Should Walmart Pursue Shoplifting Charges Over $2 Bracelets?

Two teens in New Mexico are now reporting to juvenile probation after they were snagged allegedly attempting to swipe $2 worth of bracelets from a local Walmart. Does this mean that the retail giant has changed its policy of not pursuing charges against minors for thefts under $25?

In 2006, WakeUpWalmart.com and The New York Times reported that Walmart employees had been told that “the guidelines for prosecution of shoplifters have changed: the retail value of the merchandise recovered must exceed $25, and the suspected shoplifter must be at or between the ages of 18 and 65.”

But on Sept. 10, when store staffers say they saw the teens, ages 15 and 17, open a pack of bracelets and put the pilfered items in their pockets, they contacted the police.

According to a local news report, the apprehension of these two girls occupied at least an hour of police time before the girls were ultimately released into their families’ custody.

What do you think of the policy of not prosecuting shoplifters for petty thefts? Would a return to its former zero-tolerance policy do more to curb this kind of bad behavior?

Teens allegedly shoplifted $2 worth of bracelets from Walmart [Las Cruces Sun-News]

Comments

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  1. FrugalFreak says:

    Yes. Shoplifting is shoplifting regardless of the items worth. If they got away with $2 now, it may be 55 plasma next.

    • qbubbles says:

      If they can fit that under their tube tops and tiny skirts, I’d applaud. :)

    • DariusC says:

      Just like its Marijuana now and crystal meth and heroin later?

      • AI says:

        I started with chewing gum and drinking coffee, now I shoot cyanide directly into my veins. Drugs are a slippery, slippery slope.

    • captadam says:

      A plasma costs more than $25. So, when it IS the plasma next, they’ll be prosecuted.

      … Criminal justice is about both punishment and deterrence. What’s an appropriate punishment for a $2 theft? In this case–especially given that teens are involved–deterrence is much more important. And hanging out with the cops for an hour should be enough to put a scare in these kids and deter future criminal behavior. And if it’s not, and future criminal behavior occurs and is more serious, then a punishment is in order.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Yes. Shoplifting is shoplifting regardless of the items worth. If they got away with $2 now, it may be 55 plasma next.”

      People like you are why we have more people in prison than any other nation, certainly any other democracy.

    • yulingo says:

      err… shoplifting a plasma is more like plain ‘ol robbery. I was thinking more like outfits from H&M and the like.

      It’s not like the sentence was in any way a cruel and unusual punishment…

      • DjA says:

        No. Robbery involves the use of force or fear to take an item. Shoplifting a $2 bracelet is technically Petty Theft. Taking the plasma TV is grand theft.

        • mikehtiger says:

          It could be burglary if they intended on stealing the bracelets when they entered the store.

          • Powerlurker says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that burglary doesn’t require you to actually take anything and is committed when you enter into a building unlawfully. If you’re allowed onto the premises, you can’t commit burglary, you’d be committing larceny.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          I don’t know that a plasma TV from Wal-Mart would exceed a wholesale value of $25, though.

    • Griking says:

      I agree. Theft is theft. Obviously they haven’t learned right and wrong at home. Hopefully a few hours in a police dept being processed and a few days of community service will scare them straight at a young age.

    • jessjj347 says:

      IAWTC 100%. And I also do think that this will help them to understand that there are consequences to their actions.

    • Groanan says:

      Didn’t studies show that shoplifting is extremely common amongst children and the main difference between those who end up living a life of crime, and those who end up becoming Supreme Court Justices and Dr. House, is whether or not they are caught and given a criminal record?

      To say shoplifting is shoplifting is to ignore the motivating behaviors behind the act, and the rational basis for treating different acts of shoplifting differently based upon age, location, cost, and the particularity of the item. If arresting a teen for shoplifting $2 of bracelets leads to them doing more harm to society later on, than if you ignored their transgression, we would be absolute fools to do so.

    • kujospam says:

      Just like it’s Afghanistan now, Iraq now, and Iran next.

    • Razor512 says:

      There has to be consequences, if all they got was a slap on the wrist then they would steal again. even for a petty crime, if the punishment is not harsh then it wont discourage crime.

      It is like companies that break certain environmental laws because paying a fine a cheaper than following the law.

