This book/wiki is no substitute for knowing both the laws and enforcement of those laws in the different states and localities. For example some states allow store employees to make a citizens arrest for shoplifting and in others they can talk tough and hope you stick around until a sworn law enforcement officer arrives to collect you. Understand that an officer will usually not take an employee in for assault or false imprisonment even if he did improperly apprehend you.
In modern Amerika, shoplifting is a common skill; busting the common shoplifter has also become a well-studied science. The rent-a-cops and clerks know all the "tricks"; consider using new and creative ways to stay supplied which will not take you out of action.
Supermarket and Retail Security Methods
Consider risk versus reward before shoplifting. At most, you walk out with a few dollars in stuff and a big rush but at worst you spend the night in jail, leaving you with a huge fine and a bench warrant if you do not pay the fine or sit the time. If you are already on probation, getting caught can make matters worse. If you are starving consider the ideas in Free Food, but most importantly do not be stupid. Thieves piss off everybody and lenience cannot be expected even when trying to overthrow the corporate world.
On the note of corporate worlds, stealing from small stores is not only morally reprehensible, it's stupid. The smaller retail stores can't afford to lose their product and will go out of business, forcing everyone to drive to the closest megacorp supermarket. Even before that it also raises the small shop prices, causing it to be even more difficult to directly compete against box retailers. However, the best reason not to steal from small retailers is that REAL PEOPLE own these stores, they are sick of shoplifters and might even give you some attitude if they suspect you, because the bank, shoplifters, and CorpGov Giant chain stores are destroying their life, they actually have to feed their kids with their feeble income.
Admission of Guilt
For whatever reason you are tempted never admit any guilt ever, not to a cop, not to an employee, not to a plainclothes store detective when they take you upstairs to the spooky office of shame. Many stores will try to bribe you with the offer of no police involvement if you admit to the thousands in merchandise you may even have actually stolen over time. Don't crack, you DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT!! Once you accept the crooked deal and sign on the line admitting to the big theft the LP agent can call the cops and have you hauled away for a felony, yes over a year in the pokey. You will surely also be sued for the amount and some punitive multiplier, they want to profit off of you somehow. Both criminal and civil trials will be hard to defend because you were stupid enough to chicken out and admit to a felony crime on hidden camera, maybe even signed a confession. Use your brain to control your cowardly mouth, keep it shut.
The most obvious way stores protect wares is to place certain high theft goods behind a counter where the customer will have to ask a worker to get them. The store owners know that most petty thieves are not going to steal with a worker right in front of them. You will always find cigarettes behind a counter. Some places that are allowed to sell high volume alcohol may have these behind a counter, too. Some things may also be locked up in cases. In some stores, you will find display models locked to the shelves by various devices.
Stores use a variety of cameras from hidden to dome cameras. Location of these cameras vary by store, but be assured there are some over the registers and exits at least. In large stores, these cameras may be watched by loss prevention personnel. Other times, the cameras merely record to a tape so if someone is caught stealing or a robbery occurs, it can be used in prosecution. The reason for the domes and covered cameras is so potential thieves do not know where the camera is pointing and where the blind spot is. In large department stores you will find that shelf arrangement in the clothing section can provide cover. Also the grocery areas of stores like Target are often unmonitored.
As well as cameras, be wary of mirrors. Often mirrors are placed in a corner to reflect a view of an entire area to a camera placed directly across it, and although stealing directly under these mirrors is relatively easy, make sure you are covered by some sort of aisle. Good quality cameras, the ones that look like small cam-corders, are usually in corners, (as well as mirrors) and dome cameras can usually be found in the centre of an aisle/area. When you enter a shop, scan the area for cameras by pretending to look for a specific sign or area in the store.
Most stores do employ some kind of security. Uniformed security mostly hangs around the front door area or patrols the store. Mostly, these guys are there to act as deterrent. Do not think they will not mess with you if they catch you, though. Some larger places have plain-clothed security walking around. These guys can be hard to detect and are trained to watch for suspicious behavior. The undercover loss prevention guys can have radios, but more often use cell phones as not to blow cover. Shoplifting is so common in high volume places that some may even have a police unit outside at all times. The bigger threat to look for is employees. If they won't let you break line of sight with them for more than a few minutes, you may as well give up. Unless you're REALLY fast at opening packages/concealing.
