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Discussion Starter #1
Today (Black Friday) I witnessed what seemed to me a thief occurance. I was going to Tractor Supply to pick up some galvanized screws for my rabbit hutches and on the other side of Tractor Supply is a Walmart. A man in his 30's-40s was running away from walmart as fast as a 10 year old would run, he came down the hill from walmart and was heading toward tractor supply area. Two guys on cell phones were running behind him talking on the phone and looked like they were telling someone (police) where he was heading and I'm assuming what he looked like. On the way down the hill the guy fell face first and hit the bottom of the road/concrete and got quickly up. At that point I realized he was stealing and ran right past me after I saw about 6 stores down red/blue lights. So, I figured he got caught. I got mad at myself thinking I might had been able to stop him, but of course a million things ran through my mind on legal issues that could have arose.

I locked the doors to my car, put the glock in my back concealed holster and went in and got my screws for the hutches. I actually had a smile on my face for some reason. I guess knowing that I was protected, and that regardless of if I did "save the day", I could had put myself in danger/legal over someone stealing a tickle me elmo.

So, I'm finding myself asking the question of if I should have been a good samaritan, with the story posted in the local paper or even NRA of concealed weapon holder stops thief in tracks, or if I did the right thing by minding my own business?

What would you have done?
 

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Unless I could have stopped this dude by the use of my hands only I would have not confronted him with my concealed weapon for several reasons. First of all in the event that this guy might have been armed too then the confrontation could turn deadly quickly. Even if you won this gun battle you would still lose since in most states your only legal to use deadly force if your life is threatened and confronting a shop lifter would certainly not fit this scenario. Secondly if you did escalate this event and some bystander is hit by a stray bullet then you would also be liable and at the very best you would have your pants sued off and could even serve some serious time in prison.
 

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If you aren't a first hand witness to the crime or requested to help by law enforcement, I would recommend staying out of that type of situation. The store employees are not LE, and can be sued if they make a mistake, and remember so can you! LEOs have Qualified Immunity, but you don't, so it's not worth the liability of getting involved in most situations where it doesn't specifically involve personal safety (not just your own). In most situations I'd recommend just being a good witness in case you're needed..............
I'm not a lawyer, just a retired cop, so nothing I say should be construed as legal advice; just 'observation'.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Unless I could have stopped this dude by the use of my hands only I would have not confronted him with my concealed weapon for several reasons. First of all in the event that this guy might have been armed too then the confrontation could turn deadly quickly. Even if you won this gun battle you would still lose since in most states your only legal to use deadly force if your life is threatened and confronting a shop lifter would certainly not fit this scenario. Secondly if you did escalate this event and some bystander is hit by a stray bullet then you would also be liable and at the very best you would have your pants sued off and could even serve some serious time in prison.
Every bit of that went through my head in .003 seconds. I agree, it was best to mind my own business. Shame though when the left side of my shoulder has always told me to be a good samaritan.

Something to note though, although I did not say I would be shooting (unless shot at), I would have done a citizens arrest. Look at it this way, what if someone came up to you, grabbed your wallet out of your hand and started running away? Yelling at them is not going to get them to stop, brandishing a firearm in high position could have stopped them? Just wondering what "laws" we have as everyday citizens to prevent thugs from grabbing and running?
 

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Every bit of that went through my head in .003 seconds. I agree, it was best to mind my own business. Shame though when the left side of my shoulder has always told me to be a good samaritan.

Something to note though, although I did not say I would be shooting (unless shot at), I would have done a citizens arrest. Look at it this way, what if someone came up to you, grabbed your wallet out of your hand and started running away? Yelling at them is not going to get them to stop, brandishing a firearm in high position could have stopped them? Just wondering what "laws" we have as everyday citizens to prevent thugs from grabbing and running?
If the dude is already running away to avoid arrest then the likely hood of making a citizen arrest without using some type of force is slim to none. As I am sure you know that you would never pull your firearm unless you are willing to fire if necessary. This event would not warrant this type of force and if it turned into a physical confrontation then there is always the chance that this dude might end up in control of your own weapon...a really bad end result.
 