      For a petty crime, the punishment should be jail time and if they are under a certain age then the crime does not go into their record, but it will discourage future crime if the shoplifting caused them to lose 1-5 years of their life. and then if they commit a crime in the future then that means that they have not learned their lesson and must be considered unfixable and should be killed in order to save the money that it would cost to keep them in prison for life.

    • stanhubrio says:

      Absolutely agree. Otherwise it’s a store of free stuff for those under 18.

    • CorvetteJoe says:

      Completely agree. Teach them now that it’s NOT ok. Turning them over to their parents for their own punishment and maybe some community service would do them some good.

  2. Alvis says:

    Most criminals start small.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. Shoplifters “test” the security in a store by starting out with something minor-if they get busted, no biggie. One of the girls was even aghast that she was in trouble, saying “It’s just $2, what’s the big deal?”.

      Walmart used to have a zero tolerance policy on shoplifting, maybe they’re just getting back to their roots.

  3. framitz says:

    Prosecution is appropriate. They need to learn that stealing is not acceptable behavior.

  4. Bativac says:

    From a company standpoint it seems like prosecuting these guys would cost more money than the value of the stuff they stole. But, a crime is a crime. I guess it’s really up to Wal-Mart.

    Certainly they are within their rights to press charges, and I guess I can see potential shoplifters turning to Target or Kmart if they think Wal-Mart is going to be super strict when it comes to shoplifters.

    • Gramin says:

      It’s not going to cost Wal-Mart much. They’re going to send some local LP employee to court who will testify on behalf of the company. My best friend was in LP for a movie theatre chain and he routinely did this. They had an absolute zero tolerance policy.

    • rlkelley says:

      In addition the girls may get a bill from Wal-Mart to reimburse them for the costs. Sears has all shoplifters sign a form to this effect when the are apprehended. Or at least they did 5 years ago.

    • Kitamura says:

      Just want to point out we don’t know if there were other circumstances. The linked article doesn’t for example mention if these girls were known to walmart LP. I know where I used to work (not walmart), LPOs might not pursue someone stealing a candy bar, but if you’re coming in every week and doing it, at some point they will take action regardless of the value of what that person stole that day.

    • pixiestix says:

      How is it going to cost Wal-mart? They’re not paying to prosecute – that’s on the state’s tab assuming the state decides to prosecute which would probably lead to probation for the two given the level of the offense (would depend on the state, though). They would just have to send someone to court to go over what they saw and identify the two suspects as the teen in questions. That’s maybe an hour tops they are away from Wal-mart.

  5. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    I say zero tolerance.

    I was nabbed the first and only time I tried to shoplift, as a 12 year old, stealing a large box of Raisinettes from a Genovese drug store in Queens

    If I had gotten away with it, who knows where I would have stopped!

  6. axlrose says:

    I work at walmart and we dont call the police for anything under 25 bucks or if there stealing stuff for like a baby, but we do hit them with a 300 dollar fine per item. I wish we would call the police on all of them though, theres government aid, no need to steal, i find it pathetic. Also kids who steal make up and stuff need to get there ass whooped.

    • Mewf says:

      Their is a possessive pronoun. It always describes a noun.

      There is an adverb meaning “that location.” It is sometimes used with the verb to be as an idiom. It is spelled like here which means “this location.”

      They’re is a contraction of they are. Note the spelling: The a from are is replaced by an apostrophe.

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        Your point? I’m sure the moderator will take it out on me, but Axl Rose adds something useful to the discussion. You being a pedantic dumba** does not.

        I’m not sure the $300 fine sounds right though. I’m fairly sure the Wal-mart near me just refers everything to law enforcement.

        I don’t like the tone of the article. It suggests that the cops are wasting their time in dealing with a call for under $25. If it wasn’t an important law enforcement matter the cops wouldn’t show up.

    • Difdi says:

      You might mention (perhaps to a manager, perhaps to corporate) that you need to be VERY careful how you propose such a fine to a (suspected/actual) shoplifter. If it’s phrased as “Pay us $300 or we’ll call the cops and have you arrested” it meets every single legal test for felony extortion. Some states permit the store to ask for a payment in exchange for not pursuing civil action, but all this amounts to is an out of court settlement of the matter. Threatening to call the cops unless the person pays is a crime.

      Saying you were just following orders/policy does not shield you from criminal prosecution if you are ordered to break the law and obey the order. In fact, if it is a corporate policy you’re following, the prosecutor might even get you under the RICO act, since it’s an organization-wide extortion racket.

