/2010 12:50:43 PM PDT by Palter

The A & N Food Market on Main Street in Flushing, Queens, has an almost entirely Chinese clientele. The inventory includes live eels, turtles and frogs, frozen duck tongue and canned congee. These goods, like products sold in every neighborhood of the city, attract their share of shoplifters. But A & N Food Market has an unusual way of dealing with the problem.

First, suspected shoplifters caught by the store’s security guards or staff members have their identification seized. Then, they are photographed holding up the items they are accused of trying to steal. Finally, workers at the store threaten to display the photographs to embarrass them, and to call the police — unless the accused thieves hand over money.

“We usually fine them $400,” said Tem Shieh, 60, the manager, who keeps track of customers on 30 video monitors in the store’s surveillance system. “If they don’t have the money, then we usually hold their identification and give them a chance to go get it.”

The practice of catching suspected shoplifters and demanding payment is an import from China, several experts in retail loss prevention said, where there is a traditional slogan that some storekeepers post: “Steal one, fine 10.” Whether this practice is legal in the United States is open to interpretation.

New York State law allows “shopkeepers’ privileges” that fall somewhere between the police and a citizen’s arrest. The law also details “civil recovery statutes,” by which retailers may use the threat of a civil lawsuit to recover substantial settlements for even minor thievery. But threatening to report that someone has committed a crime can be considered a form of extortion.

Neither the Police Department nor the Queens district attorney’s office said it had received any complaints about the practice.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; US: New York
KEYWORDS: china; chinese; newyork; shame; shoplifting; store

1 posted on 06/21/2010 12:50:44 PM PDT by Palter
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To: Palter

I like that motto, “Steal One, Fine 10.” I think I’d modify to say “Steal One, Find 10” because they have to find the money to get their ID back.


2 posted on 06/21/2010 1:01:17 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Palter

Just throw the shoplifters to the EELS!


3 posted on 06/21/2010 1:04:35 PM PDT by US Navy Vet
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To: Palter
But threatening to report that someone has committed a crime can be considered a form of extortion.

Local newspaper often have "police blotter" column listing the names of persons arrested by the police and the charges pending. It doesn't violate due process. Those persons still go through the court system. The results of their court trials are later reported in the same papers.

I think the shopkeepers are overstepping their authority. They should detain the accused thief and call law enforcement to arrest them. Provide evidence at the trial and insist on restitution for the theft and any time required to pursue the prosecution. If the accused it acquitted, the false accusation by the shopkeeper should carry a penalty as well. That improves the odds against false accusations. In some cases, the restitution won't be worth the effort to pursue the charges.

4 posted on 06/21/2010 1:04:48 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Palter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf2bwjedB1Y

More citizens should get involved with taking down thieves like these Chinese law-abiding citizens did.


5 posted on 06/21/2010 1:07:38 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Palter

” The inventory includes live eels, turtles and frogs, frozen duck tongue and canned congee...”

And people are trying to steal this stuff?


6 posted on 06/21/2010 1:07:52 PM PDT by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

It’s actually a biblical concept. Restitution, times two or four or so depending on the nature of the offense.


7 posted on 06/21/2010 1:08:11 PM PDT by Persevero (It's going to be a long summer.)
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To: Palter

No doubt the ACLU won’t complain-after all, diversity is our strength...


8 posted on 06/21/2010 1:08:47 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: Jack Hydrazine

I’ve been arguing for a form of “Steal one, fine ten” in regards to dealing with Islamic terrorists for years. I’d call mine “Kill one, lose ten.” It would be a public pronouncement that for every US citizen killed by an Islamic terrorist, ten Islamic mosques would be destroyed without warning, starting with those in Mecca.


9 posted on 06/21/2010 1:08:55 PM PDT by RightFighter (So this is how liberty dies - with thunderous applause!)
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To: Persevero

Correct but usually you get a local bet din (court of two or three Jewish men gathered to judge a matter) to hear the matter and render a just verdict.


10 posted on 06/21/2010 1:10:17 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

I didn’t notice this the first time I saw this video but there is a Chinese dude trying to go Whorealdo on one or both thieves using a chair! LOL!


