Are loss prevention officers allowed to search a personwho looks suspicious?

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Are loss prevention officers allowed to search a personwho looks suspicious?

My husband was detained and searched upon suspicion of theft by loss prevention officers in a local home improvement store. It was my understanding they can pat an individual down to ensure there’s no weapons but the actual police need to do the search. That is not how this situation was handled and everything about how it happened seems very strange to me.

Asked on March 2, 2012 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Typically, a loss prevention officer may only detain a person within the store after they have probable cause to believe that the person has stolen or attempted to steal an item from the store. Simply looking suspicious is not a legal reason to detain your husband unless your husband actually stole or attempted to steal an item. However, once detained, loss prevention may perform a cursory search of your person for weapons only while in detainment. This is usually done before the police are called to the store for an actual criminal arrest.


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