      All in all, if I were you, I’d make damned sure I was not the one making the sales pitch to the suspected shoplifter, to pay $300 or else. Spending the next 5-10 years in state or even federal prison is just not worth it.

  7. k4ffy says:

    yes, pursue it. the point is not the value of the goods, but the message that its not okay to shoplift whether its a $0.25 trinket or something much more valuable.

  8. jimmyhl says:

    A thief is a thief.

  9. SonarTech52 says:

    When questioned, the teens said that they were “researching” for an acting role in the future…

  10. pop top says:

    Keep in mind that having them prosecuted doesn’t necessarily mean jail time. They could get probation, community service, or a special assignment from the judge (like writing an essay or wearing a sandwich board sign or something). They should be shown that there are consequences for breaking the law.

    • syzygy says:

      Exactly. Prosecute, but use their age and the value of the goods stolen as mitigating factors in the sentencing phase. Punish them, yes, but let’s be sensible about it.

      • Rain says:

        Depending on where you live, the prosecutor might send them to a diversion program instead. No one likes sending teens to jail for their first shoplifting offense or wasting valuable court time on them.

  11. shepd says:

    Is it okay that a criminal steals toll change from your car?

    No? Then neither is this.

  12. mcs328 says:

    Public humiliation and restitution. That should do it. Got to nip it in the bud.

  13. jariten says:

    In most places this should be prosecuted by the local da…not the store

  14. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Any chance Johnny and Suzy wouldn’t tell Wal-Mart their names or give them their parent’s phone number and forced them to call the police? Or perhaps the kids took the advice given here many times and demanded the police be called? Also, from what has been said here many times, even if Wal-Mart declined prosecution, it is up to the DA to prosecute. So even IF Wal-Mart refused to cooperate, using the statements in the police report, they wouldn’t have to. Heck, maybe the parents wanted charges pressed, just to teach the kids a lesson.

    • hosehead says:

      All sounds plausible. Whatever the situation, I do not think there is anything to stick Wal*mart with on this one. If they cooperate with the prosecutor, can you fault them? If they do not, can you fault them? I do not thing so, unless I am missing something.

    • thistowniswrong says:

      Sounds possible to me.

      I used to work at a Claire’s Boutique (teen shoplifting heaven). So we caught tons of teenage shoplifters stealing $4 rings, $5 earrings, etc. We always called security (our mall had a satellite police station just for mall crimes. Not a great area) and let police/security deal with it. Usually the offender was released to the parents and banned from the mall.

      Time came when a 17-year-old was caught, the police called her mother, and her mom said “No. I’m not getting her again. Let her spend a night in jail.” So she did.

      Zero tolerance. Book ‘em, Danno.

  15. Donkey Hoti says:

    Yes, they should.

  16. brinks says:

    It depends on how severe shoplifting is at that location. If they aren’t losing a huge chunk of profits from theft, they might let it go. However, of they’re being hit left and right, they’re going to want to send a message that theft will NOT be tolerated, no exceptions.

    Most companies I’ve worked for didn’t prosecute ANY shoplifters. No matter what they stole, the attitude was that prosecution was still going to be more expensive. That lead to plenty of the same people stealing over and over again, but, overall, the theft at these places was still pretty low.

    I just started as a manager of a company which takes on the opposite approach. We call the cops if a kid steals a $2 bracelet, we call their parents, and the parents get slapped with a $250 civil liability fee (fine?) even if we don’t prosecute. There’s a hell of a lot of theft in this company, but I can tell you it’s sure as hell not from repeat offenders. If you leave it up to a judgment call, you’re not sending the most effective message possible.

    • zman2rw says:

      Why does it cost the company to prosecute? Once the police are called it’s out of the companies hands, all up to the DA.

  17. MDSasquatch says:

    Stealing is Stealing; look at it this way, how would you feel if they stole a $2 bracelet from your daughter? Does the value make it any less objectionable?

    Only question left to answer is lethal injection or electric chair…

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      My daughter only stole the bracelet from Walmart, so I couldn’t care less if you daughter takes it as well.

    • zandar says:

      there is a difference. My daughter isn’t the biggest retailer on the planet; conversely, i wouldn’t read WalMart a bedtime story or kiss it on the head at night.

      I think this should be left in the hands of parents, personally.

