Can the police arrest you if you were in a store and the beeper went off at door and you ran away?

Asked about 2 years ago - Waco, TX

i was at a local department store and when i left the security beeper went off as i walked out the door. I just continued to walk out the door and then ran to my car and drove away... about and hour and half later the cops were at my house looking for the car because the store had gotten my plate # somehow... i guess cameras in the parking lot. How can police arrest you if all u did is ran away. There is no proof of any stolen merchandise at all, not on camera, no witness, nothing at all ..... other than the beeper going off and running away.. What can they do and what shoudl we say. Im scared.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. M Elizabeth Gunn

    Contributor Level 18

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If it is in fact true that they dot have any evidence against you (which may or may not be the case), then no, they should not even be able to charge you. The document that would be used to charge you with a crime has to contain certain information explaining to you what the offense is that you're being charged with so that you're able to put on a defense. Two of the items that must be listed in a charging document for a theft case are what property it is they're alleging you stole, and how much the stolen merchandise was worth. It doesn't have to be very specific on either count ("clothing" and "$50 or more, but less than $500" would be sufficient), but those are required items. Under these circumstances, I don't see how they can do that if it's true that there really is no evidence that you actually stole anything at all--they've got to have something to put in that blank. On top of that, there's the ibvious point that those door sensors are not foolproof, and do go off sometimes either for paid merchandise ir for no apparent reason at all, and people walk through them and ignore them all the time. Running to your car would tend to indicate what's called "consciousness of guilt", but that in and of itself is not proof that you atoll anything. I would, however, suggest that you contact a local defense attorney, who will be able to look into the situation and determine whether you actually have anything to worry about or not.

  2. Shane Peter Phelps

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Given the facts that you describe, you certainly can be arrested. Setting off the alarms and then running away is very suspicious behavior. Having said that, for you to be convicted of anything, there must actually be a crime committed. If the store or the prosecutors cannot identify anything stolen, or its value, you will not be convicted. They have to show an actual theft. Usually, in these circumstances, the police will have talked to the people in the store and reviewed surveillance video to determine if anything was taken before going out to your house to arrest you. I strongly suggest that you contact an attorney immediately.

  3. Jim Mitchell Medley

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You are probably ok as far as criminal charges go unless you give them more by talking to them. Keep your mouth shut. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO THE POLCE- NOTHING. Do not admit you were even there. Do not admit to driving the car. Just don't talk to them. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER ANY OF THEIR QUESTIONS. Then talk to a lawyer and get specific advice from there.

  4. Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . No talking to the police. No going to that store again. No allowing searches, even if you have nothing to hide! See the links below about talking to police. Watch the videos.


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