Self Checkout Shoplifting in Tennessee

Technology is great. When ATMs first came out they thought that tellers would be replaced when in fact they increased banking and the need for personal bankers even more.

Grocery stores replaced a lot of cashiers with self-checkout technology. For now there are still cashiers and many prefer to use them. I think it is safer to use actual human cashiers. Here’s why:

It is safer in that if you’re not careful at the self checkout register you might end up being charged with theft or shoplifting. If you intentionally or accidentally don't scan an item or items most stores have cameras and security to catch you doing this.

I have many clients that find themselves in this situation. They fail to scan one or more items and are stopped by loss prevention and questioned. It is difficult to prove that you didn’t intend to steal when you don’t scan an item in the store.

It is possible to accidentally not scan something? Of course it is. There is a lot of noise, other register beeping and sometimes items don’t scan very easily. Plus the machines delay you and have you wait for the one employee that manages all the self checkout registers.

Any item that requires identification or that needs to be voided requires an employee to enter a code to approve. Then you have to find a place to bag all the items or skip bagging often complicating knowing which items you scanned or didn’t.

The District Attorney's Office has to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the thought and did an act towards attempting to deprive Kroger, Walmart or the other store you are checking out through the self checkout lane.

This can and usually is done circumstantially. Meaning they look at your acts, or lack of actions, and determine your intent. If you took one of 4 items from the bottom and scanned it and put it back and then scanned other items and attempt to conceal the items in the bottom that you didn’t scan then circumstantially it appears you intended to conceal it.

That is not always the case, you could’ve simply forgotten but loss prevention is trained to find certain behaviors and stop it. They’re are doing their job and looking for people not scanning items. They can’t read minds so you have to take steps to protect yourself.

The District Attorney has to prove: The Tennessee Sholifting Statute found at T.C.A. 39-14-146 provides the following list of acts:

39-14-146. Theft of property Conduct involving merchandise.

(a) For purposes of § 39-14-103, a person commits theft of property if the person, with the intent to deprive a merchant of the stated price of merchandise, knowingly commits any of the following acts:

(1) Conceals the merchandise;

(2) Removes, takes possession of, or causes the removal of merchandise;

(3) Alters, transfers or removes any price marking, or any other marking which aids in determining value affixed to the merchandise;

(4) Transfers the merchandise from one (1) container to another; or

(5) Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the merchant's stated price for the merchandise.

July 1st 2017, the Tennessee legislature added more ways to be convicted:

(6) Removes, destroys, deactivates, or evades any component of an anti-shoplifting device or inventory control device to commit or facilitate a theft.

(7) Uses any artifice,instrument,container,device or other article to commit or facilitate a theft.

(8) Activates or interferes with a fire alarm system to commit or facilitate a theft.

Don’t end up in this position. Make sure to scan each and every item. Slow down. Listen for the beep. Double check.

When I grocery shop I love to listen to music on my headphones. I take them off and pay close attention to what I am doing in the self checkout line. I have many clients that find themselves in the position of hiring me to defend them from being accused of shoplifting.

If you were going through the checkout line or were accused of theft in another situation and have the funds to hire an attorney call us. We are here to help. Call us at (615) Nash-Law. (615) 627-4529.

Categories: Criminal Defense
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