11 posted on 06/21/2010 1:11:56 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

It appeals so strongly to my sense of justice.

If I had received four times the value of my stolen wallet etc., it would have helped me be far less bitter and suspicious of others. Whenever someone tries to talk to me at a store any more, I wonder, are they after my wallet?

I got nothing. The perp went to prison for 2 1/2 years AFTER defrauding two banks. They didn’t care about the defrauding of me. Identity theft, the whole nine yards.


12 posted on 06/21/2010 1:12:36 PM PDT by Persevero (It's going to be a long summer.)
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To: swain_forkbeard

eel is always better fresh.


13 posted on 06/21/2010 1:29:24 PM PDT by rahbert (Our enemy has yet to reveal himself...)
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To: Palter

If our country/society/culture were not broken, this would not be needed.

jw


14 posted on 06/21/2010 1:39:48 PM PDT by JWinNC (www.anailinhisplace.net)
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To: Persevero

“Whenever someone tries to talk to me at a store any more, I wonder, are they after my wallet?”

You are quite right. Thugs, customer service reps, and women are after your wallet. The more aggressive they get they more aggressive you have to become.


15 posted on 06/21/2010 1:52:33 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: JWinNC
If our country/society/culture were not broken, this would not be needed.

If we would incorporate this Chinese tradition, it would mend a small but pervasive problem straight away.

I rather fancy this very practical means of handling petty crimes. However, as the article states "Whether this practice is legal in the United States is open to interpretation."

Now if we could simply consult with nations like India on how to handle aggressive Moslem recruiting, we would be MUCH better off.

16 posted on 06/21/2010 1:54:47 PM PDT by ARepublicanForAllReasons (BORDERS, LAWS and LANGUAGE)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

lol


17 posted on 06/21/2010 1:57:27 PM PDT by Bon mots
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To: Jack Hydrazine

All women or just the trashy ones? ;-)


18 posted on 06/21/2010 1:57:38 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan

Just the gold diggers. The decent women are more precious than rubys and fine gold, but they do expect you to make a living.


19 posted on 06/21/2010 1:58:58 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Palter
First, suspected shoplifters caught by the store’s security guards or staff members have their identification seized. Then, they are photographed holding up the items they are accused of trying to steal. Finally, workers at the store threaten to display the photographs to embarrass them, and to call the police — unless the accused thieves hand over money. “We usually fine them $400”....

Imagine the alternative, under sharia law....

20 posted on 06/21/2010 2:07:33 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2503089/posts?page=9#9)
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To: Myrddin

If the solution is satisfactory to both the shopkeeper and the thief, why should the effin’ government be involved?


21 posted on 06/21/2010 2:10:12 PM PDT by Little Ray (The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!)
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To: rahbert
eel is always better fresh.

After much consideration, I've decided to take your word for it.

22 posted on 06/21/2010 2:13:11 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (No Romney,No Mark Kirk (Illinois), not now, not ever!)
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To: RightFighter

you got the right idea...


23 posted on 06/21/2010 2:32:30 PM PDT by dennisw (History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid - Gen Eisenhower)
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To: Little Ray
If the solution is satisfactory to both the shopkeeper and the thief, why should the effin’ government be involved?

Because we are a nation of laws. It is the proper place of government to protect the citizens from criminal acts. What if the solution isn't satisfactory? Should the merchant be able to amputate a right hand on the spot for the theft of a piece of bubble gum? A gold ring? What is just? The law provides a means to discern the magnitude of the offense and the proper punishment for the offender and restitution to the victim. What does the merchant do if the thief is part of organized crime that threatens to kill the merchant if the crime is reported?

24 posted on 06/21/2010 2:48:04 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin

Laws are means to an end (a livable, civil society), and not an end in themselves (except maybe to lawyers and judges, of course).

Read the article. If both thief and the merchant are not satisfied with the resolution, they both have the option of calling the cops. Neither side is complaining, so its working. Its as good an example of a community policing itself as I’ve ever seen. No reason to mess it up with cops, courts, and lawyers, none of whom have either party’s best interests at heart.


25 posted on 06/21/2010 3:33:06 PM PDT by Little Ray (The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!)
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