Mall Security And Suspected Shoplifters Engage In Car Chase

Earlier this month, two mall security guards in Montville, NJ, gave chase to a carful of suspected Victoria’s Secret shoplifters for six miles. Both vehicles eventually stopped at a liquor store parking lot two towns over, where a real policeman–who at first thought the guards were legit undercover cops–stepped in and started issuing tickets.

Both vehicles continued west on Route 46, exiting at New Road and turning right onto Bloomfield Avenue, where they stopped in the parking lot of D&D Liquors. [The Montville police officer who saw them run the red light] watched as two uniformed officers got out of the SUV and approached the Taurus. One of the women in the Taurus jumped out of the car and fled. The driver exited and dropped to the ground with her arms extended…

[The officer] turned on his own emergency lights and called Montville headquarters to tell them a police pursuit had evolved into a foot chase [...] It was only when [he] got out of his vehicle and approached the uniformed officers that he realized they were Willowbrook Mall guards — driving an SUV marked with “Mall Security” logos.

The mall says it will “pursue the matter internally.”

“Montville, NJ, cops: Willowbrook Mall security chased suspected shoplifters through 3 towns” [Daily Record] (Thanks to LetMeGetTheManager!)

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  1. Amaras says:

    Wait.. why were they not locked up for impersonating a police officer?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      No reason to think they did any impersonating. They weren’t behaving properly, but it doesn’t appear at any point that they tried to pass themselves off as cops.

      • william says:

        the story said they have “emergency lights” flashing. That’s kind of impersonating a cop car isn’t it?

        • trentblase says:

          Depends on the color of the lights probably. Mall security has amber lights where I am, which is usually ok. But red and blue is a no-no. Both, however, could be considered “emergency” lights.

          • YOXIM says:

            This. I’ve never seen a rent-a-cop flashing red or blue lights. Always orange. The cop saw two guys in uniforms exit a marked vehicle. He didn’t expect mall security guards in the parking lot of a liquor store, and he sure as hell did not expect the Spanish Inquisition. But then again, no one does…

    • Groanan says:

      Under California law, they should at least be forced to redo their uniforms.
      If even the cops can’t tell if you are real cops or private security, you are looking far too much like real cops.

  2. chaesar says:

    they took it too seriously

  3. kitty says:

    Mall cops can chase you and run red lights to hunt you down?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Nope. They have no such authority to do so.

      • trentblase says:

        They have no authority to run red lights, but nothing is stopping them from following you. If that causes you to freak out and throw stolen merchandise on the highway, then that sounds like a pretty good way for the mall to get you caught red-handed by the real police.

        • Red_Flag says:

          Nothing is stopping them from following you? You mean, aside from the policies of their employer, quite possibly leading to firing?

          “Gil Bankston, senior general manager of the Willowbrook Mall, said the mall’s policy does not permit security guards to leave the property.”

          • trentblase says:

            Wow, they’re not allowed to leave the property? Do they sleep at Bed Bath and Beyond?

            • Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

              “You’re not supposed to sleep on the mattresses, but I do sometimes.”

          • Kitamura says:

            True, policy would prevent them if they don’t want to be looking for a job the next day, but are there any laws that would make it illegal to follow them?

            • Jasen says:

              Well in this case, they were speeding and running red lights. (and I surely hope they were ticketed)

              The real question is: if they follow the people, what do they do when they finally stop? They’re off mall property, they’re not cops, they have no more right to harass, detain, or assault people than you or I do. They can sit in their car and call the real police to send someone over to talk to the “suspected shoplifters.” That’s about all that’s legal.

          • Marshmelly says:

            Then wtf is the purpose of having them?

        • parv says:

          But after throwing stuff (on the highway) one would be fined for littering.

  4. Angus99 says:

    I was so hoping they were mounted on Segways.

  5. justagigilo85 says:

    The real story here is that the thieves did not get lost leaving that mall.

  6. Dover says:

    uniformed != undercover

    • Dover says:

      Or maybe that should be unmarked car != undercover? In any case, the cop mistook the security guards for uniformed cops, not undercover cops.

      • Dunkelzahn says:

        Police Officers who are uniformed yet drive unmarked cars are still considered undercover. My Sheriff neighbor performs stings in uniform as an undercover officer.

  7. rpm773 says:

    Great. Now I’ll have the Benny Hill Show theme stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

  8. GuJiaXian says:

    I have to ask: Were they trying to buy elven firewhiskey or something? (D&D Liquors…oh, never mind…)

  9. Lucky225 says:

    Paul Blart: Serious Business.

  10. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Why the heck would security guards think they can engage in a car chase like that? That’s insane.

    Did they honestly think they weren’t going to get in trouble or did they not care?

  11. smo0 says:

    Some people take their jobs waaaaaay tooooo seriously.

  12. ellemdee says:

    I was expecting a through-the-mall chase, Blues Brothers style.

