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How a shopping cart could set you up for shoplifting charges

Many kinds of shoplifting are obvious and intentional. Some people go in to a store with razors to open packaging or devices to deactivate RFID security chips. Others grab merchandise and run out of the store with little concern for loss prevention, staff members or security recordings of their actions.

Not all shoplifting is so bold and overt. Some of the sneakier shoplifting tactics involve going through the checkout line. Unfortunately, the behavior of an unscrupulous few might mean that your honest mistake at checkout with a shopping cart leads to an arrest and shoplifting charges.

Some shoplifters use their cart as a tool to trick retail workers

Shopping carts allow people to move more merchandise around the store at one time than they could carry in their hands okay. They also provide a place for parents to place their children for safety and efficiency.

You might instinctively put bigger boxes on the shelf under the main basket of the cart. That’s what the shelf is there for, after all. You might also set items under the child seat, which also makes sense if you don’t want them to reach back and grab the item out of the cart.

Unfortunately, organized shoplifters sometimes place items in either of these locations so that the person at the register doesn’t see the item when they check out with their other, cheaper purchases. Others might just load a cart with many items and then push it out of the store in what industry experts call “pushout” theft.

If you made a mistake and forgot about an item under your cart, loss prevention professionals at the store may not believe that it was a mistake and could charge you with a crime. Thankfully, just like anyone else, those accused of shoplifting because of a mistake with their cart will have the right to defend themselves against that charge in court. An experienced attorney can help.