A Little Secret: Shoplifters Can Ignore Exit Alarms

but they debase honest shoppers as well as our freedom

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading on shoplifting ever since my Assemblywoman, Mary Hayashi, was arrested and then convicted for stealing over $2,445  in merchandize from Neiman Marcus.  I wanted to understand what made her do it, and at some point I will write about it.

But in researching shoplifting techniques, I found quite a few threads about the electronic/magnetic anti-theft tags that are now put on products of all kinds, from books to electronics (though items of clothing use a different kind).  There are actually several types of these, some hidden within the products.   They are made so that they will be detected by sensors near the exit, which will be if the tag is activated.   When you purchase the product, the checker deactivates it to avoid the beeping.  Shoplifters, as you can expect, try to remove these tags and avoid the beep.  They shouldn’t bother.

The problem with these systems is that they are not sophisticated.  They are often, if not always, calibrated in a way that is not exclusive to the tags used by a given store – so they will be beep if you pass the sensors with an active tag from a product that you bought elsewhere.  Moreover, the deactivation process doesn’t always work, so the sensors may beep when you go by with a product you have actually purchased.  Stores know this, and while they may request patrons to stop (though this is rare), they won’t force the issue.  What generally happens is that the honest shoppers (and inexperienced shoplifters) will stop to have their bags searched.

It may be that these devices deter shoplifting by incompetent shoplifters (which may be a good thing if it stops potential shoplifters from trying it in the first place), but they also present an inconvenience to shoppers.  For one, the implication is that all shoppers may be shoplifters, a “guilty until proven innocent” philosophy which is both baseless and dangerous in what should be a free society.  For another, it embarrasses honest shoppers publicly, as many people do interpret the “beep” as evidence of shoplifting.  Moreover, it makes shoppers waste time.  Needless to say, I disapprove of these devices just as much as of having “greeters” demand to see your receipt and bags when you exit a store.  I’m writing this article to let you know that you too, my honest reader, can just ignore them.

I have a friend that has the same philosophy but is a little more daring than I.  He took one of these devices that had not been deactivated and placed it in his wallet.  Pretty much every time he goes into and out of a store the device makes the sensors beep.  Sometimes he getslooks from the sellers or guards, but never once has he been stopped.  Stopping him, after all, might make the store liable for a claim of false imprisonment.  While stores have a “merchant privilege” of stopping you if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that you have stolen something, the sensors have too many false-positives to make any suspicion reasonable.

There is actually a protocol that merchants should follow to support actual arrests and convictions for shoplifting and avoid false arrest charges.  Neiman Marcus loss prevention agents followed this protocol to the letter when they detained Mary Hayashi.  As there was no question that she had shoplifted, she plead guilty to a misdemeanor to avoid a felony conviction.  She got a slap on the wrist for doing it, though, and she still may be able to salvage her political career: she’s currently running for Alameda County Supervisor.

 

70 thoughts on “A Little Secret: Shoplifters Can Ignore Exit Alarms”

  1. I am not quite clear on your mention of the “exit greeters” that want to see your receipt and compare it with the items in your cart. Are you saying that I can just walk past them and they won’t do a thing? It seems obvious that this should be the case. I haven’t stolen anything and it’s a waste of my time. At Sam’s Club I have already waited in the always-too-long lines to pay for my stuff, so I shouldn’t have to wait in another line just to get “approval” to leave the store with my property.

    1. In most stores you can definitely walk past them without showing them your receipt or stopping.

      However, some membership clubs (and Sam’s Club may be one of them), make your membership conditional on you accepting them checking your receipt. Now, you still don’t have to show it to them – but if they can figure out who you are they could revoke your membership.

      1. I know but im not a shop lifter for example people who shoplif are the people who don’t like using money or are poor or are kids don’t blame kids but kids mostly get caught by parents

      2. For stores like walmart, just walk by.
        Places like sam’s club and Costco you signed a contract for your membership. If you do not follow what you agree to, they can revoke your membership.