      • Gulliver says:

        I am all for the parents being prosecuted as well. YOU raised them. If somewhere they ever thought shoplifting was acceptable it was on the parents. I guess its the same parent who thinks cheating the system to get extra refills, or download free music, or telling their kid to say they are 11 for a cheaper ticket. You reap what you sow. I think the girls should be required to work at a Wal Mart and see what you will become if you continue to steal

      • Griking says:

        I absolutely believe that the parents should deal with it…after they’re processed down town.

        • Griking says:

          Also another way of looking at it is that it was the parent’s responsibility to raise their kids to understand that this behavior isn’t acceptable. If the parents were able to deal with it then it wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

    • Dyrenia says:

      Better stop them at bracelets. Next time, it might be for cash, at gunpoint.

    • Groanan says:

      Your analogy is flawed. The difference between a $2 bracelet at Walmart, and your daughter’s $2 bracelet, is that the first is fungible and the later is not.

  18. B* says:

    I think most kids steal at least once, it’s normal behavior. Calling their parents to come get them is the most appropriate thing for small amounts like that. For most kids that’s plenty deterrent, was for me!

    • pop top says:

      If you’re under 13 then yes, calling the parents would be more appropriate. But you’d think at 15 and 17 you would know for certain that stealing is wrong. There needs to be a little more than parental intervention here. Not jail time or anything too harsh, but an actual punishment.

    • dru_zod says:

      That would work unless the parents just don’t care. I know of some parents who truly would not care that their children had been shoplifting and they would probably side with the kids. In some cases, the parents might have taught the kids how to shoplift!

  19. humphrmi says:

    I think calling the police is appropriate in any case of shoplifting, regardless of age or amount. Otherwise they might as well put a sign on the door: “Under 18? Under $25? Skip the check-out lines, and go right out!”

    Now what the police do with them is another story. Should every under-18 who shoplifts $2 be sent to Juvie? No, parental involvement must be the first step. What about an under-18 who shoplifts $2 every other day? Yeah, now it’s time to get more serious help. What about a 17-year-old who shoplifts $10 worth of beer? Yup, now it’s time for action.

    • Griking says:

      This was my thought as well. Want the new DVD that came out? Just take it, it’s under $25. Want that clearance video game? It’s yours. Is printer ink too expensive? Don’t worry about it.

      If it becomes public knowledge that Walmart won’t call the police if you attempt to steal stuff under $25 then it basically makes it all free.

    • drizzt380 says:

      So, when I was 5 and I snuck the 25 cent packet of kool-aid past the casheir, then showed it to my mom before we even got outside like it was a joke(because I did not realize the seriousness of the matter), then she took it, berated me (forever teaching me the seriousness of the matter), and gave it to a cashier, the police should have been called?

      That seems like a waste of police time. This is why absolutes don’t always work very well.

  20. MDSasquatch says:

    True story from about 16 years ago. My wife was working at a Walmart in the Pensacola area. A guy walks in, grabs a trolling motor and walks out. The employees were instructed to report it, but to take no action. The manager called the other Walmarts in the area and had them be on the lookout.

    Less than an hour later, this same guy shows up at another location for a refund. He was stalled until the police showed up and arrested him.

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Punishment is a must. But prosecution doesn’t necessarily help society or the kids. The point is to teach them stealing is wrong, not incarcerate them. A stern lecture from an authority figure like an officer and 8 hours community service with the poor would be a better punishment. And the latter can be handled by the parents.

    • Jezz1226 says:

      Yes, but the latter can also be accomplished by prosecution. Prosecution doesn’t mean jail time necc. and it is very likely that the girls in this case will be dealt with by juvenile diversion program.

  22. lostdisk says:

    If you read the full article the item that I found interesting was the comment made by the girls…

    “It was only $2,” the girls allegedly protested. “What does it matter?”

    If it was only $2 then why didn’t you take the item to the register and PAY for it.

    perhaps if the girls’ attitude was different I would agree that they may have just made a mistake, but with this kind of attitude? It almost begs the question to be asked of the girls, then how much would it have to be before you didn’t decide to take it?

    LD

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      This is what happens when you have a society that feels that it’s ok steal music and movies without paying for it, you have people who feel that shoplifting small items isn’t a big deal (who are old enough to know its wrong).

