Skip to comments.Stores’ Treatment of Shoplifters Tests Legal Rights
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 stores 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 stores surveillance system. If they dont 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 citizens 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 attorneys office said it had received any complaints about the practice.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
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.
Just throw the shoplifters to the EELS!
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.
More citizens should get involved with taking down thieves like these Chinese law-abiding citizens did.
” The inventory includes live eels, turtles and frogs, frozen duck tongue and canned congee...”
And people are trying to steal this stuff?
It’s actually a biblical concept. Restitution, times two or four or so depending on the nature of the offense.
No doubt the ACLU won’t complain-after all, diversity is our strength...
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.
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.
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!
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.
eel is always better fresh.
If our country/society/culture were not broken, this would not be needed.
“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.
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.
All women or just the trashy ones? ;-)
Just the gold diggers. The decent women are more precious than rubys and fine gold, but they do expect you to make a living.
Imagine the alternative, under sharia law....
If the solution is satisfactory to both the shopkeeper and the thief, why should the effin’ government be involved?
After much consideration, I've decided to take your word for it.
you got the right idea...
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?
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.