Department Stores Watching Where You Least Suspect

By Allen, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Kyle T. Therrian
Office Number: (972) 562-7549
24 Hr Jail Release: (214) 403-6522

It doesn’t take someone with a business degree to know that the last thing you want a customer to feel is buyer’s remorse: the feeling of regret after making a purchase. That’s why high-end retail establishments strive to provide their customers with a pleasant experience and to meet their customer’s expectations–unless, of course, that expectation is one of privacy.

One of the tasks of a criminal defense attorney is to spot local trends in law enforcement. A particularly troubling trend which has become shockingly common at a certain department store is what I call “fitting room spying.” Certainly, nobody has the right to steal from a department store, but–criminal or not–we all have the right to not have our private moments monitored by strangers under the false security of a seemingly private room.

The rules of the game dictate that police cannot violate our rights when investigating a crime. Unfortunately, many of these rules don’t apply when the person investigating the crime is an employee of a private establishment. In some instances, monitoring customers in a dressing room may be criminal in itself and ultimately result in a case of theft to be dismissed. Surprisingly, this kind of conduct may instead be condoned in the name of prosecuting theft.

In this type of situation, I would hope that a jury could agree that there are far less intrusive ways for department stores to prevent theft. If the purpose of law enforcement is to prevent conduct which society finds unacceptable–then it really becomes a choice between two evils. The public should be legitimately concerned not necessarily for the person accused, but for the unknown number of innocent people who suffer this intrusion so the department store can save a penny.

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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