• Report: #189984

Complaint Review: AAFES Army-Airforce Exchange Service

  • Submitted: Thu, May 04, 2006
  • Updated: Wed, October 19, 2011

  • Reported By:Kansas City Missouri
AAFES Army-Airforce Exchange Service
PO Box 650059 Dallas Texas Dallas, Texas U.S.A.

AAFES Army-Airforce Exchange StoresAAFES Army-Airforce Exchange Service ripoff $200 fine for shoplifting under threat of criminal prosecution in federal courts Dallas Texas

*Consumer Comment: AAFES - Exchange is a thief all the way

*Consumer Comment: Wouldn't it be Easier Not to Shoplift?

*Author of original report: Agreed! AAFES Civil Recovery for Shoplifting is Abuse of Power!

*Consumer Comment: My Civil Recovery Experience

*Consumer Comment: Emailed the Editor

*Author of original report: Carrie! Discretion and Due Process

*Consumer Comment: Thanx Carol

*Consumer Comment: Thanks Carol

*Author of original report: Justice for All

*Consumer Comment: Carol PLEASE contact me!

*Consumer Comment: Threatened with criminal charges/fines... DUH!

*General Comment: Seriously.

*Author of original report: Troops Pay two penalties to Federal Government

*Consumer Suggestion: Are you kidding me?

*Consumer Suggestion: A Great Rule of Thumb

*Author of original report: Retailers should have a duty of "due diligence and care" to prevent shoplifting

*Consumer Comment: Shoplifting in the civilian world

*Author of original report: $200 is just the beginning of the Rip-Off

*Consumer Comment: $200 is uncommon usually its higher

*Author of original report: Due Diligence and the Rule of Law

*Consumer Comment: No Carol...

*Consumer Comment: I noticed...

*Consumer Comment: I noticed...

*Consumer Comment: I noticed...

*Consumer Comment: I noticed...

*Author of original report: NO NOTICE OF CONSEQUENCES -- NO NOTICE OF IMPENDING ARREST/CHARGES

*Consumer Comment: By your own words...

*Author of original report: NOTICE of Civil Recovery Fine and Criminal Sanction

*Consumer Suggestion: A lot of fingerpointing but...

*Consumer Suggestion: CONGRESS DID NOT VOTE ON THIS $200 FINE ON THE MILITARY --IT WAS AN EARMARK

*Consumer Suggestion: Military members have always been subject to double jeopardy

*Author of original report: Rip Off of $200 and Threat of Criminal Prosecution

*Consumer Suggestion: Carol

*Consumer Suggestion: I don't think they are treated more severely

*Author of original report: I have gone through channels --even the President's Integrity Committee

*Consumer Suggestion: Another idea for Lauren

*Author of original report: Armed Forces Personnel face BOTH Civil Demand and Federal Court costs and fines

*Consumer Suggestion: Oh really?

*Author of original report: AAFES Uses Unofficial Military Media to Spread Propaganda

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Security measures increase, shoplifting occurrences decrease

*Author of original report: Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

*Author of original report: Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

*Author of original report: Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

*Author of original report: Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

*Consumer Suggestion: Lauren - here's an idea.

*Author of original report: Do ten-year-old dependents have government ID cards?

*Consumer Suggestion: Your right Lauren I don't have kids

*Author of original report: Ranger is Stranger to Truth and Logic

*Consumer Suggestion: Utter fiction

*Author of original report: Not a big deal For field grade officer

*Consumer Suggestion: Here's an idea - don't shop there

*Consumer Comment: You must not have children

*Consumer Suggestion: Steven, Let me answer your comment, with some facts

*Author of original report: Fascists in our Midst

*Consumer Suggestion: What are your suggestion Lauren and Carol

*Author of original report: AAFES Policy is Unconscionable and Un-American

*Consumer Comment: AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

*Consumer Comment: AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

*Consumer Comment: AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

*Consumer Comment: AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

*Author of original report: Apprehended Shoplifting is Attempted Theft

*Consumer Comment: Where does it stop?

*Consumer Comment: Where does it stop?

*Consumer Comment: Where does it stop?

*Consumer Comment: Where does it stop?

*Author of original report: Warnings Would Help

*Consumer Comment: Warning signs

*Consumer Comment: Yes, they do in some regards

*Author of original report: Civil Recovery Double Jeopardy in Some States

*Consumer Comment: Shoplifting is a crime

*Author of original report: Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

*Author of original report: Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

*Author of original report: Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

*Author of original report: Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

*Consumer Comment: Rip off indeed

*Consumer Suggestion: AAFES doesn't want to stop shoplifting.

*Consumer Comment: carol part two

*Consumer Comment: To Dmitrij and Carol

*Consumer Comment: To Dmitrij and Carol

*Consumer Comment: To Dmitrij and Carol

*Consumer Comment: To Dmitrij and Carol

*Author of original report: Thanks for reading my comments and the comments of others.

*Consumer Comment: Lawyer Cost

*Consumer Comment: Carol you are encouraging theft!

*Author of original report: No Due Process for $200 Demand

*Consumer Comment: The civil recovery fee

*Consumer Comment: Some Problems

*Consumer Comment: Ask your lawyer to review the video

*Author of original report: Sticker Entrapment and profits for AAFES

*Author of original report: Sticker Entrapment and profits for AAFES

*Consumer Comment: Inocent AAFES customer

*Consumer Comment: I read the story Carol

*Author of original report: To Be Wrongly Accused is Painful

*Consumer Comment: You can ask your questions here

*Consumer Comment: They sure feel like secret police

*Author of original report: Shoplifting Due Process Rights

*Author of original report: Shoplifting Due Process Rights

*Author of original report: Shoplifting Due Process Rights

*Author of original report: Shoplifting Due Process Rights

*Consumer Comment: No, Carol I am not annoyed

*Author of original report: Honor, Duty, Country and Rlp Off of the Troops

*Consumer Comment: Why don't you write the IG Carol

*Consumer Comment: Why don't you write the IG Carol

*Consumer Comment: Why don't you write the IG Carol

*Consumer Comment: Why don't you write the IG Carol

*Consumer Comment: Oh My...

*Author of original report: Let's avoid the appearance of evil!

*Consumer Comment: What is your real motiviation?

*Consumer Comment: What is your real motiviation?

*Consumer Comment: What is your real motiviation?

*Consumer Comment: What is your real motiviation?

*Consumer Comment: Not only France

*Consumer Comment: Executive Order

*Author of original report: And Lead Us Not Unto Temptation

*Consumer Comment: For Heaven's Sake.

*Consumer Comment: Wife of a Veteran

*Consumer Comment: My two cents...and no, I did not steal them

*Consumer Comment: Posting the warning

*Consumer Comment: Theft is theft... no matter what

*Author of original report: Let's deter FIRST attempts to shoplift

*Consumer Comment: Shoplifting is a crime!

*Author of original report: This is a worthy cause

*UPDATE Employee: Stealing is a crime

*Consumer Comment: Response to Carol

*Author of original report: Where are you coming from, Viernheim?

*Consumer Comment: Carol, we agree on some things

*Author of original report: Assimilated Crimes Act and the Federal Government

*Consumer Comment: Concealment and powers of states

*Consumer Comment: Concealment and powers of states

*Consumer Comment: Concealment and powers of states

*Author of original report: All Public Policy Entrapment is considered legal until the courts say otherwise

*Consumer Comment: Carol you write very well ..statements are not based in facts

*Author of original report: Undercover police and secret policy AAFES

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Some Background Info on AAFES F.Y.I.

*Consumer Comment: Shoplifers victimize us,

*Author of original report: AAFES is a component of the Department of Defense and legal entity of US Government

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: AAFES Security

*Author of original report: Extortion, any way you look at it, Viernheim

*Consumer Comment: Carol, we can agree to disagree

*Author of original report: Yes, they are secret police!

