View Poll Results: Based on the events described, the man is guilty of

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30. You may not vote on this poll
  • Nothing at all, he can hold you until you get a dot

    1 3.33%
  • Assault, for placing a hand on you

    7 23.33%
  • Assault and illegal Imprisonment, for preventing your exit

    15 50.00%
  • Bad judgement, just get over it

    7 23.33%
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Thread: Illegal Detainment?

  1. #1
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    Below is an incident that happened at the Crossroads Gun Show in Tuscon last weekend. Based on my account, please take the poll.
    I purchased 2 weapons at the show and headed for the exit. At the exit, I was stopped by a man (presumably a Crossroads employee) who indicated that I could not exit until he saw a dot for each weapon. For those who haven't purchased a gun at a Crossroads gun show. Each seller is supposed to attach a dot to each weapon sold (to minimize the chance of theft I guess). I informed him that I was not given a dot for one of the two weapons but had the receipt he could inspect if he liked. He said he didn't care about the receipt and would not let me leave without seeing a dot for both weapons. I told him he did not have any right to prevent me from leaving and began to walk by him, at which point he put his hand on my chest as to stop me from leaving. He again demanded that I get a dot before being permitted to leave. Fortunately, the sellers table was within 20 feet of the exit and he saw the commotion. I walked over and he gave me the required dot at which point I exited.

  2. #2
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    If the individual in question is NOT law enforcement, they are not allowed to touch you.

  3. #3
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    In this particular case, with a sales receipt present there was no excuse for what happened other than total brain-dead, lack of thought on the part of security. Even a polite request to return and obtain the "dot"--perhaps with some explanation of why that is needed over an actual receip--would have been far more appropriate than what you relate here.

    And I am certainl learly of suggesting that anyone be allowed to use force. OTOH, I am also growing tired of living in a society where the least law abiding, or most rude person in any situation is going to get his way. I believe that a store proprietor (or his agent) SHOULD be allowed to use reasonable force to prevent theft. And a flat hand on a chest or blocking an exit until evidence that the merchandise in someone's possession has, in fact, been properly purchased, does not seem unreasonable to me.

    I hasten to add, that in your case, with a receipt in hand, the "dot" should not have been necessary. And I always favor good manners over force whenever possible. But I can also see the more general case of a business needing, and I believe having a right (though perhaps not legal authorization) to use modest and reasonable force to prevent theft and detain suspects for brief periods to either sort it out or let the police arrive to sort it out.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
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  4. #4
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    Number 5: Bad judgement; raise hell in a complaint. Take no excuses.

    I think the slope slips when the presence or absence of a pre-arranged indicator like a "dot" establishes reasonable suspicion of theft.

    This is a little likethose police who think that only guiltysubjects stand on their constitutional rights; therefore everybody who does is suspect. There is no room in theirbrains for the thought that some citizens will stand on their rights simply tofully exercise their rights and enjoy the protections afforded; thus, they make no allowance for this category of person in their contacts.

    Let the merchants deal with loss preventionin the time-honored fashions. They could evenhave checkpoints, just as long as theymake allowancethat from time to time some clerk is gonna forget to put on the dot, and from time to time some citizen is going to refuse the checkpointer's inquiry.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  5. #5
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    i voted assault and illegal imprisonment, but I really think the best answer is for you to get over it. You knew the rules. Going in the door is tacit agreement to follow them.

  6. #6
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    ilbob wrote:
    i voted assault and illegal imprisonment, but I really think the best answer is for you to get over it. You knew the rules. Going in the door is tacit agreement to follow them.
    So, if you go to a Walmart and the person checking the receipt at the door put his hands on your wife because, perhaps, she was ahead of you and you had the receipt, you wouldn't have a problem with that?

    Even giving tacet agreement to abide by their rules (BS in my opinion) does not give their personnel a right to assault me or my family.

  7. #7
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    Provocative statement retracted

  8. #8
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    Yesterday morning my coffee pot quitso after a visit to the dentist's office :what:I decided to stop by Wal-Mart to get a new one. I actually needed two (one for home andone for my office) but after getting completely aggravated withWM Iwalked out with the new one sitting on the check out counter. The people who shop at Wal-Mart do not seem to be able to count to 10 so I understand why they can make so much money.

