Does HEB Prosecute Shoplifters? (All You Need To Know) 

Does HEB Prosecute Shoplifters

HEB has stores located all over Texas and in northeast Mexico and as a Texas chain, you can bet that they’re a little harder on shoplifters than most. So, does HEB prosecute shoplifters?

Yes, in most cases if you are caught shoplifting then you will be charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Depending on the value of the items taken, this could be a minor offense or misdemeanor level, but if you are caught 3 times then it automatically moves into FELONY territory!

Of course, there is a bit more to it than this, so today we’ll talk about HEB and how they deal with shoplifting so that you can better understand how seriously this Texas chain takes their loss prevention. Read on and we’ll tell you all you need to know about it!

What happens if I get caught shoplifting at HEB?

Getting caught at an HEB is a little bit different, as unless you are in a Mexico HEB, then you’re dealing with Texas law.

Unlike most states, Texas law gives a lot more leeway to shopkeepers in regards to detaining someone suspicious and going through their bags to ensure that no shoplifting has occurred.

The law in question is called the ‘Shopkeeper’s privilege, and you can read it in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §124.001’, but what it basically states is that if the store believes that you have taken something without paying, that they have the right to detain you in a reasonable manner for an appropriate amount of time to determine if a crime has been committed.

If goods are found on your person and you don’t have a receipt for them, then it is likely that the police will be contacted right away and charges will be pressed.

If you are approached in an HEB and questioned, it is advised that you be on your best behavior – after all, you’re on HEB’s surveillance camera, and being rude or attempting to flee is going to be ‘caught on tape’.

If you are a minor, they may instead contact your parents and hold you in the store until they arrive, and in some cases whether a minor or adult, they may insist that paperwork be signed before you leave for a ‘civil restitution’, rather than calling the police.

What this means is that a fee has been assessed for the value of the goods, as well as for an estimated cost in security resources that HEB expended to ‘catch’ you.

It usually amounts to a fine that may be anywhere from $50 to 500, but just because they don’t stop you on the way out or question you in the store doesn’t mean that you won’t be charged.  

You can even be ‘caught’ after the fact

Since HEB employs surveillance, as an additional security measure that data is going to be saved on a local machine at the store and a remote server location. This data is going to be kept anywhere from months to even a few years, depending on HEB’s data retention policy.

If someone sees you acting suspicious or suspects that some missing items are your fault, then they may well review that security footage to look for suspicious behaviors.

A few years back, it would be much harder to find you this way, but these days with social media loss prevention agents can often identify you on their own and they can also send that footage to the police at any time that they wish.

They don’t even have to prosecute right away, you might receive a letter, for instance, asking for civil restitution and if you don’t pay it, then the evidence will be forwarded to the police for formal charges.

According to Texas law, the statute of limitations is 2 years for shoplifting, so you could receive a letter 6 months from now if they take their time in processing it.

Is shoplifting at HEB a serious offense?

Shoplifting in Texas and many other states is a serious offence and depending on the value of the items taken, you could be looking at some serious fees and jail time. For instance, if over $100 worth of goods was taken but less than $750, then you are looking at a Class B Misdemeanor.

This means you will be in for a fine of up to $2000, 180 days in jail. Even if much less is taken, if you get in trouble for shoplifting 3 times in Texas, then by state law the charge will automatically become a FELONY.

This is when the charges really get a LOT of weight. At the lowest level, a State Felony, you could be fined up to $10,000 and you could be given between 180 day up to 2 years in prison!

Texas doesn’t play around when it comes to shoplifting, and HEB knows this and will take advantage in order to deter shoplifters from taking items from their stores without paying.

Can I fight the case?

If you have been offered civil restitution, where you may pay a fine to the store directly and changes will not be brought against you, then it is advised that you take it.

You could try to fight it, but keep in mind that surveillance video from your time in the store is going to be used against you, so if you even think that you look suspicious then it’s best to pay the fee and avoid getting criminal charges on your record.

If the police are contacted directly and you are taken to jail, then it is advised that you contact a lawyer immediately and don’t speak to anyone until they have arrived to speak for you.  

While you could rely on a court appointed lawyer, it is really best to retain your own, as court-appointed lawyers tend to have very full caseloads and may be more inclined to simply recommend a plea deal.

With a lawyer that you’ve hired, you’ll get the best representation, and they can discuss options with you, such as programs that you may qualify for which can reduce charges or in some cases, even get them dismissed entirely upon completion.

While you could probably choose to fight, it’s best to take that up with your lawyer to get a realistic assessment – stores like HEB usually don’t press charges if they don’t have very good evidence on their side to prove shoplifting, so likely your best bet will be to try to avoid ail so that you can move on with your life!

Read also >> Do Supermarkets Prosecute Shoplifters? (Do This Now!)

Read also >> HEB Shoplifting Policy (What’s Covered + More)

Some closing words

In today’s article we’ve answered the question ‘Does HEB prosecute shoplifters?’ and in most cases, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.

As HEB is a Texas-based chain, shoplifting laws are taken very seriously and stores also have a law in their favor called the ‘Shopkeeper’s privilege’, so they even have the right to detain you for short periods of time if they are suspicious.

Don’t forget that in Texas, being caught 3 times shoplifting will upgrade the charge to a felony, and this could mean up to a $10,000 find or more, depending on the value of the goods taken, and 180 days to 2 years in jail.

Neither HEB nor the State of Texas is messing around when it comes to shoplifting, so you’ll want to avoid trouble if at all possible, and if you are caught if you aren’t given the option of a civil restitution fee then you’ve better a get a lawyer – you’re going to need one!

Reference Source

Lindsey G.

Lindsey is the founder of Lindsey is writing about all topics related to Food, Grocery, Shoplifting and Store management. Her job also included covering trendy new food products and kitchen staples.

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