*Consumer Comment: They are not secret police

*Author of original report: AAFES Army Airforce $200 Rip Off for Shoplifting

*Consumer Comment: This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen

*Consumer Comment: This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen

*Consumer Comment: This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen

*Consumer Comment: No crap. Of course. I knew about this, but I did not worry becuase neither I nor my guest are thieves

*Author of original report: AAFES Army Airforce $200 Rip Off for Shoplifting

*Consumer Comment: Are you saying that you need to be told it is NOT OK to steal?

*Consumer Comment: Interesting Points

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AAFES says that Congress gave them the authority to demand $200 Administrative Fees when AAFES patrons are detained and accused of shoplifting ---- but did they? AAFES says that Congress allows them to demand this $200 from the military and civilian sponsors for their own offense of "shoplifting" and also for the offense of a sponsored dependent, even a child as young as ten ----but did the Congress do this?

Congress did quietly make new law in 2001 by quietly slipping an amendment to Treasury Law (Federal Claims Collection Act, 31 U.S.C. 3701 et seq.)into the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment itself was a violation of the rules of The House of Representatives because it made new law that impacted the legal rights of a new class of persons; i.e. the active duty military, the retired military, active government civilians and retired government civilians entitled to purchase retail items in government retail exchanges and commissaries.

Apparently, the DOD/MWR/AAFES authorities knew that Congress would never pass a bill authorizing Civil Recovery for Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentality Costs Relating to Shoplifting so they slipped into the back door of Congress and quietly passed an enabling amendment to Treasury Law that authorized this program and that resulted in this $200 fine on the troops ---that is demanded under the THREAT of a criminal prosecution for larceny in the federal district courts. This Civil Recovery Administrative Fee for shoplifting is a "debt" owned to the government according to AAFES but there is no standard or description of how "shoplifting" translates to this $200 debt owed to AAFES even when they have suffered no ACTUAL Damages whatsoever.

This amendment was hardly noticed at all by The Congress who were totally involved in the 9-11 aftermath. The Committee Chairman briefly described the amendment as a "mechanism outside formal judicial proceedings" that would allow the Exchanges to recover "some shoplifting losses". There is no public record of the committee hearings. We cannot know to what extent the MWR Committee approved the AAFES Civil Recovery Process and whether or not they signed off on the $200 fine. The enabling amendment was never codified in rule or regulation of the Department of Defense orThe Treasury Department. There is no standard for the debt or the tort of shoplifting in federal law or the UCMJ. Notice was not given in the Federal Register and this debt of $200, threfore, may not be a legally enforceable debt under federal law.

The AAFES opted for the HIGHEST MINIMUM CIVIL RECOVERY instead of the lowest.

State Courts have indicated that Civil Recovery For Shoplifting is NOT A DEBT because these recoveries are based on torts. The Federal Government has no tort law governing shoplifting and I didn't think that the Executive Agencies, like AAFES, were allowed to legislate.

In some state jurisdictions, only a civil demand is made and a criminal action is not initiated. It should be noted that civil recovery damages were established by the state legislatures and that it was the DOD/MWR/AAFES who established the damages under the Federal Civil Recovery Program, and not the Congress.

The "mechanism" outside of formal judicial proceedings is the AAFESdemand for $200 sent to the military for their own offense and also for the offense of their mate, their mother or father, or their child, as the case may be. The threat of a criminal prosecution looms in the back of this demand.

The "mechanism" outside of formal judicial proceedings is, of course, a mandatory appearance in the federal district court to plead and defend against the charge of theft/larceny. The mechanism also provided that the first offense of shoplifting by active duty personnel would be removed from the purview of the UCMJ and the Commanders to the jurisdiction of the federal district courts.

The AAFES couldn't demand this $200 from active duty military sponsors unless this mechanism was put into place. Of course, shoplifting is still the founded offence of larceny under the Uniform Code and under federal law and the government can apparently prosecute uniformed active duty troops under the Code or under federal law for the crime of larceny shoplifting, as they so desire. It would seem that the secret retail security police would have to warn military personnel that they are going to be ticketed for larceny when they first detain them outside of final checkouts but I don't think that they do this.

ALL AAFES patrons, this is not arbitrary, who pass final checkout points without paying for the merchandise,
no matter what their excuse, are ticketed on base traffic tickets on probable cause of having committed the crime of larceny. THE SECRET RETAIL POLICE WITHIN THE STORES HAVE COMPLETE DISCRETION to call the Base Police and are agents of the police authority and not agents of AAFES management. This is why AAFES management can claim that they do not initiate criminal prosecutions for shoplifting.

The Pentagon, on the other hand, advised me in 2004 that their
military police investigative forms do not implement the $200 civil recovery fines on the Sponsors.

However, these demands are made on the sponsors at the same time the government is threatening to prosecute these same shoplifting suspects in the federal courts for the crime of misdemeanor or felony larceny.

This practice of implementing both a civil demand for $200 and a criminal prosecution at about the same time seems to embody many of the elements of extortion. It would seem that one or the other sanction, either a criminal or a civil sanction, would be enough punishment for first-offense shoplifting. Indeed, the authority under which these base traffic tickets are written suggests that offenses should be prevented. But, if the AAFES prevents shoplifting, the suspects aren't intimidated with a ticket for stealing and AAFES appears to have no justification to demand $200.

It would appear that the secret security police should have the duty to prevent shoplifting and to warn when they observe the first covert act through secret surveillance. But, if they stop the shoplifting attempt, and the suspect pays for the merchandise, the AAFES can't extract $200.

AAFES admits that there is generally no actual loss in apprehended shoplifting and that this $200 fine is for the purpose of deterring a second attempt to steal from the store. However, AAFES makes no effort to warn patrons about the secret security police, the secret cameras, and the secret detection devices and the CRIMINAL and CIVIL consequences of failing to pay for merchandise at final checkout points. AAFES doesn't want to stop or prevent any FIRST attempts to steal their property and miss out on these $200 recoveries.

Why would they warn when there is more money in the ticket/detention for larceny and a civil demand for $200 than there is in the sale of the merchandise. Did Congress give the AAFES the incentive to arrest for profit?

WRITE, TELEPHONE, FAX, OR EMAIL YOUR CONGRESSMAN TODAY AND ASK THEM IF IT IS THEIR INTENT TO ALLOW THE AAFES TO EXTORT $200 SHOPLIFTING FINES UNDER THE THREAT OF THE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION FOR A COMPLETED LARCENY IN THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURTS!

Your Commanders can't help you. The DOD won't help you. I asked them for help and they referred me to the Congress after denying my request for a DOD IG investigation of AAFES and this $200 fine on the troops and their families. THIS IS NOT RIGHT!

Carol
Kansas City, Missouri
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/04/2006 01:07 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/AAFES-Army-Airforce-Exchange-Service/Dallas-Texas-75265-0059/AAFES-Army-Airforce-Exchange-StoresAAFES-Army-Airforce-Exchange-Service-ripoff-200-fine-f-189984. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

AAFES - Exchange is a thief all the way

AUTHOR: Ralph Baltimore MD - (USA)

I used to be an army man. While in service nainly in germany i had nothing but good things to say about AAFES!
Having said that the company went big BOO BOO or i just did not know any better!

now just recently i went to their site and stumbled on a few computers (laptops) while equipment was not bad at all, the pricing was horrendously wrong 15.6 - I-3 Acer going at n-e-w-e-g-g or a-m-a-z-o-n  online retilers for 350 - 425 $ aafes is asking 490 - 690 how is it they have the audacity to say that they have Proudly served America's finest for  .... so many years amazon or newegg selling for 350 - 425 are making money just fine and AAFES has to charge so much more to come clear. for crying out loud even  BEST BUY has them beat price wise!!

i wanted to leave a review on theis website and they never published any of them i gues because i said in every one of them that the price is outrageous -- they did not like that very much , but kind of shows you the business they do you can leave feedback of any kind on newegg or amazon they welcome all you can write that amazon SUCKS and it publishes emediately same @ other retailers!!! 

all of this barganing power they have and would bet money they use "serving Americas finest" on every purchase they make then turn around and violate the end consumer for what our dedicated service to this country!!!!!!!!

does anyone actually believe they sell cheaper items? they rip off customers and servicemen as well even more the ones going to combat leaving their families behind they turn to AAFES to be the good guy here but you get the .......... end of the stick with this company every day!!!

i could go on forever but you would get bored really fast if i did !! 
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#2 Consumer Comment

Wouldn't it be Easier Not to Shoplift?

