Walmart Starting To Arrest Those Who Steal At Self-Checkout

Walmart is cracking down on theft at its self-checkout machines, the retailer reportedly arrested one women after she attempted to steal $1,000 worth of merchandise while at a self-checkout at a store in Michigan.

By Joseph Farago | Published

Though self-checkout provides customers with an easy, intuitive procedure for immediate purchases, it also leaves room for scams and stealing. Walmart recently amped up their attentiveness to self-checkout thievery, checking security cameras of the machines more frequently and arresting perpetrators. One woman in Alpena, Michigan, was arrested after she was caught stealing $1,000 worth of products.

According to ABC 12, Michigan State Police investigated one incident where a resident didn’t scan her Walmart items on multiple occasions at the self-checkout stations. According to security footage, she ended up stealing more than $1,000 worth of merchandise. A loss prevention employee confronted the woman before leaving the store, attempting to get her to pay for her unscanned products.

Once the Walmart employee got involved, the customer started arguing about the allegation. Though the Michigan woman left the store that day, a reviewal of footage from many visits concluded that the customer had stolen numerous times. Starting from April 2022, the alleged thief had stolen more than $1,000 in total products from her local Walmart, which led the store’s employees to contact local officials.

After a review of the surveillance camera footage, the Alpena County Prosecutor’s Office filed one charge against the Michigan woman. She was charged with first-degree retail fraud and was subsequently arrested by Michigan police on September 29th. She had her initial appearance in front of a judge this past Tuesday at an Alpena County courtroom.

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Though it may seem easy to steal from self-checkout machines, certain regiments are in place to stop customers from committing crimes. One former Walmart employee recently disclosed their anti-thieving practices. To prevent shoplifting, employees utilize a tricky device to interfere with people who aren’t scanning their products.

Workers stationed at the self-checkout station have a device that can pause specific machines if the employee notices shoplifting. The software halts the scanning procedure, ultimately needing an employee to come over and assess the issue. The Walmart employee can then see if the customer has scanned all of their items properly or not.

Though this may seem aggressive, this former Walmart employee stated that workers are told to pretend there’s a problem with the specific machine the customer is using instead of jumping to conclusions. After the attendant comes over to the alleged shoplifter, they are directed to a checkout line with an actual human working the register. That way, customers aren’t immediately blamed for thievery, while employees covertly ensure that all products are properly purchased.

The former employee released this information on the popular video-sharing app TikTok, describing how workers used this device to limit shoplifting at self-checkout stations. They stated that once alleged stealers were moved to checkout lines with human attendees, customers had to start over their scanning process, ensuring that every single item was adequately accounted for.

Retail giants like Walmart are more aware of customer shoplifting than people assume, utilizing advanced tactics to catch thieves. A Target employee recently discussed the retailer’s intense procedures for stopping crime, which involves a tight-knit forensics lab that reviews evidence like audio files, footprints, and video footage.