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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.