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

It would seem that not shopping in the base exchange or post exchange and not be there to be accused would be easier...

I found they were a little pricey for me, even back in the day and carried junk that was dumped on us because it wouldn't have sold anywhere else...

AFEES used to mean Armed Forces Evaluation and Examination Service or maybe it was Station..it's been a long time.  A real long time.

It would never have occurred to me to steal in there! I was catching so much hell anyway that it would have probably been the last straw and I might have ended up in Leavenworth.
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#3 Author of original report

Agreed! AAFES Civil Recovery for Shoplifting is Abuse of Power!

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

I agree with all of your comments.  You demonstrated strength of character in refusing to pay the "fine" to the AAFES authorities those many years ago.   I agree with you that they had no authority under the law to assimilate regulatory law of the state of Washington but knew they could abuse their power and get away with it and few would be in the position to fight the demand or expose the illegal policy.

Now that the DOD has slipped an amendment into federal law that has resulted in policy to demand $200 from the sponsors for their own offense or the offense of their sponsored dependents, even children, while threatening to prosecute adults for completed larcenies in the federal magistrate courts,   few can fight back and when they do,  the great power of government is used to punish and intimidate them.  "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" and the checks and balances provided in our system of government have failed in this matter of the $200 fine for shoplifting that is in addition to an arrest/ticket and another fine and costs paid to the Federal Magistrate Courts.

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#4 Consumer Comment

My Civil Recovery Experience

AUTHOR: agedude - (United States of America)

I don't condone shoplifting and think offenders should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  I understand shoplifting is a huge problem in the exchange system and anything that can be done, should be done to stop and deter offenders.  With that said, I also believe the AAFES Civil Recovery Program is abusive and arbitrary.  The ability to collect a $200 fine for all incidents, no matter the mitigating circumstances nor the suspect's intent, removes due process and common sense for the sake of providing an additional revenue stream.  For our military families stationed overseas, AAFES truly is the "company store" providing the goods and services vital for these families to continue some semblance of an "American lifestyle".  As such, they are in an inordinate position of power and influence over the lives of overseas military families.  Lose your Exchange privileges in Fort Hood, Texas, you go to the local Wal-Mart.  Lose those privileges in Guam you are screwed.  Now give that entity power to illicit fines without having to examine the circumstances of the offense and you open the door for abuse.  Especially if you give them the power to collect the fines through payroll deduction while affecting the credit rating of the offending family. 

Some might say the fine and the process are fair, even if they are applied to the father or mother of a dependent child.  Parents are responsible for controlling their children.  If they can't control them, they should pay the price.  But what if their parent's job forces them to be away from their children for months or years at a time?  Should the parent still be held to the same standard of control?  How about compounding the situation with one or both parents being away from home at a location where they could quite possibly be killed?  Think that might have a affect on a 12 or 13 year old child?  Cause them to act out, misbehave or even steal?  This is why I have a problem with AAFES Civil Recovery.  They don't have to consider the circumstances and can quite possibly apply additional stressors to an already stressful lifestyle.  The mission statement of AFFES if "to serve the military family", blanket application of the $200 fine is simply self-serving.

I am unfamiliar with the current state of the AAFES Civil Recovery Program, but did have two experiences with the program while I was on active duty approximately 11 years ago (1999).  I was working late on base one night when I received a call from my crying wife.  Our 12-year-old daughter was being detained at the local BX for shoplifting "lip liner", an item costing $3.75.  I didn't allow my daughter to wear make-up to school, while unbeknown to me she was creating her own stash to put on once she arrived at school.
The local police were called, took her information, and she eventually attended a 4-hour diversion class at the local court.  Along with the civilian prosecution was a letter from the AAFES manager demanding $200 in civil recovery, and threatening loss of exchange privileges and collection from my commander if I did not pay.  Legal reference for this action was Washington State Law. 

I had been in the military over 20 years at the time of the incident, so was shocked AAFES was quoting state law as the precedent for this recovery.  I knew enough about AAFES to realize they were exempt from state law and treated as a state tax-free federal entity.  I immediately went to see the AAFES manager (who was fired six months later for stealing from his store) about the situation and was told their ability to collect had been granted by the base leadership.  Granted from the base leadership or not, I refused to pay because I knew the collection was B.S..  How could  AAFES charge me a fine without a trial or due process while stating an non-applicable state law.  I briefed my commander on the situation then talked to one of the lawyers on base.  The legal office lawyer was at first hesitant to answer my questions about my situation. He explained his office also represented AAFES in cases and wanted to avoid a conflict of interest.  He consulted with his boss the JAG and told me my stance was correct.  AAFES could not legally collect the money and had no power to withhold additional exchange privileges (other than those already granted against shoplifters by regulation) nor collect any money from my pay.  He told me the civil recovery action would need to be granted by a judge after a trial and it was wrong for AAFES to arbitrarily apply it, but base leadership granted them the privilege.  I called AFFES headquarters in Dallas and talked to their legal representative, an Army major.  I explained what the local exchange was doing and that all shoplifting offenders were being given the same letter demanding the $200 recovery without consideration to the circumstances, if the goods were recovered undamaged and returned to stock, nor the age of the offender.  She told me she was aware AAFES was attempting this recovery in states with similar laws as Washington but did not realize it was being applied uniformly in all circumstances.  About two weeks later I was accosted by the head of security while shopping at the local exchange.  For some reason she knew who I was and asked me if I was still refusing to pay the $200 penalty.  I told her I would not pay and never did.  I also discovered, about a month later, the local AAFES changed the wording of their civil recovery letter, removing the threats (lifetime loss of privileges/Commander collection) they could not enforce.  They also changed the flat $200 collection from all offenders and now used a graduated scale; $100 if the item stolen was less than $25 in value, $150 for less than $50 and $200 for item over $50.  My small victory.

I thought my dealings with AAFES security were over until about 6 months later.  I received a call from one of the people I supervised who was deployed to Saudi Arabia at the time. The person who called me was a high quality individual, very religious and very disciplined.  He told me his 16-year-old son had been detained at the local exchange for "stealing the centerfold picture out of a Playboy."  He knew of my situation with my daughter and asked if I could speak to his wife who was very upset about the whole matter.  She was not only embarrassed by the actions of her son and his arrest by civilian authorities, but had received a civil recovery letter asking to $100. I made an appointment with the base commander to discuss the situation. He was wholly unsympathetic, not caring the father was deployed nor the circumstances of the theft.  I made another appointment with the legal office where I talked to a Reservist lawyer.  I told her my previous situation and was going to suggest to the wife not to pay the fine.  I was then read the riot act by the young captain, who told me the local AAFES ability to fine had been approved by base leadership and who did I think I was for standing up to them.  I called the mother back and explained base leadership would not help.  I explained my situation and told her I never paid the fine.  Without the guidance of her husband, she didn't want any additional trouble or embarrassment so went ahead and paid AAFES.

I realize some reading this will think I am just whining and am lucky I didn't get in further difficulties for my obstinate stance. Keep in mind these incidents occurred before AAFES had legal authority to collect the fines, given to them in 2002.  They found a loophole in state law, convinced base leadership it was a good idea, and started collecting money by making false threats.  I always wondered how many of those $200 fines made their way into the pocket of the local manager who was later himself convicted of theft. 

Keep up the fight!!!  I'm hoping some legislator realizes Civil Recovery is and abusive practice and changes the law.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Emailed the Editor

AUTHOR: CM12306 - (United States of America)

Carol:
I have also emailed the editor requesting to be contacted by you. HOPEFULLY, they will forward my information to you and we can get in touch soon. There are too many issues to discuss openly right now.