If a shop assistant is staring at you, sometimes, it's because they're wondering whether they should talk to you or not. Not all store assistants are evil mean corporate machines that want to prosecute and exploit man, woman and child everywhere. Go over and ask them to direct you to some shitty item you don't really want and pretend to look for a while, then go back to whatever you wanted to steal in the first place - or, if you're really nervous, look for a while then leave. Don't forget to thank them if you walk past them; don't walk past them on purpose, because they are not stupid and they know that is weird.
EAS stands for Electronic Article surveillance. These are the tags that set off an alarm if it passes through the antenna devices located at the exit of the store. There are many varying types of these. Be aware that ripping off or disabling an EAS tag can be considered motive for theft even if you have not left the store with the item yet in most places. Any competent store owner keeps a detailed inventory of the number of items they order, number of items damaged or wasted, and number of items sold to determine number of items 'missing' for every product the store sells. The retail business calls the 'missing' items shrinkage. They tend to slap EAS tags on the products that turn up 'missing' the most, if it makes sense to. In other words, they are not going to tag a 80 cent can of beans, but they may tag 8 USD boxes of cough medicine if these tend to grow legs. Know the different kinds. The most common are detailed below:
Hard tags: These are the big plastic EAS tags that are designed to be reused. They may not be deactivated and are typically unlocked with a vendor-provided key kept behind the registers. Most of the time, these are used for clothing. The methods which these use to work vary depending on brand. With the correct tools and time, these can be broken off. However, in most jurisdictions, merely bringing shoplifting tools in a store can be enough to bust you. Even then, these things are made of high grade plastic that can be tough and take much time to break off. Enough time for an employee or someone watching a camera to notice. Many types contain ink in glass vials such that trying to rip them off may burst them. A good number can be removed with a high powered magnet. Also, some don't set off door alarms, and those can be brought home, and then the steel pin connecting two halves is carefully hacksawed through.
Embedded tags: Some manufacturers are placing EAS tags within the packaging of the product or sewn into clothes as a service to retailers. Often, these are not found until the package is opened. Usually, in a supermarket, these are sometimes in medicine packets. Usage of these is very widespread in video game boxes and a number of other products. Method to deactivate depends on types listed below, on clear plastic packaging it can be easy enough to spot them and cut around them with a razor blade or similar.
Magnetic Systems: Also known as EM tags. These are the paper-thin tags often located in pages of books. Libraries use them often as well as the magazine and book section of supermarkets. They are deactivated through magnetization. Or, if the book is thumbed through, can be easily discarded.
Accousto-Magnetic: These are the small, rectangular box shaped tags stuck on packages. Deactivation is by demagnetization. With a bit of elbow grease, these things can be ripped off. Just be aware some of the products that use this may also have embedded tags as a redundant measure. These are best cut around.
RFID or RF: These are the large, thin square stickers with a circuit printed on the bottom side. Deactivation is achieved by placing it in a strong electro-magnetic field, thereby breaking the circuit. Oftentimes, the top side is printed with the product's UPC code. Like Accousto-Magnetic tags, they can be ripped off with a bit of elbow grease. As with above, be aware that some products may have embedded EAS as well. This technology is getting smaller so beware. These can be a pain to remove, in which case it's best to ditch the packaging
Hard Cases and Spider wraps: These are usually designed to prevent the item from being depackaged, as well as fitted with several forms of alarm. Hard cases trip both acoustomagnetic and RFID systems, as well as sealing off the merchandise. Spider wraps will create a loud alarm from the wrap itself if cut or otherwise forcible removed. Both are removed with a pair of magnets, usually the "Alpha 3ks key".
