If you are stopped for shoplifting, may a security guard take your backpack without detaining you and keep it?

When there is actually no stolen goods in your backpack, designating a loss of property that was detrimental to your survival.

Asked on July 22, 2015 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, a security may NOT do this: a security guard has no right whatsover to take your belongings. Remember, a security guard is just a private citizen: he or she is not the police, and even the police may only confiscate your property with good cause in certain circumstnaces--other private citizens may never take your property. Based on what you write, what this guard did may be theft; you should contact the police about this.


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