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Simple Shoplift – Loaded .45

Event Summary

I responded to a misdemeanor shoplifting while working an extra job at a department store. The store camera operator alerted me to a pair of men, one of whom was stuffing clothes down the front of his pants. I happened to be talking to an on-duty officer at the time who came with me to make the stop.

When I stopped the suspect who had the merchandise, I put on one handcuff and told him to get the items out of his pants because I didn’t want to go into his pants myself if I didn’t have too. He removed the items and was handcuffed. A minute later while searching him, I found a fully loaded Springfield XD .45 compact in his pants in the same area as the clothes I had just let him retrieve. The other suspect who was detained by my partner had a loaded gun as well.

 

Lessons Learned

  • If handling a subject suspected of shoplifting, ensure you first search them for weapons, then conduct a further search for merchandise.
  • Avoid allowing a suspect to remove items from their own pockets or other areas on their person. However, if you must allow them to do so, ensure that you have already searched them over their clothing and are completely satisfied they do not possess a weapon.
  • Resist the temptation to approach “minor calls,” such as shoplifting, as routine. These calls can quickly escalate, and officers have lost their lives after becoming complacent in these situations.

 

Full Report

Simple Shoplift – Loaded .45

 

 

Employer Information

Type of Law Enforcement Agency: Police Department – City, town, or village

Agency Size: 50 – 99 Sworn Officers

Approximate Population Served: 10,000 – 99,999

Region of Country: South Atlantic (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)

 

Involved Person Information

Duty Assignment: Sworn – Patrol

Was the involved person a supervisor? No

Years of Experience: More than 7, but less than 10

Age: 31 – 35 years old

Sex: Male

Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Latino

Race: White

 

Incident Information

Type of call/activity officer was responding to or engaged in: Theft / Shoplifting

Incident initiated by: Self-initiated / Observed

Classify the incident: Almost resulted in officer injury or fatality

Date of Incident: 2017

Initial assessment of call:

  • Thought it would be routine

Dispatch provide accurate incident description? N/A

Number of officers on scene at time of incident: 2

Did the incident involve a pursuit? No

Incident Summary:

I responded to a misdemeanor shoplifting while working an extra job at a department store. The store camera operator alerted me to a pair of men, one of whom was stuffing clothes down the front of his pants. I happened to be talking to an on-duty officer at the time who came with me to make the stop.

When I stopped the suspect who had the merchandise, I put on one handcuff and told him to get the items out of his pants because I didn’t want to go into his pants myself if I didn’t have too. He removed the items and was handcuffed. A minute later while searching him, I found a fully loaded Springfield XD .45 compact in his pants in the same area as the clothes I had just let him retrieve. The other suspect who was detained by my partner had a loaded gun as well.

 

Environment Factors

Did the incident occur indoors or outdoors? Indoors

What type of location was this? Business / Retail Establishment

Was the involved officer aware of previous calls or incidents at this location? Yes

Lighting conditions at location: Well lit

Was there inclement weather? N/A

 

Subject Information

Number of Subjects Encountered: 2

Did subjects have known criminal history? No

Did the subjects have any weapons? Yes – Concealed Firearm

Were the responding officers informed that the subject(s) may be armed? No

Were the subjects under the influence of alcohol or drugs? No

Did the subject(s) appear to be emotionally disturbed? No

Did the subject(s) resist arrest? No

What kind of force was used to subdue the subject(s)? N/A

 

Lessons Learned

Type of accident or incident averted:

One of the subjects could have shot an officer.

Contributing Risk Factors:

  • Complacency
  • Human error
  • Subject’s possession of a weapon

Contributing Protective Factors:

  • Presence of backup officer
  • Good communication

Lessons Learned:

  • If handling a subject suspected of shoplifting, ensure you first search them for weapons, then conduct a further search for merchandise.
  • Avoid allowing a suspect to remove items from their own pockets or other areas on their person. However, if you must allow them to do so, ensure that you have already searched them over their clothing and are completely satisfied they do not possess a weapon.
  • Resist the temptation to approach “minor calls,” such as shoplifting, as routine. These calls can quickly escalate, and officers have lost their lives after becoming complacent in these situations.



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