Thank you for your support! My hometown is a northern suburb of Chicago and we are moving to Germany (God-willing) this July.

Blessings,
Carrie
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#6 Author of original report

Carrie! Discretion and Due Process

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Dear Carrie:  It would seem you are in the position to fight this charge which, apparently, could be dismissed by the Prosecutor because there is not enough evidence to warrant a prosecution but the charge  hasn't been dismissed!   The prosecutor,  in his discretion, could refuse to prosecute, as I understand your statement, but he hasn't dismissed this charge.     

Smells like politics of some kind is at work here.   I have been reading about Guam and the buildup of the 8000 families  and I also read the Lecture of Catherine Lutz, the Anthropologist.  I think we haven't learned anything from Rome!  I love my country and I think it is patriotic to criticize my country (the government) when I think they are wrong.   I am an activist in my old age!   I currently am fighting to get better regulation of franchising and I write under Carol Cross.  Google up "Carol Cross on Franchising" if you want to take a look.     

Guam, for me,  brought up memories of the Second World War (I am old enough to be your Grandmother).  My brother was a Marine Raider (trained by officers who were in  the Carlson Raiders) who was injured, I believe, in Tinian,  and this no doubt saved his life.   So many of the young men, right out of highschool,  who went into the Marines out of Chicago didn't return.  He is still alive today but has terrible memories of combat even today.  He is a hero with strong views and as with all combat veterans,  he really doesn't like to talk about it.     

In the years I accompanied  my husband, a RA Officer, we were never political or involved with politics as you know this is discouraged as we work for the Commander-in-Chief, whether he be Republican or Democrat.    We were strong duty, honor, country people.  We fly "Old Glory" with lights on it 24 hours a day.   My husband was in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam in combat theaters and we are old and have lived through so much history.  He recently was a guest of "The Honor Flight" and visited the Memorials.  

I have written to the Editor of Rip Off and have asked him if I can give him permission to give you my Email if you write to the Editor and ask for it.   Should be legal!  I know you are busy with your two babies and with this matter but take care of yourself and your family, first,  and remember that it can be dangerous to fight the great power of government -- but not quite so dangerous if you do it out in public on the Internet on "free speech" sites like the Rip Off Bad Business Bureau Site.   

Hopefully,  I'll get a response from the Editor soon and we can talk!    

 

 

 

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#7 Consumer Comment

Thanx Carol

AUTHOR: CM12306 - (United States of America)

Carol:

Thank you for writing! I have spent days reading and making notes from all your previous posts!  It has been very encouraging and I am looking at the BIG picture from all of this and practically thinking over ways in which to best take action.  Is it possible to contact you via email? or is our only channel through Ripoff report?  Strategically I would like to discuss with you the Congressman/women whom I plan to write in the next day or so and some of the "other issues" surrounding my case. 

My husband is currently the ADC (area defense attorney) on base and two years ago when he worked in prosecution (he actually ran this program for base) he dismissed outright similar cases b/c he felt they lacked evidence and basically gave people the benefit of the doubt not to mention that he did not want them to go through this process.  Knowing that, we have been given NO special treatment and quite the opposite which I would like to go into detail my privately. 

Let me know if it is possible to contact outside this channel.

There is NO way that I am taking a plea bargain, I am drafting my letter to AAFES GM today refusing to pay the $200 out of principle, and have other resources in Guam since I work for the Supreme Court and have assisted the US Attorney in many capacities.  Not sure if you have been on YouTube lately, but Guam has been pretty "famous" for it's potential capsizing with the military build up looming in the future.  There is a bit of animosity between the military and the local community with the Marines from Japan coming in the following years.  I think this issue would cause a "stir" if we chose to get the media involved.  Also, our Guam Congresswoman is Madeline Bordallo  who sits on the House Armed Force committee on military personnel. I am going to contact her today. 

This all happened for a reason I plan to not give up!  Want to help?       :)

Again, let me know if/how I can contact you.
THANKS,
Carrie
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#8 Consumer Comment

Thanks Carol

AUTHOR: CM12306 - (United States of America)

Carol:

Thank you for writing! I have spent days reading and making notes from all your previous posts!  It has been very encouraging and I am looking at the BIG picture from all of this and practically thinking over ways in which to best take action.  Is it possible to contact you via email? or is our only channel through Ripoff report?  Strategically I would like to discuss with you the Congressman/women whom I plan to write in the next day or so and some of the "other issues" surrounding my case. 

My husband is currently the ADC (area defense attorney) on base and two years ago when he worked in prosecution (he actually ran this program for base) he dismissed outright similar cases b/c he felt they lacked evidence and basically gave people the benefit of the doubt not to mention that he did not want them to go through this process.  Knowing that, we have been given NO special treatment and quite the opposite which I would like to go into detail my privately. 

Let me know if it is possible to contact outside this channel.

There is NO way that I am taking a plea bargain, I am drafting my letter to AAFES GM today refusing to pay the $200 out of principle, and have other resources in Guam since I work for the Supreme Court and have assisted the US Attorney in many capacities.  Not sure if you have been on YouTube lately, but Guam has been pretty "famous" for it's potential capsizing with the military build up looming in the future.  There is a bit of animosity between the military and the local community with the Marines from Japan coming in the following years.  I think this issue would cause a "stir" if we chose to get the media involved.  Also, our Guam Congresswoman is Madeline Bordallo  who sits on the House Armed Force committee on military personnel. I am going to contact her today. 

This all happened for a reason I plan to not give up!  Want to help?       :)

Again, let me know if/how I can contact you.
THANKS,
Carrie
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#9 Author of original report

Justice for All

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Dear Carrie,

 

Thanks for your kind comments.   Im sorry you have this trouble.   As a very old Army wife,  I remember how difficult it was to shop with the  the children when Daddy was gone and I remember  the terrible twos  that all three of mine often made terrible for me.  Such disgusting treatment of the families of our armed forces and of our active duty personnel who are treated as a criminal class in their own retail stores ---and, of course, it is all about money for the special interests,  i.e. the security contractors who provide security on the bases and the collection agencies who letter demand the civil recoveries and for the fees for the local bar.   In the civilian communities,  the little and big towns and cities across the country,  it is a primary source of revenue and of course in the government stores,  it is a source of revenue for the stores, as well. 

 

I hope your attorney can get these charges dismissed but if they have a system in place there in Guam and are arresting military personnel and dependents routinely  and sending them to the courts on base traffic tickets,   it may be that they will force you to defend against the charge of larceny in the court if you wont plead guilty and accept a plea bargain and probation.     How disgusting that the BX security didnt just remind you about the items on the bottom of your shopping cart and, instead, allowed you to walk through checkout so that they could accuse you of stealing and implement a demand for $200.00.  They were probably watching you on secret surveillance video and hoping that you would not pay for these items on the bottom.   Security personnel no longer try to stop what looks like attempted theft or mistake and inadvertence because,  of course,  they want that $200.   They have to develop probable cause and intent to ticket for completed larcenies and dont try to prevent shoplifting or inadvertence within the stores and wont accept payment for the merchandise when they permit you to exit without making payment for merchandise.      (There is a story on a site called The Injustice Line that can be found in a Google Search.  The title of the story is Women Wrongly Arrested for Shoplifting in Washington State.  This is the sad  story of a young Mother and her children and a stroller that indicates how Mothers are targeted by security and how much pain this family suffered when the Courts were closed to any defense against her inadvertent act)   These cases are kept away from juries.   I cant imagine that a jury of your peers would ever find you guilty of anything whatsoever but I am sure that they will do everything in their power to keep your case from going before a jury.   