  23. ARP says:

    I think it is appropriate. However, I’d want to make sure these records are sealed/expunged after a certain amount of time if this is a one-time thing (I imagine since they are minors it already happens). This shouldn’t follow them forever if it only happens once.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      I think that’s a fair approach. I’d think that for *most* kids, getting hit with some kind of punishment (probation, community service, etc.) would scare them straight.

      What about the ages, though? A kid could be 8 and steal.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        But many jurisdictions (Canada for example) determine that those under a certain age (Canada = 12) will not formally charge said minor with any offense, because before said age, the offender isn’t mature enough to know right from wrong. Although even at a very young age, I would definitely give that kid a harsh lesson to ensure (s)he doesn’t pull that off again at a later age.

  24. fundriving says:

    All stores should have zero tolerance policies. It’s not about the cost of theitem shoplifted. It’s about stealing. It’s especially important for our youth to understand that stealing has consequences. Small thefts can lead to bigger thefts later. Our society, for the sake of saving money has moved away from procecution of smaller crimes, my town doesn’t procecute most vandelism and misdameanors anymore because of funding.. Guess what? Lot’s more of those going on.

  25. Lollerface says:

    They need to pay for the crime somehow. It just sucks that much more than $2 will be spent teaching them a lesson.

    • syzygy says:

      With luck, the publicity of this case will make other kids think again about stealing, so perhaps it’s money well spent. I believe deterrence is the main goal of loss prevention.

      • Blueberry Scone says:

        There’s that end of it, too. Maybe it will deter theft if others see that you can’t get away with stealing a $2 item.

  26. Rocket says:

    “The retail value of the merchandise recovered must exceed $25, and the suspected shoplifter must be at or between the ages of 18 and 65″

    So, I can send my 16-year-old brother into a Wal-Mart to steal me a candy bar and a soda, and it’s OK?

  27. DragonThermo says:

    Wait! If you 17 years and 364 days or fewer old, you can walk into a Walmart, grab a $24.99 item, and walk out the door with nobody doing anything about it? Darn! I wish I knew about this back in the day!

    What a great policy to train up and coming shoplifters!

    Okay, maybe not prosecute and go to court over $2 shoplifting charge, but definitely have their parents come and pick them up. If the parents have an ounce of responsibility, the kids will learn a lesson about not stealing.

    Then again, in some parts of the world, Walmart can cut off one of their hands without having to bother with calling the police. That will help reduce the risk of them shoplifting again. :-)

    • Jezz1226 says:

      They can prosecute and it not go to court since they are juveniles. Most likely it’ll be sent to some juvenile diversion program (such as teen court where other teens hand out the punishment (of the community service variety not jail time) for these sorts of things)

  28. yessongs says:

    Lock em up and throw away the key!!!

  29. Macgyver says:

    Shoplifting is shoplifting, no matter how much it is, it’s still wrong, and illegal.

  30. Dragging40 says:

    Let me be blunt about this. Anyone who thinks that someone should get away with stealing a $2 bracelet just because it is only worth $2 is an idiot. What if 1000 people stole a $2 bracelet, should the store absorb $2000? What if it wasn’t Walmart, what if it was “Uncle Mike’s bait and tackle” ?

    My only concern is the parents, who will have to pay court costs, probation and any other fine associated with this theft. Kids who steal should be picking up trash across the street from their highschool. Maybe that would teach them not to steal.

    • kobresia says:

      Yes, the parents will probably have to pay court costs, and if they’re worth a damn as parents, they’ll have their kids pay them back or otherwise work it off. Great parents would figure out a way to make the kids really wish that the police would just lock them up and get it over with, without resorting to actual child abuse of course.

  31. TabrisLee says:

    I understand a company wanting to save money; it ultimately costs more to pursue the prosecution of shoplifters pilfering low-dollar items. It’s the principle of the issue, though. Those kids stole something, and they deserved to be punished for it.

  32. Tokarev_Makarov says:

    Only if they’re the JewBandz with the $ snuck in.

  33. munky9001 says:

    Criminal charges(even contacting the police) in this event is pointless sure… but holding the criminals, contacting parents, and banning them from the store is still valid i would hope.

    My actual concern for anti-thieves is when they do far more with less evidence.

    That is to say… they want to stop and search people solely because they look like they stole something.

