Knife Turns Shoplifting into Burglary
A shoplifter who brandished a knife when stopped by store security officers was convicted of felony robbery for stealing several DVDs.
The store security officers noticed the shoplifter “staging” DVDs around the store. Monitoring him on video surveillance throughout the store, the officers saw the man choose DVDs, carry them to other sections of the store, and leave them there. Eventually, he collected them, put them in his pockets, and left the store.
Following company policy that required the officers to stop suspects only after they had passed all the checkout registers, the officers attempted to stop the man outside the store’s entrance doors. He resisted, sitting on the ground. While struggling with the officers, he pulled a knife out of his pocket, which the officers initially pushed back into his pocket. Stepping one foot away from the officers, the shoplifter then pointed his knife at them, threw the DVDs on the ground, and fled.
The use of the weapon escalated the incident from a shoplifting incident to a felony robbery. Robbery is the use or threat of force in the course of a theft. The court ruled that the theft was ongoing at the time the shoplifter pointed his knife, making the incident a robbery.