 

But!  Remember!  This scheme was put in place and approved at the highest levels of government.  All three branches of government cooperated to make the policy of civil recovery possible in government retail stores.   Overall, in the civilian and government stores, it involves billions of dollars.  .    The DOD cant get the Congress to amend Treasury Law unless the Secretary of the Treasury agrees.  While this amendment was slipped into law in the aftermath of the crisis of 9-11 in the Defense Appropriations Bill,  it was being worked out behind the scenes for many years.   The DOD didnt push this until all 50 States (over 20 to 25 years)  had put some kind of civil recovery tort law in place and the DOD  knew the courts would protect the policy of the DOD.if it was never codified under law.   Who would test it in the courts?     A Federal Magistrate Judge in Maryland made case law soon after the policy was adopted by the DOD indicating and justifying  that a civilian arrested/ticketed in a PX who had already paid $200.00 in an Administrative Fee to the PX  could also be tried and found guilty of shoplifting/larceny and would also have to make restitution to the PX for the cost of the item!  He found that this wasnt double jeopardy.  .  .   A few of the State high courts decided that a person who had paid $200 under State tort laws to a merchant  could then not be charged criminally and prosecuted  for the same offense.  The Federal Magistrate Courts would understand the new DOD  policy that would put active duty personnel before the Magistrate Courts,  wouldnt they?  

 

.Maybe,  because I felt guilty that I didnt do more to stop or expose Civil Recovery for Shoplifting and tickets for stealing  in my State back in the 1980s,   I felt compelled to try to at least stop them from doing this to Armed Forces Personnel and their families.   I was shocked and hurt when the DOD did this to the troops!  


 I did everything. I could over many years to try to get someone interesting in correcting this very ugly policy.    I wrote to the IGs  and E-mailed back and forth with the Pentagon and telephoned and Emailed the Congressional Committee who planted the amendment in  Treasury Law in the Defense Appropriations Bill.  I Emailed both the Senate and the House Judicial Committees.  I copied Senator Patrick Leahy many times.   I finally wrote to the Presidents Integrity Committee that is headed by a high ranking FBI official.   I did get a response from them in which they said they sent the matter back to the DOD IG, (The IG resigned early to go to work for a large Security firm in the private sector)   and then I was advised by the officer in charge of the Hot Line for DOD that only the Congress could do anything and the matter was closed.    In conclusion I wrote to Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day  OConnor, whom Ive always admired,  to tell her how disappointed I was that she wrote the opinion that would keep a human being in prison for life for the attempted theft that was treated as a completed larceny, i.e. the apprehended shoplifting,of childrens videos that was counted as a third strike under California Law even though the videos were surrendered in salable condition and returned to stock to be sold.   (The police take photos of the so-called stolen merchandise to use as evidence in the courts to eliminate the problems of storage in evidence rooms)  

 

  I never understood why The Supreme Court agreed to hear the Andrade case   (and then would  reverse the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals)  because the case  only involved two  third-strikers where shoplifting was counted toward the third strike,  and the decision of the 9th did not  strike  down the California three strikes law.   It bothered me that the decision of the  Supreme Court did ultimately (if inadvertently)  establish that apprehended shoplifting was the completed crime of petit or felony  larceny and thus they  protected all of  the Civil Recovery Tort Laws of the 50 states  and the new policy of the Department of Defense.   It did bother me that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the California case the month after the DOD implemented Civil Recovery Policy with Press Releases in the informal media throughout the Armed Forces,  and while there was a big ruckus and constant publicity  about the Winona Ryder shoplifting case in California.      Active duty personnel would now certainly better understand and accept that they were fortunate  to be able to pay $200 to the Exchange Stores and that the record of their offense would not be on their military records and only in the records of the Court?   They would understand that they were responsible, as the sponsors, to pay this $200 when a sponsored dependent was accused of stealing from the Exchange Store, ticketed on a base traffic ticket, and sent to the Federal Magistrate Court?  Or when their children 10 and older were allowed to pass checkouts to the outside without being asked for payment for items that they knew were in their possession so that they could demand $200 from the sponsoring parent.   

 

 It did bother me that life in prison (constructively)  for a non-violent attempt to steal childrens videos from Kmart  that was counted as a third strike was not found to be unconstitutional  -- cruel and unusual punishment -- by the United States Supreme Court (5-4 and always political).  

 

 I thought the Winona Ryder jury  trial for shoplifting in the California Court that was on the front pages and in the news for the entire  year that The Supreme Court had the California Cruel and Unusual Punishment Case and Shoplifting strike in the Court was expedient or providential because this highly publicized case  sent  a message to the American people  that made the final  decision of the Supreme  Court in the California case  politically palatable to the masses.  The masses would understand and would accept that apprehended  shoplifting was a crime against the people.   If Winona Ryder,  with all of her talent and  beauty,  fame and money,  was convicted by a jury of her peers  for felony larceny and vandalism and punished for her crime against the people and Saks, even though she offered to pay for the so-called stolen merchandise,   millions of people across the United States felt very lucky that they only paid a Civil Recovery Fine to the Retailer and hadnt been charged with a crime.  Thousands of others felt lucky that their felony was reduced to a misdemeanor.   Thousands of others felt lucky that they lived in States where only a Civil Recovery Demand is made for a first offense.    And any Americans,  of course, in the future,  who would be accused of shoplifting  would be happy to pay these civil demands  and plea bargain with the lower courts when they found out there was no defense to a ticket for stealing in the lower courts, and they remembered what happened to Winona Ryder.    ( Of course, the matter of Civil Recovery for shoplifting  which is BIG  business  in California was never brought out in the jury trial of Winona Ryder because her attorney and the prosecutor asked the Judge to seal t the Civil Recovery papers she signed BEFORE  she was arrested and charged with a crime against the people.  Saks did not have to join the prosecution and the complaint because she was arrested and prosecuted  on the word of a security officer who was granted certain powers of arrest by the City of Los Angeles  and who was acting in his/her agency with the City Police Authority, and not in his/her agency as an employee of Saks.  

 

You could write to Mrs. Obama who is an attorney and a Mother and who seems sincerely interested in the welfare of the families of the troops.   I have thought of doing this myself but maybe this would be unfair to her and to our President who has so much to worry about  -- that is, if my letter would actually reach her.  The President inherited a lot of problems and  bad laws that work against the people and has already issued an Executive Order to look at some of them.   He is not popular with the big money interests in the country who were behind this DOD policy.   

 

Good luck to you!   Let me know how things work out but be careful to take care of yourself and do anything you have to do to get this charge dismissed.  It could hurt you when you pass the Bar and apply for a license to practice law.     Dont pay the $200 except under protest,  in consultation with your attorney,  who will know whether or not the lower  court there in Guam  finds all defendants guilty in the technical sense if they pass final checkouts without paying for merchandise and whether or not you will have the right to a trial de nova if found guilty by the lower court.   Remember! ,  of course,  IF under US law you can still  ask for a trial de nova (expensive)  remember,   THEN, that this trial  can be dismissed out of court (without prejudice)  on a technicality if they think  the jury will  find you not guilty.  You couldnt sue the BX, of course, for false arrest and prosecution, could you?  You may have to settle for a kind of procedural justice  as substituted for due process of law.  

 

 If I dont here anything from you,   Ill know everything worked out and the charge was dismissed.   Dont let it break your heart if you get a cool reception from those in the Congress whom you talk to in July and from the media who knows all of this but who cooperate with the authorities (so they say) and dont talk about these matters  so as not to give any aid and comfort to t he criminal element.  Its about money not justice! and isnt personal!      

 

Carol

 

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#10 Consumer Comment

Carol PLEASE contact me!

AUTHOR: CM12306 - (United States of America)

Carol:
I am very impressed with your research and investigation regarding this issue.  About 3 weeks ago, I was arrested at the BX for "alleged" shoplifting.  I was with my 2 year old and 8 month old. As any mother of two knows, shopping is VERY stressful and my 2 year old typically throws things and demands candy from the check-out isle. Once she broke the pad where you sign your name!  I was flustered and simply forgot to pay for three items in the bottom of the cart.  I had no intent to shoplift and have since hired a local attorney. We will litigate this till the charges are dismissed.  I can not have this on my record: 1) b/c I am innocent and 2) b/c I graduated from law school but followed my husband to his first assignment and have not sat for MY bar exam.