  34. PsiCop says:

    $2 bracelets are the “gateway drug” that gets people hooked on theft. They move up to more valuable items, always seeking an increased thrill. Before you know it they’re stealing jewelry, cars, and robbing banks. Nab a $2 braceletnthief now, and maybe you won’t have a jewel or car thief 10 years from now! ;)

  35. Zeratul010 says:

    I’m of a split mind on the decision. On the one hand, this is the kind of case that clogs up the system – they aren’t going to go to jail, and a discretionary, non-judicial disposal of the case (i.e. calling the parents and banning kids for a year) would probably be just as effective. On the other hand, at 15 and 17, you know damn well that theft is theft. A court appearance might be a good wake-up call, and the community service sentence they’ll get is a decent deterrent to future instances of such behavior.

    I think the policy case is what tips me towards court on this one – someone who steals a $2 bracelet can’t make an argument for necessity. They wanted it, so they took it, and if they got away with it, I doubt they’d stop at the $2 bracelet next time. Better to come down on this hard now, when they’re minors, and the items stolen are negligible (some states have graduated levels for larceny, where

  36. rdeebee says:

    I support WalMart 100% (omg…I’m gagging saying that…) on this. If what happened will teach the kids that being arrested and jailed sucks really hard, then it’s well worth the time/trouble.

  37. sendbillmoney says:

    A theft is a theft, no matter how small. If you don’t want a record, don’t steal s–t at all.

  38. peebozi says:

    If Wal-Mart spends more than the potential profit and cost of the bracelets then they are shirking their #1 and only responsibility…to increase shareholder profits!!!! As with every other business decision they make this has nothing to do with ethics, morals or teaching these girls a lesson. And that’s why they initially instituted the $25 price point.

    • Greely says:

      The policy is only for minors. I am positive it has more to do with the idiocy of our legal system than a profit margin.

      • peebozi says:

        If it were profitable to prosecute they would prosecute. Anything other would be shirking the responsibility to their shareholders!!!

  39. infected says:

    Agreed with most other comments.. fuck ‘em. They need to learn the hard way that they are in fact criminals and deserve to be treated as such. To hell with free passes on prosecution.

  40. AI says:

    The police have the ability to hold a person without charge for something like 24 or 48 hours. Do that to these kids. It’s much cheaper than going through the actual process to charge them with something, and 24-48 hours in a police station cell is more than enough of a lesson for a $2 theft.

  41. Kibit says:

    I knew a few girls in junior high that shoplifted cigarettes and then clothing from department stores. They all came from good homes and well off families. They only stopped shoplifting when they finally got busted stealing a pack of gum from a grocery store and were held by security for an hour because their parents had to leave work to pick them up.

  42. Ben says:

    Death penalty!!

  43. Battlehork says:

    Eventually it’ll be like Oblivion where the guards magically know that you stole something and then try to kill you to get it back.

  44. raphaeladidas says:

    They should be sentenced to work at Walmart.

  45. katsuyakaiba says:

    Yes, just because it’s small now doesn’t mean it won’t become bigger later.

  46. Difdi says:

    Stealing is stealing. The only relevant thing about value of what is stolen, lies in determining how severe the punishment is.

  47. cyberpenguin says:

    Heck, why bother arresting them.

    They can’t even keep the violent offenders behind bars here: http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_16099260

  48. Dyrenia says:

    Of course. teach them now before they start holding up banks.

  49. perfectly_cromulent says:

    theft is theft. i used to manage a Claire’s Accessories store, and we would procecute anyone for anything, and most the shoplifters were preteen or teens. if anything, it usually gave them a good scare.

  50. Gulliver says:

    How inconsistent can people be on this site? Lets see a guy fights over a $2 coffee refill over PRINCIPLE. A guy fights over a parking garage for $3 for the principle, BUT when a corporation is fighting something that I think any reasonable person would agree is WRONG, they think they are being bullies. I hate sticking up for Wal Mart, but I will never stick up for shoplifters. I guess I can go into Wal Mart everyday, pick up a $5 item , and walk out. No questions asked. They aren’t going to prosecute anyway. I think they should force these girls to work at a Wal Mart until their 21st birthday and see what hell really is.

  51. The Marionette says:

    If it’s within the law then I’m for it. The thief thinks it’s petty at first, but after doing it for a while they start stealing more expensive stuff. An example is of this girl from jr high, she would still things like gel pens and other stuff and by time she was a jr in highschool she was already stealing money from people. I steered clear of her of course, but stealing can progress.

