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15 Telltale Signs of Shoplifting on Black Friday

How Retailers Prepare for Their Biggest Threat

Shoplifting is among the most widely-committed crimes on Black Friday. Perceived as the start of the holiday shopping season, many shoppers wait until Black Friday to get their hands on irresistible discounts and stop at nothing to do so. While some shoppers are more aggressive towards one another, others are much slyer and “low-key.” As such, retail employees are on high-alert for shoplifters on Black Friday and receive extensive training to identify and prevent theft as a result. Retailers prepare for and exercise increased caution on this significant annual shopping day by doing the following:

  • Posting anti-theft signs (i.e. “shoplifters will be prosecuted”)
  • Organizing the store’s design and layout
  • Locking up small and expensive items and placing them at the checkout counter
  • Training staff to detect and deter thieves
  • Expanding video surveillance
  • Utilizing smart shelves to track inventory
  • Regulating who enters and exits dressing rooms

As beneficial as the strategies above can be, nothing beats instincts and observations. That’s why many retail employees are trained to detect the following telltale signs of shoplifting and trust their gut feelings about suspected shoplifters:

  1. Unusual customers
  2. Big bags/purses
  3. Baggy or oversized clothing
  4. Avoiding eye contact
  5. Obstructing facial features (masks are exempt)
  6. Taking too long is dressing rooms
  7. Walking out of a dressing room with fewer items than you walked in with
  8. Scanning for employees and security cameras rather than merchandise
  9. Loitering at entrances/exits
  10. Walking in groups and then splitting up
  11. Acting nervous upon questioning
  12. Excessive sweating
  13. Wearing jackets in hot weather
  14. Asking for out-of-stock items or otherwise unavailable items to get employees to go to the back
  15. Loose or removed price tags

It is far too common for shoppers to be wrongly accused of shoplifting. People make mistakes, including retail employees, and suspected shoplifters often end up being completely innocent. The mask requirements for COVID-19 can make it especially difficult for retailers to identify signs of shoplifting, such as nervousness, avoiding eye contact and sweating, therefore it is highly possible that you may end up in a bad situation through no fault of your own.

If you were accused of retail theft in Milwaukee, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella at (414) 882-8382 to retain the aggressive defense you deserve.