Can minor be detained against her will by store security?

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Can minor be detained against her will by store security?

Recently my disabled father was picked up for shoplifting. I was with him but had left the store as he said he needed to use the restroom first. I did not know what was going on. My daughter stayed with him (10 years old) and when he tried to leave with her they detained him and her until the police arrived. She repeatedly asked them if she could leave and get me and when she tried to move toward the door a 6 foot tall man stood in front of her scaring her. The police arrived and accused me of being the mastermind. They then lectured me for being a bad parent as I left her with him.

Asked on September 6, 2010 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, you need probable cause to detain anyone, a minor included.  Often young kids are detained in stores for shoplifting  - often called petty theft - until their parents are called to come and get them.  Yes, I agree that a 6 foot man standing in front of a 10 year old girl is imposing.  But he did not physically detain her did he?  And she had an adult with her, didn't she?  I am just playing devil's advocate here so that you can see how the view from the other side may be quite different and how it may be presented by those that do the accusing.  The lecture, I agree as well, was unnecessary.  You, I am sure, had no reason toe believe that your father would place your daughter in such a precarious position.  Speak with someone in your area if you want to double check.  Good luck.


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