    Anyway I go to a different store (Roses), find a pot, walk right up to the counter to pay for it (nice clerk who even asked ifI wasover 55, I am) and got a discount. Great transaction, I paid for it, she gave me the receipt and placed a piece of tape on itto show that I had paid for it since I had no need to put it in a bag that I would have to throw away when I got home along with the box and packing materials.

    I should have put the first one in my car,gone back in and gotten a second one and walked out. If they had tried to question me I could have shown them the receipt for a coffee pot. If they askedabout the piece of tape I could have said eff you and walked on. If they tried to physically stop me since they didn't have a policeman there I could then sue them for assault.By the time the police got there I could have been home and they would have a heck of a time proving that I stole a coffee pot even with tapes.I am not sure where everyone wants to draw the line about illegal detainment and actual theft. Also what about citizen's arrest? How does a business reasonably prevent theft?

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    PT111 wrote:
    How does a business reasonably prevent theft?
    LP and video surveillance, in my opinion.

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    Wynder wrote:
    PT111 wrote:
    How does a business reasonably prevent theft?
    LP and video surveillance, in my opinion.
    What good does this do if you can't prevent them from leaving if you see them stealing? I find it ironic that on the same board where a man is championed for killing two robbers in Texas deny the right of a security guard in a store to even detain robbers. Maybe if he shot them rather than putting his hand on them?

  11. #11
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    PT111 wrote:
    Wynder wrote:
    PT111 wrote:
    How does a business reasonably prevent theft?
    LP and video surveillance, in my opinion.
    What good does this do if you can't prevent them from leaving if you see them stealing? I find it ironic that on the same board where a man is championed for killing two robbers in Texas deny the right of a security guard in a store to even detain robbers. Maybe if he shot them rather than putting his hand on them?
    You said 'prevent theft' not 'stop a thief'... Two different things. In any case, they can get a description/video/photo of the person, get the plates of the vehicle they get into, watch the direction they leave and call the police.

    As for the 'right of a security guard ... to detain robbers' -- I doubt you'll find many stores that condone this because, if they're wrong, they're opening themselves and the company up to huge civil and even criminal liabilities.

    Maybe if he shot them rather than putting his hand on them?
    So, shooting someone in a, potentially, crowded store is worth the risk of retaining a peice of property that can fit in a pocket? There's a distinct difference between THEFT and violating the sanctity and security of someone's home.

  12. #12
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    Also, the security guard asking for a 'dot' or 'receipt' or even to stop because some stupid buzzer goes off never saw you steal anything. Most theft from a wal-mart type store would be a misdemeanor and in my state someone has to personally observe you in actually committing the crime before they can even touch you. If it's a felony (maybe if you stole something over a certain amount), then they still have to have reasonable suspicion...

    I guarantee that:

    1. No wal-mart clerk/receipt checker has any clue about these laws
    2. They wouldn't know reasonable suspicion vs not showing them your receipt if it hit them in the face

  13. #13
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    PT111 wrote:
    Yesterday morning my coffee pot quitso after a visit to the dentist's office :what:I decided to stop by Wal-Mart to get a new one.┬* I actually needed two (one for home andone for my office) but after getting completely aggravated with┬*WM I┬*walked out with the new one sitting on the check out counter.┬* The people who shop at Wal-Mart do not seem to be able to count to 10 so I understand why they can make so much money.

    Anyway I go to a different store (Roses), find a pot, walk right up to the counter to pay for it (nice clerk who even asked if┬*I was┬*over 55┬*, I am) and got a discount.┬* Great transaction, I paid for it, she gave me the receipt and placed a piece of tape on it┬*to show that I had paid for it since I had no need to put it in a bag that I would have to throw away when I got home along with the box and packing materials.

    I should have put the first one in my car,┬*gone back in and gotten a second one and walked out.┬* If they had tried to question me┬* I could have shown them the receipt for a coffee pot.┬* If they asked┬*about the piece of tape I could have said eff you and walked on.┬* If they tried to physically stop me since they didn't have a policeman there I could then sue them for assault.┬*By the time the police got there I could have been home and they would have a heck of a time proving that I stole a coffee pot even with tapes.┬*I am not sure where everyone wants to draw the line about illegal detainment and actual theft.┬* Also what about citizen's arrest?┬* How does a business reasonably prevent theft?
    PT111
    Remember in my description, I had a receipt and offered to show it (which has the weapon's serial # on it). I think the main issue is the arbitrary nature of requiring a dot before being allowed to exit. What if they required you to wear a Ronald McDonald wig before being allowed to exit or submit to a photograph? Also, the gun show organizer Crossroads, doesn't sell any guns so why are they so concerned about theft?