  13. RioPuerco says:

    Perhaps when I was younger, a lot younger, I decided that it would be incredibly funny to rally my Isuzu in the mall parking lot a little after closing time. Impressed that my little 4 banger Isuzu could actually make it up past 80 in the span of the parking lot, I failed to notice the mall security guards we chasing me. I promptly left the mall grounds and the security guards turned around and went back to their space, pissed as hell that I didn’t pull over. At the time I thought I was tricky because I thought they could chase me as far as they wanted, but this story reminds me that I wasn’t as awesome as I thought I was.

    Oh, that and the fact that I owned a beat up gold Isuzu car and I was 18 years old.

    • webweazel says:

      Years ago, when I lived in NJ, whenever we’d get snow over about 2 feet, it was time to head to the mall. A bunch of us would head to the un-plowed outer fringes of the parking lot, and have a ball. Donuts, sliding around, etc. It was great practice in learning how to control your car while driving in the snow on the roads. Sometimes the mall security would come and watch for a while for entertainment, sometimes they would join in for a bit.
      Nowadays, with these puffed-up jackasses they hire for mall security, playing in the snow would probably somehow escalate into a beating and tazing incident. Sad.

  14. smarmyjones goes cattywampus says:

    http://www.ketv.com/news/24799510/detail.html

    Did anyone see this? Are mall cops allowed to carry weapons now too?

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Some security guards do have the additional training and do. And if he was hit by the car that would certainly be aggravated assault. It would also put him in reasonable fear that they could back over him or come around again. I would say it was a legitimate use of force given the information I skimmed in the article.

      • Dunkelzahn says:

        Plus the fact that he’s actually a police officer in Omaha who is apparently ‘moonlighting’. Wouldn’t need training.

        • Dunkelzahn says:

          OMG I knew that I recognized that mall name. That’s the mall that the kid from ‘Ebaums’ announced he would shoot the place up, and later did. That’s probably why they employ officers with firearms as security.

  15. Stickdude says:

    Someone has clearly seen “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” a few too many times…

  16. The Lone Gunman says:

    Most places I’ve been after about 1978 or so specifically do not refer to these people as ‘security’ officers.

    The term most in use is ‘safety’ officers.

    From what I gathered, it had something to do with whether they had legal powers of apprehension and detention, plus the whole carrying firearms thing that had mall legal eagles sweating from coast to coast over lawsuit potential. It’s one of the reasons some malls now use off-duty police as security.

    • CookiePuss says:

      Lawsuits are always an issue when working security. I would never want to be a security guard or bounce at a bar solely for that reason. At least when your in actual law enforcement your protected by the FOP/PBA who will either pay to go to trial or settle any lawsuits.

  17. NUXI says:

    Mall Ninja would be proud.

    http://lonelymachines.org/mall-ninjas/

    • knoxblox says:

      Okay, only a third of the way through by now, and all I can say is…O. M. G.

      Paranoia like this is scary on an epic level.

  18. mcgyver210 says:

    Wannabes chase me & it wont end with me on the Ground. There is enough news about abuse of their so called authority I believe I could realistically be in fear of my life.

    As far as Im concerned they impersonated a LEO by chasing someone with Flashing lights & they could have caused injury in doing so to innocent people. The Mall & the Security Guards should pay consequences.

    Retail Stores in this Country are OUT OF CONTROL with Receipt Checks, Assaults, False Imprisonment etc etc They need to pay when they cross the line.

  19. brinks says:

    I’ve been a manager in mall stores for years, in several mall in two different states. I’ve had to let so many shoplifters go because mall security isn’t allowed to do ANYTHING because of potential lawsuits.

    At best, they can stop someone if you not only saw what a shoplifter took, but knew where they stashed it and were 100000% sure they still had it on them (which meant following the shoplifter out of your store and around the mall if security hadn’t gotten there yet). They have a ton of restrictions and basically can’t do anything except for attempting to look intimidating. They sure as hell can’t engage you in a chase off of mall property. I want to bust shoplifters more than anyone, but Jesus Christ. They were waaaaay out of line.

    • CookiePuss says:

      I think it depends on store policy. I was just reading in a gun magazine about a police officer who was moonlighting as a security guard. He was obviously licensed to carry and had his weapon at the time. He followed 2 shoplifters out of the store, the one stopped and the other took off. He chased him on foot for about half a mile onto a construction site. The shoplifter pulled out a gun and shot the officer multiple times. The officer returned fire killing the shoplifter. Nothing was said about the officer being in trouble or fired. It didn’t mention if there were any lawsuits from the victims family though.

  20. sopmodm14 says:

    they should be applauded

    if scumbags steal from one retailer, they’ll just go back to steal from the others

    they don’t play like paul blart or observe and report (which is probably what they should’ve done, lol)

    if someone steals from a mall retailer, there’s no mall cop every around, but when they’re called and do their jobs, they get into trouble

  21. Incident8 says:

    I saw the title and couldn’t help but imagine a chase through the mall parking lot at a whopping 6 miles per hour.

  22. mcgyver210 says:

    Security Guards are WanBe LEOs period.

    They will & have assaulted innocent people before. If a Security Guard, Receipt Checker etc, gets too Close you should be prepared to defend yourself now days. retail is so out of control they will assault & possibly kill people even if they are innocent but we can’t defend our own personal property in the same manner.