The best way to check if a product is going to set an alarm is to get close to the scanners without actually crossing them. Since the scanners need a magnetic field to read any variation of these tags, they work in an oval radius and you can set them off from quite a distance. Obviously doing this over and over again will attract the attention of security, but it is sometimes better to be safe than sorry. It may be more practical to think logically: a candy bar won't trip the alarm. Any item over $10 might be worth examining. The smallest tags commonly in use are an inch long by a quarter inch wide and fairly easy to spot if you search a product.
Many stores offer store credit for questionable returns in lieu of cash. If you return a "questionable" item at one of these stores, keep in mind that the credit can be used to purchase a variety of small items, each of which may be exchanged for cash.
Many consumers simply throw away their receipts at the door. With some preparation one can lift items from a store with this policy. Simply lift an item that matches a discarded receipt and exchange it for store credit for a legal purchase.
Alternatively, buy something big (e.g, a DVD player) then take it outside the store for a bit. An hour or so later, return it to the same clerk, but avoid giving them the receipt. This leaves you with a recent receipt for a large, valuable item while you're in the store. Pluck one from the shelves and put it in the store bag (which you kept,) along with the receipt. Walk out the door. The alarm will sound, they will check your bag, find the receipt and maybe perform a quick pat-down search. Finding nothing else, they will (ideally) write it off as a malfunction and let you go.
It happens to the best of us. Refuse searches, keep yourself between the exit and the employee stopping you, inform them that you have done nothing wrong and are offended at the notion. If they continue to harass you, state "I'm leaving" firmly, and storm off. Unless you did a TRULY sloppy job, and if you can remain confident, you should be able to march right out the door. Do not give your name or let them gather any information. So long as you successfully avoid being documented you can probably go back in a month or two. If questioned then, deny everything.
In this case, being a cyclist will work greatly to your advantage, as many stores will log plates of vehicles of shoplifting suspects.
Contrary to what you might believe, especially in the UK, stores LOVE to prosecute. In the UK, a lot of major stores (Boots, Superdrug, Topman etc) use a security company called RLP (Retail Loss Prevention ltd). They will happily charge you £100 for a 15 minute detainment and £6 worth of items. They will happily fine you £50 for swapping a £5 sale sticker from one item to another. Be very, very careful in big chain stores.
Trespass and Burglary
If you are caught and documented the management will often ban you from the property (even if they don't call the cops on you.) If you are banned from a store, don't go back! If you do, you can be charged with trespassing. If you return and steal something, you will be charged with burglary, a serious felony.
Tips and Tricks
The following example and method is provided-- Headphones are an item that, with heavy use, require constant replacement. The following is a method to replace your, preferably inexpensive, and common looking set of headphones.
1. Case a local supermarket. Do your best to identify undercover security and make note of the washroom and access points. This is the common rule for all shoplifting. It is preferred if the bathrooms are easily accessible and relatively close to the exit/entrance.
2. During the deed wear inconspicuous clothes. No mohawks, ripped jeans, punk shirts, etc. If you are young, write out a fake identity card to leave in your wallet, modeling it as the lost wallet identifiers. Write down fake info and a name that you are will respond to. The important information is the phone number; tell LP that it's your home phone. Put down a number that you know is out of service and tell them your mom disconnects the phone when she is in the tub. This gives them a chance to let you go, without notifying authorities, if you come off as innocent mannered.
A switchblade is illegal, much larger, and much more expensive than an Exacto knife. Save yourself $30. Lose some bad ass points and go with the dollar store assistance.
3. Carry a music player, i-Pod, Walkman, MP3, or CD player. Make it obvious that you have headphones in your ear, and that the ones you're stealing are vaguely similar to the ones you have in your ears.
4. Walk in like an average costumer and browse around a bit. Grab the headphones you want; palm them, carrying them in the open but outside of obvious view; head to the public washroom/bathroom. If stopped at this point, they will simply warn you that there is no Merchandise allowed in the restroom. Try another store or another day; security has become suspicious.
5. Use your Exacto blade to cut out the packaging. Flush all the packaging and your broken headphones down the toilet and wear the new ones. If you're still worried about security, buy a soda or ask staff members about stock to eliminate the suspicion anyone may have towards you. Congrats! You have new headphones and now price can't keep you from enjoying some revolutionary music.
