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Toronto Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000 Charges Lawyer

Self-Checkout related shoplifting charges

Self-checkout machines are increasingly being installed in Toronto area stores. While efficient and convenient they also have caused an increase in shoplifting related incidents.

The lack of a cashier increases temptation as shoppers feel no one is watching them. In reality, store security guards are often watching via CCTV and are trained to detect these crimes. Their cameras are state of the art and able to zoom in on the screen easily to read what the items being scanned are ringing in as.

The three most popular ways of using the self-checkout to shoplift are:
  1. Not scanning some of the items
  2. Switching a price tag which something priced less and scanning it
  3. Using a barcode brought into the store for something cheap and scanning this instead of the proper barcode item
It is far more daring to hide an item or switch a price tag and hope the busy cashier won’t notice versus being seemingly alone at a machine. Psychologically the feeling of being alone is sometimes enough to entice shoplifting behaviour which would not have occurred but for the self-checkout.

Depending on whether the item was not paid for at all or a reduced price was paid the shoplifter will be charged with theft under $5000, fraud under $5000, or both. Regardless of the method it is shoplifting.

Deterrence and prevention

Knowing that self-checkouts lead to increased shoplifting incidents stores take measures to deter potential thieves such as placing cameras with a screen showing the customer ringing in the items. This helps deter attempts by reminding the person they are being recorded. People are also less likely to commit a crime while watching themselves do it. This is similar to why stores put large mirrors in the corners so that shoppers can see themselves.

While the camera aimed at the self-checkout shoppers' face is great for identifying the individual, it is the camera watching from above that records the actual acts. CCTV security cameras above the self-checkouts are not just unmonitored feeds being recorded. In the loss prevention office security guards watch the self-checkout CCTV cameras for suspicious behaviour. This means they are zooming in on and moving the cameras to capture and record the crimes clearly as they happen. They will then alert the ground level security (often undercover) to arrest the person once they leave the store.

As of 2022, stores such as Wal-Mart, Loblaws/Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Metro are investing even more into security to combat self-checkout thefts and frauds. It is important to note that even the employees of the store (cashiers, stockers, etc.) often do not know who is security and who is just a regular customer. This is because they are not only watching for potential shoplifters but also watching the employees to ensure they do not steal from or defraud the store.

Call us today for a free assessment

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with all forms of theft and fraud related offences throughout Ontario, Canada.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on theft and fraud related charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed. We also only take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a theft or fraud related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel