As my friend and I were trying to leave Walmart we were stopped by people in plain clothes and we were told to follow them which we did. We went into the security room as soon as we got in they told us to have a seat and told us that we couldn’t use our phones and told us to put them on the table then they asked us if we had stolen any merchandise. My friend admitted to stealing a charger which he pulled out of his pocket (I wasn’t with him when he put it in his pocket) they then went on to search our book bags (with out consent) then we were patted down. We were asked some questions including ave (both 15) and my friend was asked for his info, I wasn’t. Even though they found nothing stolen in my possession they still kept me in that room for about 2 1/2 hours, they wouldn’t allow me to leave without a parent or guardian to come pick me up. Even if they found no stolen merchandise can they keep you in custody just because I was leaving with someone they saw shoplifting?
Stores are allowed by law to detain people, including minors, whom they suspect of shoplifting. This is known as the "shopkeeper's privilege." A store that has reasonable grounds to believe that there was shoplifting can detain a person for a reasonable amount of time in order to verify identification, determine whether any property was taken, and to alert law enforcement. The store can also hold minors until their parent/guardian can pick them up, or they can turn minors over to police. The issue in your case would be whether holding a minor for 2 1/2 hours is reasonable. If no attempt was made to contact your parents during this period, you might be able to argue that your detention was unreasonable.
Your friend needs an attorney if he was charged with retail theft. To answer your question, the store is well within their right to hold you. Stop shoplifting because when you get caught it will cause you issues for the rest of your life with education, employment, housing and financing.
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