        A copy of walmart’s policy on receipts. Most walmarts go WAYYYYY overboard and do not follow their own rules, kinda sad 🙁
        http://img.ksl.com/slc/2489/248982/24898223.pdf

    2. You don’t have to stop and show them anything unless they have like an overwhelming amount of evidence. They have to see you remove the item from its place, see exactly where you concealed the item and then wait until you pass through the doors exit the building before youve actually broke the law. Don’t stop ever, none of those power hungry fools have the right to touch u, if they do scream rape and sue them for sexual advancement, false accusations and public humiliation which is why you now have PTSD. BAM!!!

      1. This is absolutely right Samuel…they have to see you on camera, record it, know exactly where you put it, prove you had no intention of paying for it (walking out). Then they would still need to make you reveal it (they can’t touch you…or its assault). Then and only then have they made a case to call the police. This is why they just let people keep on walking.

        1. Target loss prevention ran up behind me as I was exiting.

          And gave me a bear hug. I told him to get his hands off me. I’m 6ft3 265lbs. And he was about my size but that’s not the point. I just dident want to be charged with assult.

          1. You could sue them for assault and battery. Or at least call the police and press charges. They have no right to touch you.

            Of course, I’m assuming you have not shoplifted.

          2. I know a woman who was assaulted by security at Target he bent her arm as far as almost breaking it. She kept telling me she thought it was cracked, she still had a hard time straightening it. Security told her they had every right to touchange her. BTW, yes she took a few things but wasn’t denying it or fighting them either.

            Help and advice would be appreciated.

        2. Last year on Xmas eve I was in spencers. At the time my brother and I weren’t speaking. I has something small in my hand. An employee had walked by me and I noticed she looked at my hand. By her expression I could see she thought I was shoplifting this 2$ item.
          At this point my brother and wife came in the store. I put the item on a shelf and left.
          5 minutes later I’m walking thru the mall. I looked up to see a county sheriff coming my way. Sure enough I was accused of shoplifting!!! He was being a dickhead with threats of putting cuffs on me. I said, follow me. It was so embarrassing having a cop following me to the store! The place was packed!!! So walking thru the store I made sure he seen my outstreched arm lead to said stolen item. I said, is this what I stole? With the clerk standing there next to the other asshole they didn’t know what to say!!! I wish I would’ve sued them. Could I have?

      2. I love this comment! My old friend in High School ran out with a 30pack and one of the workers yelled “stop! That guy stole something” and a everyday shopper bum rushed him and almost knocked him out with the hit! My friend was arrested but got let off and couldn’t enter Albertsons. But the times he got by were fun nights!

      3. Here is the reality: Wal-Mart will attack you. I have 13 retail frauds, one of which resulted in unarmed robbery. I like many others picked a receipt up for a 13.99 phone charger. (This was 2010 at the Holland Michigan site) I picked up the charger, did not conceal it and returned it. I was greeted by the two staff members at the exit. He pushed me back from the door telling me to come with him. I told him to f off. He and his partner tried to restrain me, i told them flat out… “Touch me and I will respond.” I broke the guys jaw, and escaped the other 300lb black man by running. I was tackled in the parking lot by normal Wal-Mart employees long enough for the other two to attack me. That case saw 19 months. In another earlier event, jcpenny staff attacked me in the parking lot and brutally beat me, blackened eye, caused me to deficate myself. The only store in my area who will not assault you, so far, had been Meijer.

    3. AMEN. It’s ignorant. If a store can’t hire one of millions of dorks beating the doors down to be a figure of Authority, to boost their self esteem and 3″penis, for 8.00 an hour to simply watch obvious foreheads and cons try and leave with a cart full of merchandise without paying, then theres a problem. Well, they don’t, and the idiots wonder why their losses are so high. It’s so easy to spot, catch and eliminate repeat offenders, but they get too much of a personal high to see the light. Just hammering down every other week, and not just Christmas time, would eliminate it. Something else is in-store Tower alarms go off every 5 minutes when I’m in a store. 90% of the time, it’s a female. What’s up with that? I noticed a lot of tightwad, senior citizens getting into the shoplifting scam. They always let em walk out and never watch them on surveillance. If stores started displaying a clear shot of their face on a huge monitor screen and it named the product out loud that the tower picked up it would stop 90% of dumbass shoplifters that constantly set off the store towers these days. It’s every 5 minutes! Obviously what they’re doing isn’t working. It’s so cheap to hire these goofy ass loss prevention people. Walmart are scumbags for putting those poor old senior citizen door greeters in harm’s way and giving them the responsibility to stop shoplifters and do the dork security guards job. What’s up with that Wal-Mart? Oh. It’s because humble senior citizens are less likely to sue your ass if they get knocked down, assaulted in the parking lot, or shot at God forbid. Walmart, and walmart loss prevention lean on these poor old folks way too much and for that, it proves you’re ALL lazy a++ incompetent IDIOTS with sh!t streaks in your drawers. Losers catching losers.