 I never left the BX "mall." I simply walked past the last register and through the security towers before being apprehended.  SO of course I have been issued the civil recovery demand letter which I totally agree with your points as being unconstitutional and quite frankly I would LOVE to purse this in Congress. 

Basically, I am wondering where you left off. How far did you take this issue. Have you made any contacts at Congress or the House?  I plan to be in DC this July and will make the contacts to bring awareness to this issue.  This whole process is unjust.  When did we get away from innocent until proven guilty?  I want to raise this issue with the media and everyone until someone takes notice and does something.  It saddens me that so many have been bullied into simply paying this money when I believe and agree with you that the LP agents have all the incentive to simply arrest rather and recover 200 fines whereby they get arrest numbers and AAFES receives money in "sales." I have yet to see any fines actually go back into prevention measures.

Oh and by the way the barment on this base is 2 years!  How is that for deterrent measures.  I have two babies, my husband is TDY monthly (he leaves this week for 2 weeks) and we are not stateside! 

I would love your thoughts.  Please email me at: (((Redacted)))

Thank you for all your hard work! You have inspired me and saved me tons of hours researching!
Blessings~ Carrie - Guam


CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#11 Consumer Comment

Threatened with criminal charges/fines... DUH!

AUTHOR: Bnefriends - (United States of America)

Shoplifting is a crime; if you are caught shoplifting at a civilian Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Toys R Us, etc, they'll call the cops. I would expect the same at a NEX, PX, BX, MCX, CGX, etc. Think it should be different because it's run by the government? Try stealing several books of stamps from a civilian post office. You'll not only have the cops after you, but the United States Postal Inspection Service!
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#12 General Comment

Seriously.

AUTHOR: Cour_Sco1990 - (USA)

Here is an idea.

Just pay for whatever you want from the store and you won't have to worry about any silly fines or "secret police" apprehending you.

What a waste of text.
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#13 Author of original report

Troops Pay two penalties to Federal Government

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks to  Alvis and Alison for thinking about this and reacting.  Military personnel and their dependents WILL incur a record/probation  in the Federal Magistrate Courts -- Where do you think the "shoplifting incident" of the  General who was involved in the torture incident in Iraq was found?  

Of course,  people shouldn't steal and should follow the advice of The Ten Commandants but is "shoplifting" really the "completed" crime of "stealing"  (larceny) when the shoplifter is apprehended and peacefully surrenders the merchandise with an offer to pay?  Should these suspects then  NOT be allowed to pay for the merchandise and then be ticketed and charged with "stealing" (larceny) in the Federal Magistrate Courts as well as being subject to a separate $200 demand from the Manager of the government store.   The costs of defending themselves or pleading guilty in the Magistrate Courts as well as paying the Administrative fee of $200 will be overwhelming to some military personnel in the lower grades.  

The uniformed sponsor is made responsible for the payment of the $200 on behalf of his/her dependent to the government store while at the same time the dependent  who is charged with "stealing" on a base traffic ticket will face  a hearing in The Federal Magistrate Court where the defendant will plead probably plead guilty and be put on probation.  The active-duty sponsor,  when the suspect,  can also be sent to the Federal Magistrate Court when the base traffic ticket is written,  but the government has the option to charge the active-duty person under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,  if they so desire.   If they do this,  however,  I don't believe that the Active Duty Sponsor can be forced to pay the $200.00 to the government store.     

Obviously,  this will be a deterrent to any second attempt to steal from the government store but doesn't the government owe a warning to the troops and their dependents about the criminal and the civil consequences about of not paying for items before passing final checkout points?  Wouldn't this warning deter many first attempts to steal?                

The law is all about our obligations to each other.  Merchants who sell merchandise for profits used to have an obligation to PROTECT their merchandise and to get it paid for,  to the best of their ability,    and merchants  used to  responsible for any charges that were pressed against suspected shoplifters,  until the concept of "civil recovery for shoplifting" was invented.   Civil recovery,  of course,  won't work unless there is a threat of criminal prosecution for "stealing" (a completed larceny) and not merely the threat of "the attempt to steal" under an ordinance, or an administrative rule because the government can prosecute the "crime" on behalf of the people and the victim (the Corporation who so often who owns the store) doesn't have to join the complaint.  The DOD just copied the scheme as practiced in the civilian economy with adjustments as necessary.         

Alvis!  Try to understand that the millions of dollars that the retailers report as stolen by shoplifters have usually been recovered because the merchandise recovered from aprehended shoplifters is returned to stock and sold to others  --but  the millions of dollars that they "extort" from suspects as "civil recovery" out of view of the courts are perhaps not reported to anyone -- maybe not even the IRS when they write these cash recoveries off  as expenses for security personnel and attorneys,  as allowed under some State laws.   

The rule of law is meant to protect the people -- all of the people -- and not supposed to be used to provide unjust enrichment to those who have the influence to write the laws.    

Those who are in the Armed Services often lose their lives to protect the Constitution and the Rule of Law and this is why this "shoplifting of the rule of law" by the Congress and the DOD that has enriched the security corporations and the collection agencies is so egregious and disturbing to ME.     

The government could rebut these allegations about the $200 RipOff of the troops that  has been on the Internet now for many years if they are not the TRUTH but they do not  OR they could threaten to sue the owner of the Ripoff Report Site if he doesn't remove these comments,  but apparently they haven't done this either.  Think about this!

Apparently,  the Congress and the Executive  depend on good citizens like you two to support this ugly policy and are so secure in their great ability  to educate the masses as to the good policies and rules and regulations that serve the public good that they feel they can safely ignore these comments.    My country 'tis of thee -----!                     

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#14 Consumer Suggestion

Are you kidding me?

AUTHOR: Alison Cbar - (United States of America)

Is this a joke? You are reporting someone for imposing penalities for STEALING? First of all, I dont care how little anyone in the military makes, they shouldn't be STEALING! I'm in the military, and I think that it's justifiable to impose a wee 200$ fine for stealing, it's a lot better than the alternative of getting jailed with a criminal record! I'd much rather pay 200 than that. Thievary in the military is rampant and needs to be stopped, especially from businesses ON post, thats ridiculous. I cant believe that you think it's okay to steal just b/c they make money, it's STEALING. What kind of person are you with such lack of morales?????? If you can't afford the 200$ then DONT steal!!!!!!!!! I'm in such shock of the stupidity of this report.
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#15 Consumer Suggestion

A Great Rule of Thumb

AUTHOR: ElvisR - (United States of America)

What you are suggesting is well written, but preposterous. Do you know what retailers lose every year due to shoplifting? Do you know who those losses affect the most? Me! And the people like me that shop these places and for some strange reason, opt to pay for our merchandise.  Because of some selfish turd, consumers are forced to pay more for higher mark-ups because retailers had to institute expense loss prevention measures, which are by no mean a short order.

If AAFES offers $200 as an alternate to criminal prosecution, I think that is a great way to pay into the system the alleged shoplifter pilfered from. Pursuing prosecutions are not cheap. And if this deters shoplifting, then that's a bonus.

There are many valid complaints against AAFES, but this is not one.
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#16 Author of original report

Retailers should have a duty of "due diligence and care" to prevent shoplifting

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks for your comments ---Target LP person!

You missed the point that Armed Forces Personel and their adult family members and children as young as 10 years are permitted to pass final checkout points without being asked for payment for merchandise for the purpose of ticketing the adults for "larceny" and sending them to the federal magistrate courts to plead to a charge of larceny AND to enable the AAFES Manager to request $200.00 from these suspects. They pay two "fines" to the federal government for the same event.

I'm not clear on Target's policy ------could you clarify this for me?

Shoplifting and Civil Recovery Laws ----I believe the origin of Civil Recovery Laws can be found in the United States when sometime in the late 70's the first Civil Recovery Statute was passed by a State Legislature in the United States. The Retail Lobby in the US then lobbied all of the States for Civil Recovery Statutes when the first State Statute appeared to be so successful and was not struck down in the Courts. Eventually, and by 2001, all of the States of the United States had passed Civil Recovery Statutes for the retailers and shoplifting was treated as the "crime" of larceny in the City Courts. Common law is often developed by the Corporate interests and not by the common man.