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If I couldn't catch the guy and trip him or body slam him from behind, I'd follow him as best I could while calling 911 to provide them as much information as possible. Sure Robbery is a Felony in KY, and you are allowed to make a citizen's arrest (if you can safely catch the guy), but a fleeing criminal is a problem even for LE. If we have back-up nearby, we can radio for assistance, but carrying 30lbs of gear around your waist makes a foot pursuit difficult for most of us. Maybe we should practice with and carry a bola?! ;-)
 
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Survival.... I think even a cop would hesitate a bit in that situation. It could've been a thief... or it could have been someone who was trying to shop and just pissed off two other mindless Black Friday shoppers who were chasing him to kick his ass.... if you had stopped him, you might have let the other two catch up and would be a party to anything they did to him. The red/blue lights could have been cops responding to save him. The cell phones could be them calling friends for help... or just bragging they were about to trash some guy.

We have to watch response videos all the time and try to "guess" whether the other officers responded correctly or not. Then... they show us video from another patrol car that completely changes your perspective. And, I'll admit... my first opinion is usually wrong. You only had one side of their story...and didn't see the beginning... So... As a prepper... you did the right thing... stay low key and out of the way... but keep yourself protected.

If it had been a young lady running from two guys... I think all of us might have handled it differently... but, thankfully... that isn't what you asked. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
WoadWarrior, great opposite perspective. That did cross my mind as well for a split second, and yes, if it was a child or a woman it would have been a different story altogether.
 

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I like cybercops answer the best. As much as I hate to see someone doing dirt get away...it just aint worth the legal liability unless life or death is involved, at least to my way of thinking. There are just too many ways something like that can go wrong and suddenly your the bad guy. I have seen it too many times.
 

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The world that we live in makes me sick at time, because it's obvious the guys a thief, but because of liability and the way we're so anal now with dealing with criminals you pretty much have to let him by and the police deal with grabbing him if they can. This world isn't better because of it either. It's worse. You did what was smart though to save yourself possible trouble over the situation.
 

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I would have done exactly as you did! for the simple fact I did not witness it first hand, now if it was physical violence and he was attacking someone, it becomes a totally different story. what I have noticed in the past, is that minding your own business goes a long way! he obviously was a thief. . . BUT . . . what if he was running for his life and they were calling buddies to catch him? if you did stop him not to mention all the legal stuff that could have went wrong in your way you would have had a lot of court dates to testify police reports to fill out and a lot of unwanted attention! unless there is physical violence I did not see s***! but that's just my 2 cents
 

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Every bit of that went through my head in .003 seconds. I agree, it was best to mind my own business. Shame though when the left side of my shoulder has always told me to be a good samaritan.

Something to note though, although I did not say I would be shooting (unless shot at), I would have done a citizens arrest. Look at it this way, what if someone came up to you, grabbed your wallet out of your hand and started running away? Yelling at them is not going to get them to stop, brandishing a firearm in high position could have stopped them? Just wondering what "laws" we have as everyday citizens to prevent thugs from grabbing and running?
Check the laws in your state. Every state in which I have lived only allows for a citizens arrest if the citizen reasonably believes that the criminal has committed a felony, and some only for a forceable felony.
 

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Exactly what I was kind of alluding to with out the risk of being a "Sea Lawyer". There are so many if's, and's or but's to be considered its a mine field to negociate making that fine line hard to walk without possibly crossing it. If you do cross it, they are probably scott free and off the hook while you end up being crucified! You gotta remember, blame is better to give than receive and everyone one is quick to point the finger.
 

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This is just my opinion. Take it for what it is worth.

If I see a foot chase, how do I know who is the good guy or the bad guy? If the runner has done something wrong, how bad was it?

Sure, if I witness assault, rape, robbery-the big ones, I'll get involved. To do otherwise is immoral and inexcusable. In the scenario you described, I think you did exactly right. You don't know what happened, all you know is two guys were chasing another.
 