  2. Scott, believe it or not, when I have been to Sam’s Club they check my receipt each time without fail. Last time, not knowing of course, the cashier forgot to ring up my very large bag of Donkin Donuts Coffee Grounds – and the checker caught it and made me “hand it over” or pay for it.

    I have to admit I was frustrated – and decided that going back in line to pay for an item that should have been rang up the first time was not worth my time.

    1. No, it’s actually the opposite. What I’m saying is that the electronic tag that makes a product beep if it’s activated is a red herring. A store does not have the legal right to stop you just because you “beeped” while you exited the store. But they can still stop you or call the police on you if they have other evidence that you have shoplifted. For example, if a store employee saw you take the item off the shelves and leave the store without paying. Or if they have camera footage of you doing that.

      For example, I was at the Dollar Tree the other day when store employees saw someone picking up an item and head out, the store employees called him out about paying, but he walked out with the item. If the store had a security guard (and this was a small store, so it didn’t), the security guard would have been able to detain the shoplifter until the police came.

      I want to make sure to make it clear that I don’t condone shoplifting. I think it’s a very stupid thing to do. But I also think that those devises are annoying and inconvenient without adding much in the way of security for a store.

    2. No what they’re saying is leave the tag alone because even if it goes off,unless u had someone visibly watching u take it and conceal it, even if u set off the alarm they can’t force u to stop

  3. Dude, Im literally a pirate in hawaii. I live in the streets (kicked out) and it requires me to steal to survive. Check this out: Walmart, kmart, safeway, all their detectors NEVER work. I went through them with a bunch of shit that a few more pirates and I steal. We’re even able to steal alcohol. Just avoid cameras and slip shit into your bag (a hand bag that you can easily open is the easiest) and the secret is to buy something everyone you steal. It doesn’t have to be expensive, for example, I had 300 dollars worth of shit in my bag and I only bought a mountain dew. As long as you’re seen paying at the register, they won’t bother to even suspect you shoplift!

    1. Destyni, stealing is not the answer. Leaving morality aside – eventually you’ll get caught, get a record, and have a really hard time finding a job. There should be social services that can give you some help in Hawaii. Try a church, if not.

      1. Are you really giving a homeless person a lecture on morality?
        Food and shelter should be free for all morals have nothing to do with this.

        1. I specifically said “leaving morality aside”. There are very practical negative consequences to be caught shoplifting.

        2. well said…….the fact someone has to have an appointment to have someone who knows nothin about you or your situation the right to decide if you are deserving…..ohhhh sorry eligable for food and shelter….and usually the person deciding is completly burned out….work at a pizza joint…youll be sick of pizza in quick time….i never let them check my bags or reciept…..its completly judgemental and intrusive…..if u see the lift call security….if not kiss my bag…ha get it….bag…jk…lol

    2. Your a fucking savage who gives a fuck about getting caught lifes about having fun dude if it makes u happy just do it fuck anyone that hates. I dont like being on camera and to be filmed If i were to steal from a big store like american eagle or something i would wanna have like a friend with me and when we get in the store act like we dont know each other and both buy something small then and then put something in a bag and both walk out on oposite sides of the entrance setting the alarm off but wouldnt know who to stop idk just a thought i wouldnt wanna steal from a store that has camera though cause sooner or later they will find out and then i wouldnt feel safe going to my favorite stores

