Retail fraud at Home Depot typically occurs in several different ways:
- Concealing merchandise with the intent to steal
- Trying to push merchandise out the store
- Fraudulent return or exchanges of items never purchased at Home Depot
- Switching price tags on items
Sometimes shoplifting is done in tandem with other shoppers, sometimes the person acts alone, sometimes it occurs with the assistance of persons that work at Home Depot. Home Depot is aware of all the different ways that merchandise is lost to theft, and has taken active steps to eliminate or reduce the losses it incurs. How does Home Depot fight retail fraud?:
- The store does not hesitate to prosecute persons that are caught committing a theft offense. The reason for this is to deter others from attempting to shoplift. Loss prevention will go to court to testify, if necessary, in order for the prosecution to gain a conviction.
- The store has loss prevention that actively monitors the store for theft and suspicious activity. Loss prevention at Home Depot are well trained, and employ multiple persons to work as a team to uncover retail fraud.
- Loss prevention is assisted by technology. There are close circuit television cameras that monitor the entire store and parking lot. The cameras record the activity, and that evidence is provided to police. Theft detection devices are placed on higher ticket items.
- Loss prevention is aggressive, and is willing to chase a suspect down.
- Once a person is detained by loss prevention, a through investigation occurs. Loss prevention attempts to get verbal and written statements from the person detained. Loss prevention photographs the items involved, and calculates the price of the merchandise. Loss prevention writes their own reports to describe, step by step, what occurred. Police are given all of the evidence collected.
Once an arrest occurs, what happens next? The police will either issue a ticket and release the individual, or take the person into custody. The prosecution is then involved with the case.
Retail fraud can be prosecuted in Michigan under State law, or by local ordinance. Cases prosecuted under local ordinance are always 93 day misdemeanors (Retail Fraud 3rd Degree). Cases prosecuted under State law are either 93 day misdemeanors, 1 year misdemeanors, or 4 year felony charges depending upon the price of the merchandise, the Defendant’s prior history, and the circumstances of the case (Organized Retail Fraud, where a person steals from a store in order to resell the items is a 4 year felony in Michigan). For felony cases the Defendant may be subject to habitual offender sentencing if he or she has a prior high misdemeanor or felony record, which increases the maximum possible penalty.
The court will set a bond for theft related crimes. The bond takes into consideration whether or not the Defendant is a flight risk and/or a danger to the community. If a bond cannot be posted, the Defendant remains in jail until, at a minimum, the case is resolved.
For any theft at Home Depot it is recommended that you do not make any admissions to loss prevention or the police. Immediately thereafter, you should retain a lawyer with experience defending retail fraud cases.
Even if you are innocent, or even if you are guilty, an experienced retail fraud lawyer will help you obtain the best possible result. Retail fraud cases can affect your freedom, your employment, your ability to obtain a great career, your ability to travel, and your reputation. When it comes to your future you should never take chances by hiring any lawyer, requesting a court appointed lawyer, or by choosing to represent yourself. For high quality legal representation for a shoplifting arrest, I enthusiastically recommend attorney Daniel Hilf.