Criminal Justice

Accused shoplifters are nabbed by the long arm of retailers, not cops


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Retailers in 27 states can hold and fine suspected shoplifters without proof and without even involving police and the courts, the Associated Press reports in a holiday season feature.

“You must remember, these people are not police officers; they are store employees,” attorney Faruk Usar, told the AP. He represents a 62-year-old Turkish woman who is suing Macy’s over such a detention. “When they are detained, they are not yet even in a real jail.”

Usar’s client, Ayla Gursoy, says she was taken by security guards at Macy’s flagship store in New York City to “Room 140” and kept in a cell for hours. She and others who say they have been held in Room 140 say they are told they can sign admissions of guilt and pay fines to gain their release. Actor Rob Brown also said in a federal lawsuit that he was held in Room 140 for nearly an hour before he was released.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the new allegations against retailers, the AP reports. Stores in the state agreed to post a customer “bill of rights” on their websites banning profiling and unreasonable seraches.

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