  14. #14
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    Not a lawyer, but here is my understanding of the legalities of the situation. A security guard in many ways is a police officer. The only real difference is that their jurisdiction is limited to the private property they are patrolling. However, they can detain you, cuff you, and hold you until the real police arrive. The same actually applies to a citizen's arrest. You or I could actually arrest someone for a crime and hold them until the police arrive. Even if it is legal, it is a very bad idea because of other legalities behind it. These include the fact that you are putting yourself at risk, you probably aren't properly trained to do it, and the slightest mistake on your part will likely end up resulting in a lawsuit against you as well as criminal charges. The rule of thumb, however, is that as long as the security guard's or the citizen's arrest or other actions are done using the same procedures a real officer would have to abide by, it is legal.

    Some of these procedures include that the security guard or citizen cannot use excessive force to stop a criminal and the individual must have probable cause. Probable cause means that there is some evidence that a crime may have been committed. Probable cause is weaker than a "preponderance of the evidence" or "reasonable doubt" in that only a small bit of evidence is required. Sad to say but if it has been made clear that all merchandise must contain a red dot before exiting the building and yours does not have one, that does likely give probable cause that you may be attempting theft. A police officer only has to have probable cause to detain a person and the same applies to a security guard or citizen. The guard ordered you to stop and you did not. This means they are detaining you. However, the real gray area revolves around the hand on the chest. A more logical approach would have been to move toward the exit and block you from leaving or to take the merchandise away from you. Even if the push on the chest is legal, it is a bad idea because of the liability on the business's part. If you sued them, you probably would win.

    Again, a security guard basically is a cop but just for that property. The reason why they should be more hesitant to do those kinds of things is because of the lack of credibility they have. People trust police more than rent-a-cops or citizen interventions. That means that people assume that a real officer has been properly trained and that they will be less likely to engage in abusive or inappropriate behavior if you comply with them. Since security guards go through minimal training and a citizen intervention is coming from someone without any credentials, you cannot trust them at all. So again it is probably legal but a bad idea. I know I would be far more likely to resist some store security guard than I would a real officer.



  15. #15
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    Another example is with searches. A club security guard can search you before entering the club. However, since this search does not have probable cause, you have the right to refuse just as they have the right to prevent you from entering the establishment. So you can refuse the search and then leave. Say the club thinks you are carrying a gun and you are already inside and the security asks to search you. You can again refuse the search and agree to leave the property immediately. They would not have probable cause for a case like this because if they don't allow firearms and you agree to leave, you are already resolving the issue. In order to forcibly search you (by not letting you leave until they do), they have to have probable cause that you are committing an actual crime on the property and that leaving would not resolve the issue (such aswhen they think you are stealing). Anyway, people who want exact information on this should consult a lawyer. This is just my understanding but it is not legal advice.

  16. #16
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    protector84 wrote:
    Not a lawyer, but here is my understanding of the legalities of the situation. A security guard in many ways is a police officer.

    Again, a security guard basically is a cop but just for that property.
    A security guard is a private citizen that's a representitive of themselves and the company they work for, same as the stock boy, same as the cashier, same as the guy behind the computer bench.

    Anything these people are doing are done as private citizens and there are no legal statutes that elevate them to anything BUT private citizens.

  17. #17
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    I don't have any problem with a search when I enter a place, as I can choose to turn around and not enter. But to require a search, so that I may leave, is a very different situation. They'd better have a big ass sign telling me before I enter that I am surrendering my right to leave at my discretion, and clearly laying out the steps I must go through in order to regain my freedom.

