Walmart Will Now Prosecute Shoplifters As Young As 16

With increased shoplifting and employee theft hurting Walmart’s bottom line, the store says it will now go after first-time shoplifters who are as young as 16. Previously, it was Walmart’s policy to only prosecute first-time shoplifters who were at least 18.

Walmart denies that the change is in response to increasing theft. We assume that is because Walmart denies everything, no matter what. They say they are “responding to suggestions from stores” Ok, have it your way.

Also, if you are caught shoplifting at Walmart they will now only wait 60 minutes for your parents to show up before they call the police. It remains Walmart’s policy not to prosecute anyone stealing less than $25 worth of merchandise.

Wal-Mart toughens theft policy [Seattle P-I]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Toof_75_75 says:

    So if you are going to steal stuff, keep it under $25 and you are free as a bird?!

  2. BobChin says:

    I’d hate to be a young teen now…
    Back 20 years ago.. The parents ruled the punishments and not the Law. (I feared my parents far more, but am thankful for it now) I see so many futures ruined over stupid pranks and petty theft.

    It’s a shame but seemingly a required progression.

  3. Moosehawk says:

    Damn hooligans. You would think by the age of 16 you would have developed a brain by then. You would then harness the power of this “brain” to make two critical decisions:

    1.) Don’t shoplift, you’ll get caught.

    2.) Don’t shop at Walmart. Even if you are just stealing their merchandise.

  4. tvh2k says:

    3) If you’re stealing from Walmart, make sure you replace the XBOX 360 with a whole bunch of magazines and dirty socks.

  5. Toof_75_75 says:


    You know your store sucks when people hate it too much to even steal from it… lol

  6. Walmart denies that the change is in response to increasing theft.

    Why? If theft isn’t increasing why ramp up efforts to prosecute? That would suggest that it’s your bottom line that’s been hurting and I’d think that’s the thing they’d want to deny.

  7. FLConsumer says:

    What does Mal-Wart have which is worth stealing?

  8. MissPinkKate says:

    Good. Do the crime, do the time. Make kids think twice about stealing again.

  9. Moosehawk says:

    Even if they are lying about increasing theft, I don’t really blame Walmart on this one. If you’re stealing, you deserve to be prosecuted. Thieves are scum. Maybe they should get a real job and earn stuff they want like the rest of us.

  10. Shadowfire says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Looks good to the shareholders?

  11. Hedgy2136 says:

    A friend of the family is a the front end manager of the local Wal-Mart. When they finished their quarterly inventory recently, she said that they had over 3 million dollars worth of shrinkage in the last quarter. I was really shocked because I thought they had a pretty agressive loss prevention program. Imagine my surprise when she said that corporate thought too much was being spent on LP, so they pretty much eliminated it about 3 years ago.

    Didn’t I read that Wal-Mart reported something like 5 billion in losses company wide recently? I don’t remember if it was a quarterly or annual figure.

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    They’re doing it as a service to minors. Cuz everyone knows Juvie Hall sex is much hawter than prison sex. Now they can see to it that their customers are literally – as well as figuratively – sodomized.

  13. HawkWolf says:

    wait, so I can walk into wal-mart and pick up a CD and walk out and they’re not going to call the cops?

    Are you kidding me?

    (I don’t buy CDs from Wal-Mart. It was the first mildly expensive thing I could think of.)

  14. is that $25 pre or post tax?

    planning ahead XD

  15. miborovsky says:

    Huh. You’d think that Wal-Mart has the right to catch shoplifters in their stores. If you’re not a shoplifter, this change doesn’t affect you in any way. Nor should it affect you in any way if you’re not planning to shoplift. Shoplifting, in case you don’t already know, is illegal and wrong.

  16. marike says:

    My niece has stolen from Wal-Marts in Ohio and Florida while under the age of 16 (first time she took a 3.99 clearance skirt and a tank top, second time it was an Equate-brand pregnancy test). Both times the police were called and she was prosecuted (first time, her mom wasn’t called until my niece was at the police station, second time she tried to pick her up at the Wal-Mart, but the police were already there and ended up taking her away). Her first sentence was a slap on the hand because she was 13 and the judge told her not to do it again. Second one was when she was 16 and she was sentenced to a few months of counseling (which had a positive effect on her until her piss-poor mother decided her daughter wasn’t as important as bingo night). She also had some community service and she was banned from all Wal-Marts in the Tampa area.

