Society generally has little sympathy for shoplifters, but like most offenses, there are often multiple sides to a story. Whether it is an ongoing habit or simply a way of making ends meet, those dealing with shoplifting penalties commonly walk out of one problem and into another. South Carolina residents facing repercussions after a shoplifting charge can learn more about state laws and the ways business owners handle instances of theft.
As the South Carolina Legislature states, a person is guilty of shoplifting when he or she does the following with a store’s item:
- Takes possession
- Carries away
- Transfers from one person to another
- Alters a product’s label which aid in determining value
There are many other details to the above actions, and the Legislature adds that penalties for these crimes can vary. For instance, a person guilty of stealing items worth $2,000 or less could face a misdemeanor, with a fine of $1,000 and jail time of no more than 30 days. If the value of the merchandise is over $1,000 but under $10,000, a person could face felony charges.
There is more fine print when it comes to retail shoplifting regulations. Soapboxie explains that, within most businesses, loss prevention officers must follow specific guidelines when handling a shoplifting case. First, officers must observe the rule of selection — a step in which the officer witnesses the customer selecting the stolen item. Next, the customer must conceal the merchandise in a pocket, bag or other hidden area.
Officers must also ensure that the customer did not change his or her mind about stealing the item. Soapboxie shares that the next step involves watching the customer exit the store with the merchandise. Lastly, most officers observe the rule of apprehension, in which an officer attempts to resolve the issue out of sight from other shoppers. Each incident may be unique, but knowing the ins and outs of shoplifting regulations can help one remain aware during such difficult situations.