  4. Shut up stupid bitch. You know nothing about being homeless and the horrible shit you are subjected to because of a series of shit that ended up leaving you homeless. Your morals change real quick when you have no idea where to sleep that night. I’d love to watch people like you go through what I have gone through and am still going through. Fuck your morals

    1. Im 29 and have been homeless in LA for two years now, i only steal what i absolutely need and pay for what i can but the harsh reality is that it doesnt matter what happened to you to get u to the point of being homeless, society treats u like a lesser being and judges and discriminates against us homeless before giving us a chance. I walk into a store and instantly i have loss prevention following me or hear “security, watch all cameras” over the p.a. system, even if im holding cash in my hand. And resteraunts or fast food places tell me i have to get my food to go just because im homeless, its fucked up and demoralising. I could understand it if i was filthy and smelled horrible or was disruptive or something but thats not the case, i keep myself quite clean for a homeless person, i wash my clothes in bathroom sinks and wash myself and hair in restrooms as well and when im lucky enough to get a hotel room for a night i let every one of my friends who live on the streets shower and stay the night regardless of hotel policy. We get treated like lesser beings but the truth is, some of the nicest, most caring, generous and most inteligent people i have met in my entire life are homeless, so stop looking at us like trash, we are people, we cry and bleed just like everyone else.

      1. It breaks my heart to read your comment. I know you are right. And what’s worst is that we all could be where you are. Have you tried homeless programs in LA? Churches?

      2. I belive homeless people(for the most part) became. Homeless from being good people. And geting ran over and pushed aside by family or a ex

      3. Hey man, I can’t really say I’ve been “homeless” not for more than a day or two at a time but I’m 28 and struggled with meth addiction since 24. I was in my 3rd year of college, when I got arrested for possession of a controlled substance 2 years ago. I was offered a pre trial intervention to keep the felony off my record, one of the conditions of P.T.I. is mandatory, random drug testing. I failed my second drug test and was convicted of the felony and sentenced to 365 days in the county jail. I had never spent a night in jail. From there, 5 months in an inpatient rehab. (I used the literal day I got out of rehab.) Looking back I have no idea how I survived.
        Now, 6months sober, on my good days I focus on a few things I’ve learned that I’m quite sure never would have been possible without the lows and struggles. Things that changed who I am to the core.

        everyone cares (to varying degrees) what other humans think of them. The only people I’ve met that truly don’t judge others, are people that have been down roads like you and I have. And even then it’s far from a given. I’m still human and everyday is it’s own fight. Getting a job (forget a career) with a felony drug conviction was incredibly difficult. Finding someone that would rent a apt/house with a drug felony nearly impossible. I moved into an apt 2 weeks ago. 6+ months I spent on friends floors, the one family member that would allow me to stay, the street a couple times and mostly a motel where prostitution/drugs were everywhere. I was able to stay there largely due to the money from selling things i stole. It’s very easy to judge someone when you’ve never walked in their shoes. Before my addiction, I never, not once gave a dime to a homeless person. Reasoned they must be homeless for “a good reason.” Methheads? I don’t have any specifics but I can say for sure I looked down on addicts and judged them.

        My point, if there is one, is just to hang on and give everything you have to changing your life if that’s what you want. You’ll never be able to stop others from judging. I don’t think stealing is ok. But for those of you that never experienced your backs against the wall & it comes down to surviving, you’ll be shocked what you do. 6 months clean and I have family that still won’t even text me back. Even tho my addiction amounts to like 7% of my life. It hurts to be treated this way. It’s a pain like no other. But I try and remind myself that 5 years ago if replying to you i would have said something mean and judgmental, people can change and the best way I’ve found is by example. Be kind to everyone. Never say “you would never do _______” unless/until you’ve been in the situation yourself and just show the people that judge and look down on you the same thing we both want. Kindness and understanding. I hope you’re doing well, man. If you were in Alabama I’d find a way to help if you still need it. Don’t give up.