  52. Gulliver says:

    Yet the school systems have ZERO TOLERANCE policy regarding drugs, including aspirin. If one student handed an aspirin to another they could be expelled.
    If a 17 year old had a .001 BAC they could lose their driving privleges until they turned 21, under zero tolerance.
    The above two examples the kids did nothing wrong and get punished harshly, but the girls get a stern lecture for STEALING

  53. sopmodm14 says:

    even if they weren’t prosecuted, it shows that principle that stealing is wrong

    if they can’t assess a monetary punishment, the shame is greater in many cases

  54. nacoran says:

    How about calling the fashion police? Two dollar bracelets? Seriously though, prosecute. If you give kids a pass creepy parents will use them to shoplift for them. You could actually make a lot of money stealing one $24 dollar item at a time.

  55. Broke_Daddy says:

    As a Home Improvement Store Manager, I once had to fire an employee for stealing a ridiculously inexpensive item. The employee wanted to pay for the item after having been caught.
    I refused the payment using the reasoning that if I let that employee get away with it, then I’d have to give every other employee an opportunity after getting caught. Who knows how much they’d have gotten out of the store before being caught?
    Every act has a consequence, good or bad.

  56. Whizzer says:

    While the girls might have “only” stolen $2 bracelets, it’s also entirely possible that one or both of them might be “regulars”–folks that are (believed to be) stealing frequently, but haven’t been caught (yet). We have several of them at my store, like the kid with the shoe and underwear fetish, or the gal with the really bad bleached hair. Walmart might feel that the girls went over the theft minimum some time ago.

  57. dunaja says:

    Walmart has/had a policy of not pursuing charges with minors? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. How is there not an army of 17 year olds (with typical 17 year old judgment) out there trying once a day to steal a HDTV?

  58. ap0 says:

    When I was in my early teens I shoplifted a couple times (and I’m certainly not proud of it), but were I to have been caught and had to deal with my parents, that would have been enough punishment to last a lifetime. A friend of mine had this phase where he was like a pyromaniac/kleptomaniac (so much so that in 8th grade his locker was FULL of lighters, seriously — hundreds of them, all stolen). He ended up getting caught, got in pretty big trouble without going to jail (his parents are old school Asian and he wouldn’t even talk about his punishment), but I think it made him a better person. He ended up going to West Point.

  59. Corinthos says:

    HMM I wonder if they did something else also like cause a scene or just have a bad attitude when caught. I worked a a regional grocery chain and in the 2 years I was there we only prosecutes under $50 in items once. As they were escorting her back to the room she was shouting obscenities The girl told the assistant manager that if he got the cops involved she would tell them he touched her breast in the backroom.

  60. I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

    SILLYBANDS!!

    They’re really popular with kids, boys and girls of all ages, and the only way you can steal $2 WORTH of bracelets.

    Punish: Yes
    Prosecute: No

  61. Extended-Warranty says:

    How is this even a topic of discussion? To sit by and allow this behavior will only cause it to continue. If you’re for sending a child to school to learn, you should be for them learning a lesson. Great use of tax dollars if you ask me.

  62. sconner says:

    Absolutely. Stealing is stealing no matter what the value.

  63. Inkheart says:

    Sheesh, you all need to relax. If theft is theft no matter the item or cost, then don’t be whining when the cops come to your door for the extra pens you stole from your office last week.

  64. DanGarion says:

    Yes. If they don’t why do we even have laws.

  65. NydiaGeben says:

    Strike 1 … 2 more and throw away the key. … got it, kids?

  66. emptyV says:

    I say “cut off thier hands”

  67. corker says:

    I’m surprised at all the intelligent answers. Stealing is stealing.period.

  68. LONGSAIL says:

    A theft is a theft. So anyone can walk into any WalMart and simply walk out of the store with anything under $25? If that’s ok, then they will soon go belly up.

  69. CapZap says:

    Hey, theft is theft. Except when it’s borrowing music for personal educational purposes only.

  70. common_sense84 says:

    I’d say it changes things when the item has been damaged. Had they caught the girls with the item intact, that may have changed the situation. But policy is not absolute. If they feel the kids who did it are the type that will do it again, it would be stupid not to call the police.