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    Sitrep wrote:
    I don't have any problem with a search when I enter a place, as I can choose to turn around and not enter. But to require a search, so that I may leave, is a very different situation. They'd better have a big ass sign telling me before I enter that I am surrendering my right to leave at my discretion, and clearly laying out the steps I must go through in order to regain my freedom.
    +1

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    Armed4Life wrote:
    Below is an incident that happened at the Crossroads Gun Show in Tuscon last weekend. Based on my account, please take the poll.
    I purchased 2 weapons at the show and headed for the exit. At the exit, I was stopped by a man (presumably a Crossroads employee) who indicated that I could not exit until he saw a dot for each weapon. For those who haven't purchased a gun at a Crossroads gun show. Each seller is supposed to attach a dot to each weapon sold (to minimize the chance of theft I guess). I informed him that I was not given a dot for one of the two weapons but had the receipt he could inspect if he liked. He said he didn't care about the receipt and would not let me leave without seeing a dot for both weapons. I told him he did not have any right to prevent me from leaving and began to walk by him, at which point he put his hand on my chest as to stop me from leaving. He again demanded that I get a dot before being permitted to leave. Fortunately, the sellers table was within 20 feet of the exit and he saw the commotion. I walked over and he gave me the required dot at which point I exited.
    I do not believe the common law "shop keeper's privilege" would apply here; the Crossroads employee comitted a battery at common law, and pssibly a battery at your state's criminal law. I believe it would have been lawful touse reasonable but not deadly force against the employee to make your way out of the gun show - but you should ask a lawyer from your state this question.

  20. #20
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    Mike wrote:
    Armed4Life wrote:
    Below is an incident that happened at the Crossroads Gun Show in Tuscon last weekend. Based on my account, please take the poll.
    I purchased 2 weapons at the show and headed for the exit. At the exit, I was stopped by a man (presumably a Crossroads employee) who indicated that I could not exit until he saw a dot for each weapon. For those who haven't purchased a gun at a Crossroads gun show. Each seller is supposed to attach a dot to each weapon sold (to minimize the chance of theft I guess). I informed him that I was not given a dot for one of the two weapons but had the receipt he could inspect if he liked. He said he didn't care about the receipt and would not let me leave without seeing a dot for both weapons. I told him he did not have any right to prevent me from leaving and began to walk by him, at which point he put his hand on my chest as to stop me from leaving. He again demanded that I get a dot before being permitted to leave. Fortunately, the sellers table was within 20 feet of the exit and he saw the commotion. I walked over and he gave me the required dot at which point I exited.
    I do not believe the common law "shop keeper's privilege" would apply here; the Crossroads employee comitted a battery at common law, and pssibly a battery at your state's criminal law. I believe it would have been lawful touse reasonable but not deadly force against the employee to make your way out of the gun show - but you should ask a lawyer from your state this question.
    A quick grab and twist. Dislocated his thumb at least. Reasonable force for removing his hand from my chest, as I would immediately assume that he was attempting to grab me for the possible purpose of hitting me.

  21. #21
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    I tired to find the story ashort while back about a grocery storeclerk was fired for stopping a shoplifter. Does anyone remember this story and what was the situation and result? Seems similar to this question.

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    I'll clearly be unpopular with most here for saying this, but I think the definition (legal and otherwise) of "assault" has gone way too far. A hand, placed on a man's chest with no attempt nor effect to cause any harm should not be considered "assault" in my book, not in these circumstances. It wasn't a dark alley, the security guard clearly was NOT attempting to punch or kick or otherwise harm anyone.

    He WAS overly strident in demanding a "dot" rather than accepting the valid sales receipt. Even still, shop lifters have been known to buy something take it to the car, return and walk out with another of the same item using their sales receipt from 5 minutes earlier if stopped. So a secondary indicator is not a bad idea. Yes, a dot might be removed and attached a second time as well if it does not contain tamper resistent features that make clear it has been removed. But if it contains those features it adds a lot of security.

    Nobody likes to have his rights infringed. But that includes merchants who don't like having their property stolen. And don't think it doesn't affect you.

    A neighbor of mine works at a major home remodeling store and has related that loss from shoptlifting, return scams, and similar crimes accounts for a full 10% of the price you pay for each and every item you buy there. I have no reason think that figure is any lower for other purchases including losses due to theft of cable TV, power, etc.

    And why should a police officer, deriving his just powers only as delegated from the populace at large suddenly have more power to physically detain someone suspected of shoplifting than the person who is actually being harmed?

    I don't have any easy answers to this and I write not of things as they exist in current statute, but of general principles and I recognize there are two sides to these situations. Nobody likes to be hassled or wrongly accused. But none of us would be happy about being effectively prevented from stopping someone who had stolen something from us, NOR should we be happy with the prospect that others might be so prevented and thus allow a thief to walk away, free to rob again. We can't watch our stuff 24/7. We all park in unsecured lots, or leave our homes unattended and the more thiefs walking free, the higher the chance we find our car window smashed. And the higher the price we pay for everything we purchase.