      4. Watcher88, I know this comment was left long ago but if you happen to see this please leave me an email address here on this comment to be able to get in touch with you. I hope all is well and things have gotten better for you. Merry Christmas

      5. I’ve takin care of me and my girl for two years off of stealing and selling cloths I’m not saying it’s right but I have been very fortunate never been caught and crazy part is that I think I’m a lousy theaf it feels like they know I’m stealing but let me go every time I don’t get it I wonder why that is I’m not big and scary just normal person but I never steal for myself I sell everything I steal and you should see the look on the less fortunate childrens faces when they get to wair nike and polo like the more fortunate kids it makes me feel good I boost clothes 90 percent childrens cloths and I take only wat the family can afford to spend sometime it can be 500 dollars worth of clothes and maybe get 50 to 75 bucks been known to give for free if the family had no money

    2. You sound like a pretty intelligent person. Intelligent enough to go on a tirade about being homeless. You should channel that energy into something positive Or ask God to guide you. Try being homeless with 5 kids because a DEADBEAT didn’t man up and help with his children!! But rather than wallow in self pity, I went to college, got my degree and made a better life for my kids and myself. I sure the hell didn’t want them to learn how to STEAL to survive. Good Luck to you. God Bless you!

      1. I belive homeless people(for the most part) became. Homeless from being good people. And geting ran over and pushed aside by family or a ex

        Your right Wi-Fi. Or even PAYING A ACTURALL PHONE BILL LIKE I DID WHEN I WAS HOMLESS

        As for your kids dad “maning up” ???? Ummmmm. Lets see here. …… You had 5 kids with the guy and he dident run away after the 1st. Or the 2nd. 3rd 4th but the 5th one he did. ???? Because that’s what men do. Ya. Makes since. We leave the women only after 5 kids. Because that’s what we do. :/

        .sarcastic. And your story sounds fake af

        1. that was epic poetry my friend….i guess the fifth one is what tipped him over the edge…lol….how bout we lynch we all the 1 %ers give there homes to shelter people without 1..and employers get there heads straight and hire the homless temp who has shown on time all the time and has worked harder than everyone….but no lets hire the brother of the guy who stole from us 10 times….i mean his family is rich and the boss is having an affair with a minor…but that homless guy looks like trouble….trouble this repectable God fearing nation doesnt need…….fuckin losers

      2. You get goverment funding so stop complaining and stop abusing and chasing your children’s father off with your toxic, hate filled attitude and let your children be with their father.

  5. “Stupid Bitch??” Wow, Admin didn’t say anything bad about this person; they were simply stating that there are places out there designed to help people in a homeless situation. And it’s true. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to have to go to a shelter every single day and ask for help, but that’s what it’s there for.
    Name calling is not necessary here.

    1. There are waiting list for shelters defiantly if your not loving in a semi big city then your forced to sleep outside or find some place indoors a laundry a hallway somewhere to get out the cold and maybe get rest being homeless really homeless fucking sucks bad your never all the way content or comfortable so don’t talk about shit you have never lived or felt

      1. That sound so stupid. I’ve been homeless before and was able to have a cell phone. It’s a invention called Wi-Fi. It’s literally everywhere by the way

        1. I belive homeless people(for the most part) became. Homeless from being good people. And geting ran over and pushed aside by family or a ex

          Your right Wi-Fi. Or even PAYING A ACTURALL PHONE BILL LIKE I DID WHEN I WAS HOMLESS

  6. not sure about the seriouseness here , but wow lovn it. The “stupid bitch” who commented…. classic. Obviousely we all wish we were at least well off so we didnt have to steal shit. and if u gots to do what u gotta do then thats it . Best of luck and , get urs since u gotta. Greed , lazy gets u caught . and a bad plan of course . Simple as this i love everybody, but seriousely Fuck all yall. bitches. Ough , and body language and dress atire are encouraged. sorry pirate guy – still love u though. Be scary , intimidation is real.

  7. anybody confused about prior comment ,other than admin , fuck you. sorry im having a bad life. fuck . stephanie -where you @ baby ?

  8. I shoplift something EVERYTIME I enter any store. Easy to scrape off those RFID tags with my thumb.
    MOST IMPORTANT is to not look around and up at the cameras making it clear you are up to something. I smile and joke with staff and checkout clerks. Walmart loss prevention is poorly trained and very easy to find in the crowd. They are always alone carrying a small light weight product (hat, shirt or socks).
    If you don’t want to pay for it? Take it.

