If I was accused of shoplifting, could the store legally keep me there?

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If I was accused of shoplifting, could the store legally keep me there?

I was approached outside at my vehicle by 2 goons who would not let me leave; all if this in front of my children. I had to go inside and get a manager. Called corporate office and no return call. Can they legally refrain me from leaving like that and wait until my children are buckled in before they approached?

Asked on April 23, 2014 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No. they cannot do that--they are not the police and have not authority to detain you. Keeping you against your will could be a form of kidnapping; if they use force to keep you, that is also assault. If they think you stole, their option is to call the real police.


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