Prior to Civil Recovery Laws, first-offense shoplifting, if prosecuted at all, was generally prosecuted as an attempt to steal under City or Town Ordinances and the owner of the merchandise or his official agent had to initiate and stand by the complaint in the City Courts. First Offense shoplifting was the inchoate crime of larceny, an attempt to steal that the owner of the merchandise had the obligation to stop under the law, and that the owner of the merchandise had the obligation to prosecute under the law.

First offense shoplifting was generally NEVER prosecuted and retailers generally accepted payment for the merchandise after the suspect was detained and interviewed by the retailer's employees, etc... It was not cost effective for retailers to prosecute "first offenders" because if they had generally suffered no actual loss, it was more cost effective to take payment for the merchandise and WARN the first offender that they would prosecute if it happened again, etc... If prosecutions failed in the courts, lawsuits for "false arrest" and "malicious prosecution" were very costly for retailers.

To prosecute shoplifting as a completed larceny and to rationalize
civil recovery statutes, it was necessary for the City Police Authorities to grant limited powers of arrest/detainment outside of final checkout points in retail establishments to privately licenced SECRET Loss Prevention Personnel who would arrest in their agency of city-licensed security police and NOT in their agency as an employee of the retail establishment. City licensed retail security personnel have the full discretion to initiate civil recover demands and to initiate city arrests/tickets for larceny shoplifting, or to initiate only Civil Recovery, depending upon the policies of the retailer and the City. The city becomes responsible for both the arrest/detention/ticketing and the disposition of the matter in the city court.

There have been few prosecutions, if any, under the Civil Recovery Statutes because, of course, the threat of criminal prosecution acts as a fulcrum to produce payment of these demands made outside of the Courts. If the retailers used their city-licensed security personnel to initiate actual lawsuits in the civil courts to collect the statutory damages, they would have to join the lawsuits. The demand letters out of view of the courts and the threat of prosecution of the matter in the civil courts, together with the possibility of criminal prosecution for larceny, does generally produce a prompt response from the suspected shoplifter or his family.

The bigger issues are: Have the retailers and their licensed police agents been given the incentive to arrest for profit? Would the posting of prominent notice of the STATE civil recovery statute and the STATE criminal Law governing shoplifting prevent many first attempts to shoplift? If shoplifters knew that there were secret cameras and secret surveillance and that they would not be stopped when they made the first covert attempt to steal, would they make the attempt? Is this legalized extortion on behalf of subsidizing the nation's retailers? Do city licensed secret LP police have no duty to prevent the "crime" of larceny by stopping attempts within the stores when they witness the first covert act of the attempt within the stores? Is this subsidy of the retailers killing shoplifters outside of retail establishments in our country because licensed retail security personnel have been given the power of arrest and detainment OUTSIDE on the sidewalkd and the parking lots of the nation's retail stores?
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#17 Consumer Comment

Shoplifting in the civilian world

AUTHOR: Ted - (U.S.A.)

I found this whole conversation to be fairly interesting.

Having worked as an LPO at Target let me tell you how things usually worked in the civilian world.

When we saw someone shoplift, whether on camera, in view, or by setting off the alarm as they headed for the door, we would track their movements and keep an eye on them, and not attempt to warn them at all that we were onto them. This is not entrapment at all -- and neither are police "sting" investigations where an undercover officer will approach a suspect and attempt to buy drugs or solicit prostitution. In all of these cases the officer has not in any way persuaded the suspect to commit a crime. The rules for these operations make it very hard on the officer as there is a big difference between going up to a suspect and saying "Hey want to make some quick cash?" and "How much for the night?" The first is entrapment, because theres no proof that the suspect is a prostitute, while the second is not, because the acceptance of the question shows intent to commit. Similarily, it is not the LPO's job to tell the suspect that he or she is shoplifting, it is the suspect's job to know that shoplifting is illegal. Many stores go so far as to put up signs saying there is CCTV equipment in use and that shoplifters will be prosecuted.


You also gripe about the $200 fine that is imposed. On the few times we had a shoplifter actually prosecuted, we would ask for, and usually be granted, $500 in punitive damages. This amount would be added to the value of the items that were actually taken. By doing so, we recoup some of the expense caused by all the times we DIDN'T catch that shoplifter, other shoplifters, and the personnel hired to catch those shoplifters. This is allowed under California law, and I'm fairly sure other states have similar rules.

Now maybe at your base they don't do this, but here when someone is detained for shoplifting, we have to give them the complete benefit of the doubt. If they have enough money to pay for the items that they took, they are rung up and paid for with absolutely no further recourse on Target's part. I have seen people walk out with small televisions and head home with it because they "forgot they had it", get caught and pay the regular price.

From what I read on here, it seems to me that a $200 fine is laughable - that's less than the minimum speeding or red light ticket, and for a far worse crime in my book.
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#18 Author of original report

$200 is just the beginning of the Rip-Off

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thank you for your response! But, you have some of your facts wrong. The $200 AAFES Administrative Fee is considered a "debt" owed to the government under the POLICY (not the law) of the AAFES/BX system who are part of the Department of Defense and subject to their supervision and control.

The $200 fine is NOT ordered in restitution at any criminal trial of the matter in the courts. It is true that case law has been made that the federal courts can order restitution in a trial for petty or grand larceny, etc... but the CIVIL administrative fee, for which there is no due process of law vehicle or tort law, or UMCJ law. is entirely separate from the criminal prosecution.

Two State Appeals Courts have ruled that accused shoplifters who have paid civil recovery damages under state statutes then cannot be prosecuted for larceny on the grounds that it violates double jeopardy protections. But, a federal judge of a federal magistrate Court in Maryland has made law that protects the DOD's civil recovery scheme.

I think you KNOW that most suspects surrender the merchandise and offer payment even before the MP's arrive but this is not possible under AAFES policy because it is the intent of AAFES to initiate an arrest after SECURITY PERMITS the suspects to exit to the outside. There is NO discretion of AAFES MANAGEMENT and there are no Miranda Warnings to those who are detained outside by AAFES Security who may be licensed employees of Contract Security Corporations and not direct AAFES employees.

I am not privy to what the government does with first offenders in the federal courts and the government apparently doesn't feel like they have to explain this on the RIP OFF Site but it may be that different federal magistrate courts have different rules for first offenders and different fines and different probation costs, etc..

The $200 is just the beginning because the active duty person is not provided counsel as would be true if they are charged under the UCMJ. After the cost of an attorney and the fine or probation costs in the federal magistrate court, the costs can be very high. I have read where probation costs for military personnel are often based on pay and grade and can be many thousands of dollars.

The ugly policy of extracting $200 from the parents of children who are permitted to conceal things in the government stores and ALLOWED to depart without paying should be stopped. Maybe the next Congress of the US will take a look at this ugly policy that was enabled when an amendment to Treasury Law was slipped into law in the National Defense Bill of 2001 and, perhaps, never even looked at by the Congress at Large because of the trouble of September
11th.

The additional RIP-OFF of the due process rights of military personnel and their families should be of great concern to all who believe in democracy and liberty and justice for all.
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#19 Consumer Comment

$200 is uncommon usually its higher

AUTHOR: Josh - (U.S.A.)