  9. I recently stole [deleted] drive from [deleted], and I just now realize that it can pretty much ruin my life. I’m pretty sure the only thing the cameras can see is the movement of my coat. What worries me is that action combined with the sensors at the door going off. I continued walking though the door out to my car and nobody followed me. Do you think they have enough evidence that I stole to convict me? I will not be stealing anymore, that’s for sure.

    1. I don’t think you have to worry about being arrested, much less convict you. If they don’t detain you immediately after you leave the store, the chances of their going after you are infinitesimal. They might, however, be on the lookout for you and detain you if the see you shoplifting again. Stores also share the photos of known shoplifters with one another, so that other stores can be in the lookout for known shoplifters.

  10. HELP YAL OK SO TODAY I STOLE WHIT MY FRIEND in Walmart I had a bag I was gonna invite my other girl/ Friend cuz it’s not gonna be obvious if we stole cuz girls always carry bags after we left the alarm rang the fat lady that checks receipts told us to suffer I have a nasty look like bitch tc we didn’t steal shit leave us alone and kept walking my dumb ass friend stood there and I was like come hurry after we got out the doors in the front I started running to my car I WAS SHOOK BITCH we left and opened everything removed the tags and stuff (Btw the only reason it ran it was bc I stole a movie// forgot that my friend always takes the bar inside) now when I was driving back home I was parenoid bc there was allot of cops and also a cop going to Walmart all I want to know is can I get arrested or get charge I’m 16 also I said I’m gonna blame it on my other friend since he’s 15 and they can’t take him to jail or nothing IM SHOOK they have new cameras when u walk in I just hope that fat bitch didn’t snitch or call the cops I hope she does

  11. Took your guys advice and went to a store, took 4 ten foot chargers with the mind to put one back, and headed to the back of the store. I took the tags off of two and put them in my pocket.There I struggled taking off the plastic surrounding one of the chargers which could have been detected. Around walks a black employee while seeing the struggle, asks if I was stealing, I replied no and made up some crazy story, and insisted that I was gonna pay for it. In short I got two chargers free and had to pay for one (I put the other one back)

    1. I did not mean this to become a post/thread about how to shoplift. I’m not censorious, so I’ll allow the comments – but I think it’s really, really stupid (in addition to unethical) to shoplift.

  12. Hell no do i stop and let the exit greeters check my stuff for example at Wal-Mart I just remind them that they are not Costco so therefore I never signed any membership agreements!!!

  13. I was walking out of Lowe’s I had a sale paper the receipt And my cellphone my 14 year old son was about 30 feet behind me he was Caring a can of paint he has Stop and looked at a new flashlight. We had to checkout at the service desk because our Lowe’s in Leesville ,La only has one check out open most of the time and the self checkout never works so I always go to comuster service . Let me add I am Mexican so as I am walking out of the store this woman walks over to me and ask can I see your Receipt I showed it to her and I asked he did I look like a theft why did you stop me I did not have anything in my hands then this manager name Dan walks up and tell me that is part of her job I ask him where is there a sign telling me to stop and show anyone my receipt he tell me we can stop you at anytime I told no you cannot about that time my come up and tell me dad I seen the Dan man tell her to stop you . So a that ploy I knew the he told her to stop me because of me being Mexican and it was racial he just wanted to catch me because of the color of my tan skin I have call the headquarters and what did they do have his store manager call me like the two good old boys are going to do anything to each other. But I seen my son watching me to see what I was going to do and I let Dan have it I explain that he had no right stopping me that he need to learn the laws about Stopping some one i could go on but there’s no point. I know there is a lot of theft out there but in 50 years I have never stolen anything and I tough my 3 yung men never to take anything that is not your. I can only hope that Lowe’s will fix there problems but they have lost a shopper and word of mouth is the best way to let others know if I tell 10 people they will tell 1000 and it will bring there sale down .

  14. I went to target and I checked out at self-checkout. I did not know there was a electronic protection sticker on a false nails box. I go to head out and the alarm goes off. Nobody came or anything so. I was like wtf. I’m now home. I hope the police dont come to my house for no reason lol. And i did not take the reciept on my way out…….

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