Does a merchant have to visually prove that you concealed an item in order to convict you of a shoplifting charge?

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Does a merchant have to visually prove that you concealed an item in order to convict you of a shoplifting charge?

Example: merchant stopped you before left store, found items in your purse, found tags that match in bathroom where you were, but only saw you enter dressing room with merchandise (lots of it) and leave without specific items which were coincidentally found in your purse. How can they prove it’s not just a coincidence that you brought those same/similar items with you to match up to purchased needed if they don’t 100% know what you brought in with you?

Asked on July 31, 2010 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Its a good story and I can see the creativity in the "coincidental" findings as they relate to the merchandise, but I think that all the circumstantial evidence point a different way.  I would suggest that you seek legal help in your area as to the matter and what constitutes enough to convict you of shoplifting.  I think the tags in the bathroom are what pushed me over the edge here.  It is a little TOO coincidental.  And I guarantee that they were watching you long before you knew. They have to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.  They do not have to 100% sure.  Get legal help.  Good luck.


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