Big box stores taking new approach to shoplifting cases

Pennsylvania

Stores like Walmart, Sears, Kohl's and others are filing private criminal complaints against suspected shoplifters directly to the district attorney's office

A Walmart logo is attached to the outside of a Walmart store, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, in Walpole, Mass.

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

UNITY, Pa. (AP) – Some retail stores in Pennsylvania are increasingly taking an approach to combat shoplifting that bypasses local police.

Stores like Walmart, Sears, Kohl’s and others are filing private criminal complaints against suspected shoplifters directly to the district attorney’s office.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found they accounted for nearly half of more than 4,000 shoplifting complaints filed in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties over roughly five years.

About 46 percent of those resulted in convictions.

Legal experts say it’s within the law for store security personnel to question a suspected shoplifter and use the information in a criminal complaint, though some say it’s prudent to notify a suspect of Miranda rights to have an attorney.

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