  71. Jake Itch says:

    Isn’t it curious how shoplifting is categorized as “crime against the state” but when Walmart overcharges a customer (or thousands of customers) they aren’t liable for prosecution since it is a civil matter.

    Several years ago I was overcharged by WalMart on more than one occasion (charged more at the register than posted at the product display) and presented a gang of Chicago lawyers with a class action case with intentions of serving as class plaintiff. They absconded with my work product and filed the case in California. During the same time period the CA Attorney General was also scrutinizing Walmart.

    END RESULT: The lawyers who purloined my work product struck a back room deal with WalMart in October of 2009 and walked away with a 7 figure settlement. The state of CA implemented shin kicked walmart and required them to implement pro-consumer safeguards to prevent WMart from overcharging CALIFORNIA customers for a measly 4 year period. Why only 4 years? What about consumers in the other 49 states? Don’t they deserve the same protection !! Wake Up Walmart never posted any information on this hush-hush settlement at their website and did not respond to my offer to provide specifics.

    Savvy consumers realize the 800lb gorilla has very little to fear from state or federal agencies, or most law firms. I spoke with a state employed store inspector from Vermont who experienced the same bizarre WalMart overpricing scenario as I did. We both alerted Walmart of an overcharge problem and they corrected the situation, but 2 days later the same problem resurfaced. Why? The corporate mainframe negated the corrected store price, despite the fact the lowered price was consistent with the price displayed. This is not an uncommon problem, but WalMart has proven to be the least capable of detecting and preventing these incidents, which is quite strange in light of the fact they boast of being the “king of efficiency” in all other retail related matters.

    I was left wondering WHY the Vermont store inspector did not refer the matter to the state Attorney General, or take other action to protect consumers. It was easy to get the impression many of these agencies are content holding out their hand several times each year for that $5,000 or $10,000 pricing non-compliance fine rather than correcting the situation.

  72. DEVO says:

    Yes. Being a thief is one of the biggest signs of being a piece of s%#@.

  73. mandy_Reeves says:

    well one girl from High school in 1996, went from petty theft to stealing clothes from Old Navy an Burlington Coat factory and ended up on drugs. She would get caught with the petty theft and a wrist slap, but that was it. I saw her September 2009, with her accomplice and they were acting shifty and stuffing under ware an shirts in their jacket sleeves and pant legs. I told a manager, and she and the helper were apprehended. Detectives had been following them when they walked in.

  74. KevinReyn says:

    Absolutely they should be prosecuted. While it is the parents responsibility to raise their children to make the right choices in life, some either don’t participate or try very hard and are not successful. When the kids step out of line then it is the community that needs to reinforce what is acceptable behavior. Some would have a problem with the tax dollars being spent over a $2 bracelet, but I think its money well spent. If this one small interaction with the legal system has the effect of modifying their behavior and keeps them from moving on to bigger and better things then it is money well spent.

    Put another way I would gladly pay a few hundred, even a few thousand now and not have to pay tens of thousands later when they are in and out of jail for other petty offenses or worse. Now I would hope the judge would levy the appropriate humiliation, picking up trash in bright orange overalls in front of their school or somewhere else that is sacred to them. Though I guess in this day and age that might actually backfire and they would think they are all hard now and wear it like a badge of honor.

  75. soxfantoo says:

    Having run a number of stores, the added cost to apprehend and/or prosecute a shoplifter was never a concern.

    What was important was to establish a reputation that we would prosecute for any amount. Enforcing a zero tolerance policy acts a deterrent, especially among teens.

  76. soxfantoo says:

    Having run a number of stores, the added cost to apprehend and/or prosecute a shoplifter was never a concern.

    What was important was to establish a reputation that we would prosecute for any amount. Enforcing a zero tolerance policy acts a deterrent, especially among teens.

  77. dolemite says:

    I’m actually shocked they don’t pursue $25 and under for younger ages. If this got out, why wouldn’t kids just go into walmart and attempt to steal whatever they can, whenever?

  78. StevePierce says:

    Yes, stealing is a crime.

  79. pot_roast says:

    “”It was only $2,” the girls allegedly protested. “What does it matter?””

    That’s why they should be slapped with charges. If that’s their attitude, chances are they’ve done it before because they obviously see no problem with shoplifting.

  80. dilbert69 says:

    I think Wal-Mart should press charges regardless of the value of the items. If you’re going to take the risk of stealing, make sure you steal something valuable.