Headphones are a good accessory in general, as they create a "don't talk to me" bubble generally automatically acknowledged in our society. If music's not playing your alertness should still be near full, but employees will assume it's not.
Many times with low value items have no tags. Higher value items can have the tag(s!) stripped off. Some doors may not even have an alarm. If it's busy enough and you're not the center of attention, you can pick up an item of choice, browse some items near the exit, or on the side of the registers (magazines?) and then proceed to walk right out the door. The key here is confidence. Confidence, confidence, confidence. 'As soon as you've picked the item up off the shelf, it is YOURS. NOT the store's property. You're NOT STEALING anything.' If you can make yourself believe that and convey that aura to anybody who glances your way, you're good to go. This technique has done $700 of electronics in one visit.
Ever notice the gardening area in your local hardware store or wally's world? note the low concentration of cameras outside and ease of avoiding them. Oftentimes if you're inconspicuous about it you can slip merchandise through/under/over their fence. Either conceal it and go around and pick it up, or have somebody on the other side pick it up within a minute. This completely gets you around the front door and employee observation. This one has scored $200 in one run, but could obviously go higher so long as the merchandise is small enough.
Watches and Clothes
This one is so simple you're going to kick yourself. Wear them out.
Intentionally getting monitored
You know how we said not to go and load up a cart with expensive DVD players because it's suspicious? Well... doing this has multiple advantages. You can distract LP to pay attention to you and not a friend shoplifting in a neighboring department. OR, you can first load up your person with whatever small items you want, then get monitored for these large items, which you will pretend to pussy out and ditch. LP now thinks they have all their items back under control, and you walk out looking defeated.... with their shit.
A lot of "big box superstores", have taken to posting fake cops (in corp-speak, they're called LP, or "loss prevention" agents.) They're actually just normal rent-a-cops, but they're dressed up in cute little dark blue uniforms -- so if you don't look closely at the name tag, you might mistake them for real pigs. They're not -- they're just little pretend piglets. They're instructed to "act with full authority" when confronting shoplifters. While Target, etc. do not condone the impersonation of a police officer, these piglets don't seem to have any problem letting people believe they're the real deal. Don't fall for it. Ignore the uniform, and don't consent to anything. For added fun when confronted by a piglet, ask him if he is a police officer. If he responds "no", then ask "then why do you look like one?"
Some LP will be dressed as a normal customer, however, these can sometimes still be identified by radios they may carry to talk to the store staff or by simply telling a cashier you lost something valuable and asking for loss prevention to be called. Most LP are pig-wannabes, but occasionally you can find a security guard that is as disgruntled as you are. Watch for these guys. Get to know them if you can. They can be a valuable resource.
Be aware that just like the real pigs there are plenty of female LP agents, some are big and some are tiny, some are even hired because they blend in. In some chains the LP agents are not know to store employees except perhaps the store manager, sometimes they rotate through the area stores to help keep their cover.
The hunting style varies but most often the LP will select a target based on their previous bust experience either by watching from an elevated office with a mirrored window, "shopping" near the front of the store, or by working the video system especially in high risk areas like electronics. They are often looking for the shifty overly cautious glances and scans as well as a person walking around with a piece of merchandise looking for a place to cut open and conceal it, shoplifters especially guys fit into a few profiles.
DON'T LOOK LIKE THIS. Scout the place out as you walk in: shop finding blind spots, even from outside the store, step in and cast a sweeping upwards glance, noting camera placements. Act with full confidence when you do what you're going to. Tell yourself "The merchandise is mine already". If you feel that you are safe and it's yours, you should arouse no suspicion with your actions. Actually buy something if the concealed item makes no notable bulge.