    Of course, now, at the age of 20, she is a high school dropout and she lives in a tent somewhere. But, on a positive note, being homeless and broke has allowed her to lose 90lbs and she’s almost under 200lbs! :)

    Anyhoo, not sure why my niece was prosecuted twice if their old policy was 18+.

  17. venterminator says:

    It’s obvious that Wal-Mart also has a weight limit that supersedes the age limit in the case of your niece’s shoplifting. Hopefully, they’ll let her back in so she can steal that Alli junk.

  18. Major-General says:

    “Previously, it was Walmart’s policy to only prosecute first-time shoplifters who were at least 18…It remains Walmart’s policy not to prosecute anyone stealing less than $25 worth of merchandise.”

    I seem to remember corporate policy when I worked there was to prosecute everyone between 14 and 60 for theft or damage of $4 or more.

    I met a woman around christmas who had a question that I helped and found out her daughter was going to England with family friends. Her 14 year old son who had stolen some toy cars worth about $6 had his christmas in the legal fees Wal-Mart spent prosecuting him. She said the legal fees and the trip cost about the same.

  19. SaraAB87 says:

    From what I hear most retail stores don’t prosecute shoplifters until they are 18 years of age, which makes teen stealing and child stealing rampant. It doesn’t help that most retail stores have more cameras on the employees than they do on the shoppers. If you do it after you are 18 then that is when you get in serious trouble. Most teen and kid stealers/shoplifters are told by their parents to go and steal something from the store so when the parents get called in they fake like they are genuninely concerned about their kid then they go home and enjoy their free item, or they just don’t show up at all.

  20. Theft is theft…

  21. enm4r says:

    Good, prosecute to the fullest extent allowed. Why protect underage criminals?

  22. Youthier says:

    Even if the prosecute a 16 year old, if it’s your first offense won’t you just get community service and probation for shoplifting? Most of it’s probably expunged eventually anyway. This is hardly going to ruin lives if it’s a relatively good kid looking for “danger” so I don’t have a problem with it.

  23. Papercutninja says:

    Good. Until Al Sharpton gets involved. THen it’s not their fault.

  24. superlayne says:

    SWEET. That’s 25 free dollars they won’t prosecute me for!

    …I’m joking, sincerely.

  25. JayXJ says:

    Does not bother me a bit. If you’re willing to steal you should have to deal with the consequences.

  26. kracer22 says:

    @Moosehawk: Maybe they should get jobs as Walmart employees, so it becomes easier to steal stuff.. with what Walmart is paying them wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t more of it.

  27. balthisar says:

    What costs more than $25 in Wal-Mart? I’m pretty much against theft, but by saying they won’t prosecute if it’s under $25, isn’t that pretty much an open invitation to use my five finger discount all I want?

  28. andrewsmash says:

    Of course, if their employees weren’t overworked and underpaid, and their stores weren’t running on minimal staffing, they might also see a reduction is shoplifting. Yes, stealing is wrong and illegal, but if someone you don’t know leaves valuable things in plain view with no security, they can’t claim to be surprised. Our society rewards people who lie, cheat, and steal – and it praises them for their cleverness. You want that to change – punish corporate scammers and celebs to the full extent of the law. Do that, and you won’t have to worry so much about teenagers.

  29. Havok154 says:

    Walmart also stated that they won’t prosecute you if you steal their chicken or beef. They figure if you actually eat the chicken, it’s punishment enough. If you eat the beef, you’ll just die.

  30. Jesse in Japan says:

    Doesn’t announcing this internal policy publicly only encourage kids under 16 to shoplift, knowing they won’t get in much trouble?

  31. Dave M says:

    Not really sure why anyone would have a problem with this?

    They call it “prosecution”, I call it “consequences”. Would be even better if the law prevented the parents from paying the fines, and made the shoplifter to community service, or get a part time job to pay it off.

  32. joharp says:

    I just love that you can now steal an actual copy of a CD and not get prosecuted, but download one song and have a 5 grand settlement.

  33. Trackback says:

    A year after relaxing their policy on the prosecution of shoplifters, Wal-Mart is cracking down. They’re now recommending that first-time shoplifters 16 years or older be prosecuted (they previously reserved prosecution for ages18 and up).