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Most of you keep saying it's "obvious" he was a thief... and that is a very dangerous statement since there is nothing obvious about it. Even Irish mentioned he'd react differently "if it was physical violence", but be cautious on this one as well.... If you come across two guys fighting, with one guy on top punching the other, you can't just jump in and assume the guy on top is the bad guy. The guy on the bottom may have started it and may have a weapon and the guy on top is doing everything in his power to keep the guy from drawing and using the weapon. If you jump in and stop a fight... you have to be able to control both opponents since you don't know who the aggressor is. Both private citizens and cops get in trouble all the time for misinterpreting what is going on. Sure... first glance suggests he's a thief running from two guys chasing him... but again... and I emphasize... you don't have all the facts and your actions have legal (and maybe physical) consequences.

Survival... you were armed. Do you really want to be physically engaging in this situation? If it became a grapple... with you in the middle... you just put a gun in range of at least one aggressor... and maybe two.
 

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Well first of all the Wally World security shouldn't have been chasing him that far. They are taught that if they get to a certain point let them go, most don't go by those rules. When I did this job there were a couple of situations where 2 of my co-workers were injured. One was stabbed in the chest and the other broke his arm, they both recovered and went back to work. It just gets to be a mindset not to let them get away. We had people try to help the shoplifter not knowing what we were doing (thought we were beating/robbing someone) when in reality they were fighting and we were putting them in handcuffs. I worked in Kentucky once and they fought harder up there because it is a felony for shoplifters. You would be shocked at some of the things I saw during this job, just not worth $8.33 an hour to take a chance on getting shot/stabbed.

You did right just let them handle it, people get crazy when they think they are going to jail. Never know what they might do to get away, you don't want to get injured or worse over merchandise. Wal-Mart can afford to take a little loss.
 

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You see A chasing B with a gun. B runs into a room, A runs behind him. You hear a shot, hear a scream and A runs out. You look into room and see that B has been shot dead.
Did A shoot B?

Never assume.
 

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On the other side of the coin. I was once stopped by loss prevention. They thought the saw me shoplift, when in reality they saw me put my cell back in my purse. If I were a bitch I would have been able to retire long ago. I understand why Walmart has them. But really do not agree with having minimally trained individuals (please do not think this is a slight on you sargedog) who are not sworn officers given the ability to chase someone down and cuff them.

Here LP can not chase or cuff anyone. All they can do is stop you at the door and tell you not to leave. If that person is not inclined to listen to a civilian then there is nothing they can do to stop them. If they do stop, they can not legally conduct a search without consent. If you tell them that you won't submit to a search, then they have to hope you will wait for a LEO to show up. If the LEO gets there and they did not catch you on tape, he does not have PC for a search.

There was an incident a while ago in the papers where a woman did steal a lot of stuff, and when she was told not to leave, she left anyway. They had her on tape. But as she chose to walk off. The couldn't do anything to her. Even though they took down her plates, and the cops went to question her she played it smart. "Yes officer, I did take a bunch of stuff. But started to feel guilty about it, so I put it back before I left."

See, its not shoplifting until you walk out the doors with it.
 

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Lattice... In my mind... you are correct... they are not supposed to physically restrain you, primarily because they are acting as store representatives and not as private citizens. I.e., the store assumes the responsibility for any illegal act by their LP folks... or even just the financial burden if they get sued.

On the other other hand... at least in my state... if a shoplifter physically contacts anyone... even to push LP out of the way to get out the door... that physical contact changes the crime from shoplifting to robbery. And.... the doors of just about every store are videotaped... giving an LEO PC to search. Of course... an LEO doesn't need PC for a stop... which gives him time to view the video. And... the physical contact at the door could be considered assault (an arrestable offense)... and now you have a SILCA situation (search incident to a lawful custodial arrest)... if store property is found... they upgrade the shoplifting and assault to robbery... and the guy/gal gets 3 hots and a cot for free.
 
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