Once a target is selected the LP will often come down and attempt to follow the target discretely on foot, they are hoping to see the actual concealment, this is important to them. Once the merchandise is concealed they can be more open, they most often try to keep eyes on you from this point to be sure you don't ditch the stuff. Once you have stuffed the merchandise into your clothes they hope that you will try to do the walkout. They confront you where the law says is the point of shoplifting, sometimes the doors, sometimes the register line, you have to know the law. If you don't play along soon they will often have clerks give you pushy service to intimidate you, this also happens if there is no trained LP or qualified manager. If you drop the goods you will sometimes be allowed to walk away and they will just keep the pictures from video or still shots, sometimes making the photography obvious to intimidate you and record the plate numbers on your car, other times they will inform you that you are now trespassing should you return and try to get you to give ID and sign acceptance of the trespass information, don't play along, unless a real cop shows up they really can't keep you until you actually break a law. A filed trespass information means they can easily ding you for burglary in some jurisdictions, that is sometimes a felony and can count toward a three strikes life in prison. This is not true in all jurisdictions but most places they will not arrest you outside unless they actually saw you stuff the goods and then track you to the door. They may stop you and ask to search you or your bags especially if you were acting suspicious or the door alarm went off, refuse their pressure and keep moving, if they grab you shake them off but do not get violent. Most often they will not give chase past the front of the store where you might be tempted to attack them so running can be a good idea, although sometimes the LP will call the cops with a heads up and a patrol unit might be outside as backup and jail pickup if they think they have you.
Know the laws of your state! It is incredible how much they vary and how exploitable they are if you know them well. In most places when proper procedure is followed a uniformed or plainclothes loss prevention agent or even a regular employee may perform a citizen's arrest when they witness a felony, this includes the right to restrain you until the cops show up. Expect the real pigs to be lenient on the rent-a-pig and take you to the station and book you even if the LP really screws up your arrest. Remember that until they see you commit a FELONY they have no legal rights to action against you. YOU CANNOT RELY UPON THE LAW TO PROTECT YOU!
In legal technicality, the store employees cannot arrest you unless they are off-duty cops working at the store for kicks. Beware that this does happen, especially with mall security or at Target, but these cops will demand a fat check. The biggest problem with this is that they don't have to be in uniform or wearing an sort of identifying gear. The pig could be wearing shorts and a hawaiian shirt.
Assuming though that the employee attempting to stop you is NOT a cop, which 98% of the time is the case, here's how it it works.
Legally when any citizen (any non-cop person, actually, even if they are an illegal immigrant) witnesses you commit FELONY, they are obliged, and legally permitted to detain you for 'a reasonable period'. This is called a 'citizen's arrest', however it is not really an arrest because they cannot handcuff you or otherwise bind you. Nor can they search you (this is important to remember, because nine times out of ten they will tell you they can, and if you let them, then you are consenting and they're in the clear). Nor can they transport you. This is the case in every state in the U.S.A. except for North Carolina, in which there is no law specifically granting this power. Also be aware that the 'citizen's arrest' law is a minimum in almost every state. Most states also have laws that state that if you are ultimately found guilty of a crime, the person who detained you is completely invulnerable to any legal action, in some cases even if they used serious physical force to keep you in the store. Assume that if it goes to court, you will get screwed. Juries hate shoplifters and love alert employees.
Also, be aware that these rules are just the law. The law hates you as much as you hate it and you can never assume that it will protect you. They may not legally be allowed to cuff you or search you, but that doesn't mean that they won't do it. If an employee starts stepping over the line of their rights though you should remind them that if they break the law than they can get fired, fined, or booked. Be convincing, hell, lie your face off and cite bogus chapters of law that refer to these things. Whatever you have to say to make the employee scared, say it. Whatever you have to do to get away with the stuff, or at the very least, let you get out clean, do it.
Just to recap, don't admit anything no matter what, don't consent to any search or touching, don't meekly follow any rent-a-cop anywhere, calmly inform the alleged LP that you are leaving, do what you can short of violence or even making the appearance of touching the person claiming to be an LP to get away safely. Often the cops are a long ways away so if you can leave the area in anything but a car registered in your name you are probably home free.
