Why Shoplifters Are Often Not Pursued by Retail Staff

Each year, nearly $47 billion worth of goods are shoplifted nationwide. In Washington state, the yearly amount of merchandise taken equals nearly $1 billion. So why don’t many retail store staff members pursue shoplifters?

What happened to Elizabeth Pratt is one example. “I was screaming in pain,” the Des Moines woman said about the agony of a newly-broken hip. “It was certainly a pain that I had never experienced before, not even childbirth.” Pratt was shopping at the Staples in Burien in August 2018 when a teenager suddenly rushed past her, knocking the then 85-year-old to the ground.

According to reports filed by King County Sheriff’s Deputies, the collision happened as the juvenile suspect was “running from employees.” Pratt and her attorneys believe Staples workers should have let the suspected shoplifter go.

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Mike Kelly, of Gehrke Baker Doull Kelly Attorneys at Law in Des Moines, said “over-pursuing, or overly aggressively pursuing shoplifters” to the point where “non-involved, innocent business invitees or shoppers” can be injured fails to protect the public. Kelly believes Staples employees failed in their duty to protect Pratt the day she broke her hip.

Not only did Pratt suffer a broken hip, the injury also broke up her home. “My husband and I were living independently,” Pratt told KIRO 7. However, because of her injuries, she and her husband are living apart for the first time in the couples’ 66 years of marriage. Nearly two years after the incident, they are still living separately and are now suing Staples… KIRO7 News

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