    The gun show should have made clear that there would TWO forms of proof of purchase provided and that showing both would be required to leave the show with any purchased merchandise.

    The seller should have made sure to mark your merchandise as properly paid for.

    The guard maybe should have used a little more tact and politeness to encourage compliance.

    And the purchaser should have been a little more willing to comply with the first request to return and obtain the required proof of purchase.

    Flame away.
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  23. #23
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    I fially found the story so if you shop in Whole Foods Market don't bother to pay for whatever you want.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/...for_stopp.html
    John Schultz says he lost his job at Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor after he tried to stop a shoplifter from making a getaway. But the company says he went too far and violated a policy that prohibits employees from physically touching a customer - even if that person is carrying a bag of stolen goods.

    Schultz says he had just punched out for a break at 7 p.m. on Sunday when he heard a commotion at the front door of the store, 3135 Washtenaw Ave. He said he came to the aid of the manager who yelled for help in stopping a shoplifter. Schultz, the manager and another employee cornered the shoplifter between two cars in the parking lot.

    Schultz said he told the shoplifter he was making a citizens arrest and to wait for the police to arrive, but the shoplifter broke away from the group and ran across Washtenaw Avenue and toward a gas station at the corner of Huron Parkway.

    Before the man could cross Huron Parkway, Schultz caught up and grabbed the man's jacket and put his leg behind the man's legs. When the manager arrived at the intersection, Schultz said, the manager told him to release the shoplifter, and he complied, and the shoplifter got away.

    Schultz said he was called to the store's office the next day, on Christmas Eve, and was fired because he violated a company policy prohibiting employees from having any physical contact with a customer.



    Kate Klotz, a company spokesperson, said the policy is clear and listed in a booklet that all employees have to acknowledge that they received before they can start work.

    "The fact that he touched him, period, is means for termination," said Klotz.

    Schultz said he acted as a private citizen on property that isn't owned by Whole Foods, but Klotz said where the incident happened doesn't change the policy.

    "He is still considered an employee of Whole Foods Market regardless of where he was and what was happening," she said.

    The police report of the incident doesn't mention Schultz's involvement. It says police responded to the call of retail fraud at 7:09 p.m. and could not locate the shoplifter.

    The thief was described as a thin white male, 5-foot-10, in his mid-20s, wearing a black jacket, tan pants and carrying a backpack.

    The report says store employees were suspicious when the man walked into the store and they watched as he filled up a basket and then took it into a bathroom. When he came out, his basket was empty, but his backpack looked full. Then he filled up a canvas store tote bag with groceries, and walked out the door.

    The manager and the other employee told police they caught up to the shoplifter at the corner of Washtenaw and Huron Parkway. It says one of them grabbed the tote bag away from the shoplifter, and the suspect walked away. The bag contained $346 worth of food and other products.

    Schultz, 35, of Ypsilanti Township, had worked at the store for five years, most recently as a fishmonger. He wants his job back.

    "The fact that I worked at the store at (the time of the robbery) is coincidental," he said. "If I had went over to the book store on my break and they were being ripped off, I would have helped them."

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    utbagpiper wrote:
    I'll clearly be unpopular with most here for saying this, but I think the definition (legal and otherwise) of "assault" has gone way too far. A hand, placed on a man's chest with no attempt nor effect to cause any harm should not be considered "assault" in my book, not in these circumstances. It wasn't a dark alley, the security guard clearly was NOT attempting to punch or kick or otherwise harm anyone.
    Maybe not, but he was restricting someone's freedom of travel and, if you go that route, you have everyone who'll say, "I did not intend to hurt him, it just happened." People are their own persons -- keep your hands off of what does not belong to you, especially if that is another human being... I don't care who you are or what you may think I've done, but do not touch me.

    The guard had the choice of simply putting himself between the customer and the door, but he chose to escalate the situation by making the scenario include physical touching. Ultimately people have these choices to make and they should be made to bear the responsibility of their own actions.

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    "Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder." (Doug Huffman, various) "Offense, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder."

    Assault, however benign its intentions, is an assault and with physical contact may even be battery.

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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