Stealing From Target? Target Shoplifting Policy In 2024

By Phillip Adcock
Last updated: Dec 7, 2023
Stealing from Target

Retailers lose millions of dollars to shoplifting. A single shoplifter can walk out of a store with $200 to $2,000 of products. Target is no different. In fact, it’s among the targets of many shoplifters.

Knowing it’s a subject of interest out there, we decided to take a look at Target’s loss prevention policy in an effort to understand why and how one of the country’s biggest retailers protects its inventory.

Target Shoplifting Policy In 2024

Target has implemented a strict policy to prevent this issue at its stores. There’re now several surveillance systems with security guards, facial recognition, and multiple deterrents to reduce the number of shoplifting incidents that occur each year. 

Those caught stealing will adhere to various levels of deterrence and a range of penalties that enforce disobedience among thieves.

They include some of the actions being written-ups, fines, or store bans, while most serious offenders will have police involvement – depending on how severe the crime is. 

How Does The Retailer Know If You Steal Their Merchandise? 

CCTV system

Well, if you ever visit their locations – look towards the top of your head, and you might notice some hemispherical-shaped things with a little red light blinking on them. They are sophisticated CCTV systems that cover the interior of all Target stores.

The staff can monitor all the suspicious activities happening inside the store. They commonly save the footage as evidence and even share important information with other locations or corporate headquarters via email.

Facial recognition software

Their modern cameras use facial recognition software and image analytics to ensure that loss prevention and recovery are better handled after shoplifting incidents. 

It enables the security staff to keep a close eye on suspicious customers through perpetual video monitoring, both in stores throughout all public areas and in their parking lots.

Sensors and RFID tags

Sensor tags will be present in nearly every physical object within the next few years as a means of making shopping more secure.

At this time, the retailer attaches RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags inside or on products previously targeted for theft. The tagged products will set off an alarm if someone attempts to take the item out of its packaging and leave the store without paying. 

Their product shipments are also overseen with RFID technology in order to track their location and monitor shelf space inventory levels.

Loss prevention officers

Big retail stores like Target, for example, employ people who just need to focus on identifying what is and isn’t suspicious. The loss prevention officers – lookout for people who may be up to no good, to steal, or be a general nuisance.

Their job is to discover as much as they can about this ‘suspicious’ person so they can enact an appropriate strategy if they ever find themselves faced with such circumstances.

What Happens If Target Caught Someone Shoplifted? 

Target Caught Someone Shoplifted

The retailer has a system to identify shoplifters using all means necessary, including undercover agents and video surveillance. If their staff suspects a customer of hiding items they were not planning on paying for, they will stop that individual and question the situation!

First of all, the staff will take pictures of the stolen item. The damaged or soiled items are either cleaned or returned as close to their original state as possible. They will also ask for full restitution in that case.

After the company apprehends an alleged shoplifter, a request will be placed, restricting the person from leaving the store. In addition to that, the retailer may demand that the violator pays for all the costs of apprehending them. 

The store has a great relationship with local police officers who show up when the store reports an incident of suspected stealing. When the cops catch the culprit, they may be facing fines, put on probation, required to do community service work, or even serve time in jail.

FAQs Section

Can I Get Caught After I Leave The Store? 

Yes, but normally a store’s security will stop and take back the item from you. Honestly, they just want to get the merchandise and put it back for sale again. 

Nevertheless, the company takes these illegal actions very seriously; if someone gets caught after leaving the location, then they should expect to receive a criminal complaint days later by mail.

Can I Be Charged For Stealing At Target?

The retailer will file a police report, yet the company cannot charge you directly with anything such as a fine or have you arrested for stealing their goods.

They can also request that a prosecutor handle the case and charge you with theft. Depending on your local state’s law, the retailer may be able to request monetary compensation for the stolen items. 

Can I Be Banned From Going To Target?

If high-value or dangerous goods are stolen, the manager will call the police. At that point, the shoplifter may lose the privilege of shopping at any store in the future.

Can The Company Detain Thieves At Their Store? 

The company has security guards whose job is to deter shoplifters as well as detain them if they’re caught red-handed. However, the security guards’ rules vary from state to state and company policy, so it’s important to check the guidelines of your own local store. 

In general, though, most states are similar. If a security guard has seen the customer steal the merchandise, then the person is legally obligated to return the property or suffer detention by the security guards.

Can Target Search My Belonging To Check For Stolen Goods?

As long as the practice is voluntary and has agreement from customers, the company can search your bag if they suspect that you are stealing. However, they don’t have the authority to search for your personal belongings or clothing, such as a wallet.

Their security guards tend to approach the problem more aggressively, persuading the suspected thief to leave whatever they had taken. 

Does The Company’s No Chase Policy Apply To Thieves?

Their security guards are not allowed to chase after the thieves unless the shoplifter uses force against them or another customer. 

Instead, security officers must keep a safe distance from them and maintain observation for as long as possible. Meanwhile, the company may call the police, who will be responsible for apprehending the shoplifter if they catch sight once they leave the location.

What Are Some Legal Penalties For Shoplifting At Target? 

The legal consequences thieves might take are different depending on the value of the goods stolen. 

Suppose an individual is caught shoplifting and only has to return under $200 worth of merchandise. In that case, they will be charged with a disorderly person’s offense with six months in jail, a meager $1,000 fine, and ten days at least for community service. 

If a stolen property has been valued at between $200 and $500, it falls under the category of a fourth-degree crime and may be punishable by no more than 18 months in prison and a fine that tops out at $1000. 

Any stolen property valued between $500 and $75,000 is charged as a third-degree crime with five years in state prison, a fine of $15,000, and 10 days at least for community service.

Property value as a second-degree crime is valued at $75,000 or more. It is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of $150,000, and up to at least ten days of community service if found guilty.

You may also like these articles: How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting, Does Target Accept Paypal and Target Shipt Free Trial.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article helps you understand how and why a company as large as this grocery store keeps on top of shoplifting. 

By implementing these policies, the company can help protect their inventory from shoplifter at Target while still keeping their customers safe. 

After understanding how and why stores do what they do, you can make smarter purchasing decisions and be better prepared if you ever run into this situation.

* Disclaimer: We do not buy, sell or provide service, we only share with you our trusted sources, and experience. In case of any changes in the products or services of the companies, all the information below is supposed to change at any time.

Phillip Adcock is the founder and Managing Director of the research agency Shopping Behaviour Xplained (SBXL), a shopping research organization using psychological consumer insight to explain and help consumers answer their questions about stores and services.

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