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  • Robbery?

    Say you have a scenario where a fleeing shoplifter is confronted by a plain clothes store DT, fights with him (leaving no visible injury), leaves the merchandise behind and flees the store. I'm just wondering how many of you would normally write this up as a robbery instead of a larceny/aggravated harassment or what not?

    I was partnered with a friend who is a P.O. in a sector around a major mall and we had one. It got me thinking because they happen all the time there as the loss prevention in one store in particular is pretty aggressive (almost all other stores in the area have the "let the guy run" policy). I would think higher ups in most areas would want that squashed down so robbery stats don't appear inflated. It's not really what most people expect when they hear "robbery". Just curious how everyone handles it.
    Last edited by Kris396; 02-26-2015, 12:27 PM.

  • #2
    Not sure how CA case law may apply to you over there but, this is a frequent occurrence. It is covered under People v. Estes (1983).

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    • #3
      It depends how the stature is written and what you mean by "fight." Is the suspect just trying to get away or is the suspect trying to inflict harm on the loss prevention person? I imagine your friend knows what the prosecutor's office will accept as a robbery and what they will not.

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      • #4
        In CA, per case law, that is a robbery. Generally speaking, only our administrators have access to the "stats" so a regular beat cop writes what he/she sees and then the division commander will make the "appropriate" UCR changes to fit the desired result.
        semper destravit

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        • #5
          Originally posted by just joe View Post
          It depends how the stature is written and what you mean by "fight." Is the suspect just trying to get away or is the suspect trying to inflict harm on the loss prevention person? I imagine your friend knows what the prosecutor's office will accept as a robbery and what they will not.
          The suspects were long gone before we got there (we were out of sector on a prisoner run) so I believe the report he wrote up went to crime unit (detectives). As you mentioned, he has been around there for a bit and he knows what will or won't fly with the detectives. Not implying anything was done wrong, it just got me curious as to how it is handled elsewhere.

          Thanks for the replies everyone!

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          • #6
            In Iowa by fighting with the store employee this is by statute a Robbery
            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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            • #7
              I think a lot depends on how you state law is written and what the circumstances were. If the use of physical force in the furtherance of a theft constitutes strongarm robbery in your state then you should be good to go.

              OTOH, if the suspect clearly abandoned the property and ceased any activity that would constitute a theft prior to someone attempting the arrest and then the altercation took place, maybe not.
              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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              • #8
                Here that would be a theft and an assault. The theft occurred before the assault which was committed in an attempt to avoid apprehension and not to deprive the owner of his property.
                Errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum
                To err is human, but to persist is diabolical

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Speedbird543 View Post
                  Here that would be a theft and an assault. The theft occurred before the assault which was committed in an attempt to avoid apprehension and not to deprive the owner of his property.
                  But if the physical resistance takes place while the suspect is still in possession of the property, physical force is being used to further possession of the stolen items, hence (at least in my state), you have strongarm robbery.
                  Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                  • #10
                    Iowa Code

                    711.1 ROBBERY DEFINED.

                    A person commits a robbery when, having the intent to commit a
                    theft, the person does any of the following acts to assist or further
                    the commission of the intended theft or the person's escape from the
                    scene thereof with or without the stolen property:
                    1. Commits an assault upon another.
                    2. Threatens another with or purposely puts another in fear of
                    immediate serious injury.
                    3. Threatens to commit immediately any forcible felony.
                    It is immaterial to the question of guilt or innocence of robbery
                    that property was or was not actually stolen.

                    AND DON'T EVEN think of hurting anyone that you assault

                    711.2 ROBBERY IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
                    A person commits robbery in the first degree when, while
                    perpetrating a robbery, the person purposely inflicts or attempts to
                    inflict serious injury, or is armed with a dangerous weapon. Robbery
                    in the first degree is a class "B" felony.
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                      Iowa Code

                      711.1 ROBBERY DEFINED.

                      A person commits a robbery when, having the intent to commit a
                      theft, the person does any of the following acts to assist or further
                      the commission of the intended theft or the person's escape from the
                      scene thereof with or without the stolen property:
                      1. Commits an assault upon another.
                      2. Threatens another with or purposely puts another in fear of
                      immediate serious injury.
                      3. Threatens to commit immediately any forcible felony.
                      It is immaterial to the question of guilt or innocence of robbery
                      that property was or was not actually stolen.

                      AND DON'T EVEN think of hurting anyone that you assault

                      711.2 ROBBERY IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
                      A person commits robbery in the first degree when, while
                      perpetrating a robbery, the person purposely inflicts or attempts to
                      inflict serious injury, or is armed with a dangerous weapon. Robbery
                      in the first degree is a class "B" felony.
                      I was kinda thinking along these lines myself.

                      I don't know how the code is written here in VA, but I would assume that a theft still occurs even if the suspect is no longer in possession of the property in question. Would that be correct in most circumstances?
                      It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PtownVAMike View Post
                        I was kinda thinking along these lines myself.

                        I don't know how the code is written here in VA, but I would assume that a theft still occurs even if the suspect is no longer in possession of the property in question. Would that be correct in most circumstances?
                        Here is it technically a robbery because robbery is defined as forced used during the course of a theft. Our courts have held that the "during the course of" language includes the flight after the theft.

                        Cops in our jurisdiction always charge robbery. As a prosecutor, I almost always send those back to municipal court as a shoplifting unless the security guard sustained injury.

                        Anyway, the police still charge robbery knowing that it's likely we'll downgrade, which is exactly what they should be doing. Charge what it is on paper and let the prosecutor's office decide the disposition. You can't go wrong there.


                        "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

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                        • #13
                          Sec. 29.02. ROBBERY.

                          (a) A person commits an offense if, in the course of committing theft as defined in Chapter 31 and with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property, he:
                          (1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
                          (2) intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
                          (b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
                          In God We Trust
                          Everyone else we run local and NCIC

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                          • #14
                            It is a robbery. I'm not saying this happened but in certain departments if the guy got caught he was charged with robbery. If the guy got away and there were no real way of identifying him it was written up as a petit larceny as long as there were no injuries. Although this did help out the C.O because he has to answer for the 7 major index crimes , it was mostly done to help out an overburdened big city detective squad. Some times the plain clothes guys would jump all over these trying to get an easy felony number. Collaring shoplifters that resisted security(no injury) and charging them with robbery was referred to jokingly as Petit Robbery. Even if you charged robbery it was immediately reduced by the D.A's office.
                            Last edited by BNWS; 02-26-2015, 10:55 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Lady Blue posted our Texas law. Maybe not in MD, but in Texas, "in the course of committing" covers it all, not making it a theft plus an added charge of assault. I never hear these types of "thefts" ever being reduced to actual thefts but always left at the felony level they are and should be handled at.

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