You walk-through those little towers and somewhere hidden in/on your stolen stuff is a little digital snitch. Setting off a security tag scanner does not give any employee the right to search you, or even detain you legally in most cases (if its an LP that also happens to be an actual badge-wearing pig for his other job, than you're toast because he can be a cop, even when he's off duty and wearing street duds; watch out for this, it's not that uncommon). Always remember that an employee (other than in the rare case just mentioned) has no legal power over you unless and until they personally witness you commit a crime(felony only in come areas), at which point they have the legal right to 'citizen's arrest' you (the term is a misnomer, because they can only DETAIN you, not ARREST you, the difference being that if you are ARRESTED you can be transported without consent). However, you should never rely on the law to protect you though, citizen's arrests can be very legally sketchy if they are found to have been uncalled-for, but the power is also very elastic if you are later found guilty of any crime that could have justified detaining you. Juries hate shop-lifters and love alert by-standers and employees. Watch out for the curious average-joe that will get involved and stop you if he feels like he should. If you trip an alarm, the best thing to do at that point is to run if you think you can get away, or to b.s. your way out of trouble if you think you can pull it off (such as if the item is extremely well concealed, or if the employees seem gullible or apathetic). Another strategy is to just ignore the alarm (requires some pretty good acting skills, because the alarms are created to be loud and startling) and just keep walking; this is particularly good way to go if the store seems under-staffed, or the employees don't seem particularly corporate-fascist. These are all super sketchy, last ditch responses to a situation that really should be stayed clear of if at all possible. The best way to get out safely is to simply avoid setting the scanner's alarms off in the first place, which is actually easier than it seems. Remember that they are designed to scare you more than anything else. Some tricks to avoiding the alarm:
1. Removing the tags (pulling them off, cutting them off, breaking them if they are the big, hard-plastic kind, just beware of tags on the INSIDE of packages because that is become more common)
2. Deactivation (hand-held devices sell for two hundred bones on ebay, expensive but an investment because you can hide it up the sleeve of a coat and wipe dozens of items a second just by waving your arm within six inches of them, a good tactic if you have a group of people with you. You can also use magnets to deactivate a lot of them, depending on the type of system they are using, and how nice the tags are. Nicer store, more expensive gear, stronger magnet.)
3. Shielding (ten layers of aluminum foil on either side of the item will get you through safely 99% of the time no matter what type of system they have. Just line the inside of a backpack with it. Less layers=less effective but also less bulky/obvious, and five layers will work just fine on cheaper systems)
4. Avoiding the Scanners altogether (throw your shit over them, if no one is watching, or go around them if possible, or find another door that doesn't have them)
5. Turn the scanners off (good option if you are in a group, and you can distract the employees while you unplug one of the towers from the wall, one is all you need to turn off in one case, because they are generally set up as a sender/receiver system)
If you goof up, the alarms go off, and you're scared of the law, you CAN always just drop the stuff and then run, but don't assume that you are off the hook just because you didn't actually leave the store with anything. Logically it would seem that you haven't committed a crime, but in every state in the U.S. there is something called an "attempt" law, which is pretty self-explanatory. Legally speaking, attempting any crime, even if it was not completed in any sense. IS still a crime and can be prosecuted (in some states) by just as much jail-time or fines as the crime itself. So unless its weighing you down, or you think that leaving the stuff there will stop them from chasing you, then its probably not worth the wasted effort, because you've already done the deed and you're already almost out of the store. A lot of stores have a no-chase policy anyway. If you're out, you're free.
NEVER CARRY OR STEAL ANYTHING THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED A WEAPON if you decide to shoplift, unless you want to spend a few years in a medium to high security state hotel.
This section presents some general guidelines on thievery to put you ahead of the impulse swiping. With some planning ahead, practice and a little nerve, you can pick up on some terrific bargains.
Being a successful shoplifter requires the development of an outlaw mentality. When you enter a store you should already have cased the joint so don't browse around examining all sorts of items, staring over your shoulder and generally appearing like you're about to snatch something and are afraid of getting caught. Enter, having a good idea of what you want and where it's located.
Camouflage is important. Be sure you dress the part by looking like an average customer. If you are going to rip- off expensive stores (why settle for less), act like you have a chauffeur driven car double parked around the corner. A good rule is dress in the style and price range of the clothes, etc., you are about to shoplift. The reason we recommend the more expensive stores is that they tend to have less security guards, relying instead on mechanical methods or more usually on just the sales people. Many salespeople are uptight about carrying out a bust if they catch you. A large number are thieves themselves, in fact one good way to steal is simply explain to the salesclerk that you're broke and ask if you can take something without paying. It's a great way to radicalize shop personnel by rapping to them about why they shouldn't give a shit if the boss gets ripped off.
The best time to work out is on a rainy, cold day during a busy shopping season. Christmas holiday is a shoplifter's paradise. In these periods you can wear heavy overcoats or loose raincoats without attracting suspicion. The crowds of shoppers will keep the nosy "can-I-help-you's" from fucking up your style.
Since you have already checked out the store before hitting it, you'll know the store's "blind-spots" where you can be busy without being observed too easily. Dressing rooms, blind alley aisles and washrooms are some good spots. Know where the cashier's counter is located, where the exits to the street and storage rooms are to be found, and most important, the type of security system in use.
If you are going to snatch in the dressing room, be sure to carry more than one item in with you. Don't leave telltale empty hangers behind. Take them out and ditch them in the aisles.
An increasingly popular method of security is a small shoplifting plastic detector attached to the price tag. It says "Do Not Remove" and if you do, it electronically triggers an alarm in the store. If you try to make it out the door, it also trips the alarm system. When a customer buys the item, the cashier removes the detector with a special deactivation machine. When you enter the store, notice if the door is rigged with electronic eyes. They are often at the waist level, which means if the item is strapped to your calf or tucked under your hat, you can walk out without a peep from the alarm. If you trigger the alarm either inside the store or at the threshold, just dash off lickety-split. The electronic eyes are often disguised as part of the decor. By checking to see what the cashier does with merchandise bought, you can be sure if the store is rigged. Other methods are undercover pigs that look like shoppers, one-way mirrors and remote control television cameras. Undercover pigs are expensive so stores are usually understaffed. Just watch out (without appearing to watch out) that no one observes you in action. As to mirrors and cameras there are always blind spots in a store created when displays are moved around, counters shifted, and boxes piled in the aisles. Mirrors and cameras are rarely adjusted to fit these changes. Don't get turned off by this security jazz. The percentage of stores that have sophisticated security systems such as those described is very small. If you work out at lunch time, the security guards and many of the sales personnel will be out of the store. Just before closing is also good, because the clerks are concentrating on going home.
By taking only one or two items, you can prevent a bust if caught by just acting like a dizzy klepto socialite getting kicks or use the "Oh-gee-I-forgot-to-pay" routine. Stores don't want to hassle going into court to press charges, so they usually let you go after you return the stuff. If you thought ahead, you'll have some cash ready to pay for the items you've pocketed, if caught. Leave your I.D. and phone book at home before going shopping. People rarely go to jail for shoplifting, most if caught never even see a real cop. Just lie like a fucker and the most you'll get is a lecture on law and order and a warning not to come back to that store or else.
You know those dehumanizing self-checkouts every supermarket seems to be installing? They're godsends to anyone who's serious about stealing, and all you need is a empty or expired prepaid Mastercard or something similar. I'll elaborate: load up your baskets/cart/whatever with your groceries (I personally go with organic produce, "premium" ice cream, medication (aleve, robitussin, etc), hygiene supplies (razors, shampoo/conditioner), magazines and batteries) and proceed to the self-checkout. Scan and bag it all like you're a paying customer, maintaining a calm and inconspicuous demeanour. Once it's all bagged press "pay with card" and grab your empty prepaid Mastercard (or anything else that works and doesn't have your personal information on it). Swipe the card and while the machine processes your payment simply grab your grocery bags and walk out. Takes an upwards of 10 seconds from it to go from "processing..." to "declined"; by then you should be out of the store with your ill- gotten loot. If confronted, play it off as a mistake. Don't do this at places where they check receipts at the exit, and never hit the same store twice.