Yes AAFES security people work for AAFES, not the police. If they suspect you of shoplifting they can detain you, but not by force, until the police are called. They can ask you to hand over the items but they can not search you. They will place you in an empty tv monitored and recorded room and call the police. When the police arrive they will review the evidence, tape of the alleged incident. If the officer believes that probable cause that you shoplifted exists the officer will go in the room and arrest you at which time a search incident to apprehension will occur. If the items are found on you your boat is sank. AAFES then says that the money they are out is the cost of the product, and a $200 fee to cover the costs associated with your prosecution. It is uasually awarded to the business by the judge as restitution, and $200 is cheap. Do that anywhere else and you might get a $2000 fee for the cost of the business to prosecute you. I see no problem with the fee. If you have a problem with the fee avoid it by not stealing stuff. I do however agree that AAFES overreacts by charging an 6 year old with shoplifting for picking something up off the shelf by the door to show to their mom and because it crossed the threshold of the door its shoplifting. Technically by the letter of the law they are right it is shoplifting and unfortunately the police can not make them take the item back or let the parent pay for it. We can, and do in some cases, do the report, send it to the DA (District Attorney), and request that the DA refuse to prosecute, however this is just a request. If the DA honors the request the AAFES eats the cost of the item plus the $200.
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#20 Author of original report

Due Diligence and the Rule of Law

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

If notice of the $200 Fine and the criminal sanction, and the secret cameras and devices in the merchandise were posted and if the undercover LP police wore uniforms and badges and if potential firsttime shoplifters were aware of the consequences of an attempt to steal, many of them would not make the first attempt. While shoplifters may be sneaky and lacking in character, they are not generally stupid and the class of military personnel and their families who shop in government stores are not considered by government to be a criminal class of individuals. Why should Military Personnel be treated more harshly by government that their civilian counterparts in the private economy where, so often, only a civil recovery is initiated for a first offense attempt to steal?

It is in the failure of the government exchange stores to post notice and to encourage first attempts to shoplift that their motive is exposed. It is the $200 Demand for the government stores and the fines for the Federal Magistrate Court that has priority with the government and this is why they took the offense of shoplifting out from under the purview of the UCMJ to make first offender active duty military personnel responsible for both the $200 Fee to the government exchange stores and/or commissaries as well as premeditated fines and probation fees for the Federal Magistrate Courts who would accept plea bargains for the offense of larceny from military personnel and/or their dependents sent to them on base traffic tickets.

The great power of the government is brought to bear against "shoplifters" who will be threatened with criminal prosection in the federal courts for the crime of larceny at the same time the government exchange stores are demanding that the suspects remit $200 to the Exchange Managers. The due process rights of military personnel are being manipulated by the government they serve.

It is bad policy to demand $200 from a troop while threatening to prosecute his dependent (the accused shoplifter) in the Federal Magistrate Court for the crime of larceny, especially if that troop is deployed in the defense of his country and its foreign policy. (Let's hope that DOD is not doing this ---but this was the original plan)

While the shopper has the duty and the obligation under the law to pay for the merchandise at final checkout, the retailer has the duty and the obligation under law to protect the merchandise offered for sale and to use all available means to compel shoppers to pay for the merchandise offered for sale.

When government and retailers can initiate arrests for profit, under the guise that they are teaching first offenders a lesson they won't forget and deterring second asttempts by not stopping attempts within the stores, this cannot be defended in free societies and under our Constitution.

Htsam must be a security guard who has to stoop to personal attacks to defend his position but as I have said before, it is not the undercover security who are in any way to blame; it is not the base MP's; it is the policy that was adopted at very high levels of government that should be rejected by The Congress of the United States and our Courts.

We are not a Police State. The wholesale use of secret police with government authorized powers of arrest in the retail stores of our country that is supported by government is the first step toward the police state.

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#21 Consumer Comment

No Carol...

AUTHOR: Striderq - (U.S.A.)

It's their parent(s) responsibility to teach them right from wrong. Purchasing an item is right, stealing an item is wrong. The store is under no obligation in any way to teach morality to anyone. Again the parents are responsible for this. In your way of thinking I guess it would come down to the store operator (in the case the government) to educate everyone as to the aspects of proper living and what is right and wrong. Well, guess what? That is not the job of the government or any store. And personally I don't want the government or any store doing that job.
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#22 Consumer Comment

I noticed...

AUTHOR: Hdsam - (U.S.A.)

you've chosen not to address any of my points. Silence is consent.

Entrapment?

In Sorrells vs. United States the case in which the court first recognize entrapment as a defense, the majority reasoned that it was contrary to established principles of law to punish a man for a commission of an offense the like of which he had never been guilty, either in thought or deed, and evidently never would have been guilty of if the officers of the law had not lured him to commit it.*

I guess AAFES, by displaying merchandise, is crying "steal, steal, steal". Your argument is laughable and sounds like a punchline to a bad joke.

* Entrapment and due process, moving towards a dual system of defenses. By Kenneth M. Lord

It's been over six months, are your shopping privileges re-instated?
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#23 Consumer Comment

I noticed...

AUTHOR: Hdsam - (U.S.A.)

you've chosen not to address any of my points. Silence is consent.

Entrapment?

In Sorrells vs. United States the case in which the court first recognize entrapment as a defense, the majority reasoned that it was contrary to established principles of law to punish a man for a commission of an offense the like of which he had never been guilty, either in thought or deed, and evidently never would have been guilty of if the officers of the law had not lured him to commit it.*

I guess AAFES, by displaying merchandise, is crying "steal, steal, steal". Your argument is laughable and sounds like a punchline to a bad joke.

* Entrapment and due process, moving towards a dual system of defenses. By Kenneth M. Lord

It's been over six months, are your shopping privileges re-instated?
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#24 Consumer Comment

I noticed...

AUTHOR: Hdsam - (U.S.A.)

you've chosen not to address any of my points. Silence is consent.

Entrapment?

In Sorrells vs. United States the case in which the court first recognize entrapment as a defense, the majority reasoned that it was contrary to established principles of law to punish a man for a commission of an offense the like of which he had never been guilty, either in thought or deed, and evidently never would have been guilty of if the officers of the law had not lured him to commit it.*

I guess AAFES, by displaying merchandise, is crying "steal, steal, steal". Your argument is laughable and sounds like a punchline to a bad joke.

* Entrapment and due process, moving towards a dual system of defenses. By Kenneth M. Lord

It's been over six months, are your shopping privileges re-instated?
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#25 Consumer Comment

I noticed...

AUTHOR: Hdsam - (U.S.A.)

you've chosen not to address any of my points. Silence is consent.

Entrapment?

In Sorrells vs. United States the case in which the court first recognize entrapment as a defense, the majority reasoned that it was contrary to established principles of law to punish a man for a commission of an offense the like of which he had never been guilty, either in thought or deed, and evidently never would have been guilty of if the officers of the law had not lured him to commit it.*

I guess AAFES, by displaying merchandise, is crying "steal, steal, steal". Your argument is laughable and sounds like a punchline to a bad joke.

* Entrapment and due process, moving towards a dual system of defenses. By Kenneth M. Lord

It's been over six months, are your shopping privileges re-instated?
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#26 Author of original report

NO NOTICE OF CONSEQUENCES -- NO NOTICE OF IMPENDING ARREST/CHARGES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

It is because opportunistic shoplifters reason that they will be warned or stopped when they commit the first covert act within the store if they have been seen or observed that they complete the act by exiting the store checkouts or premises without paying for merchandise, and without being asked to pay for the merchandise. And, then! In premeditation by management and the secret undercover police, they are arrested or ticketed for completed larcenies because they have demonstrated criminal intent and the undercover LP Retail Employees are able to initiate probable cause arrests or tickets with the base Miklitary Police who refer the charged event of larceny shoplifting to the Federal Magistrate Courts.

Even the active duty Military are ticketed and are required to defend against a charge of "larceny" or negotiate a plea bargain with the Federal Magistrate Courts to make them eligible to pay the $200 to the AAFES store. Unlike charges under the UCMJ, active duty military personnel are not given assistance of counsel when sent to the Federal Magistrate Courts and must pay for counsel to assist and defend or plea bargain against the charge of larceny.

The active duty military and their dependents, as the case may be, are not warned that they have a right to be silent and that they are going to be ticketed or arrested by the base military police when they are approached by undercover LP police outside of exchange premises. Often, they volunteer excuses and make voluntary incriminating statements to the undercover LP personnel that can be used against them in our courts because they have voluntered the statements. LP undercover police are instructed NOT to ask questions or to make accusations when they detain/arrest outside of store premises so that these "voluntary" statements can be used against defendants in the court and so that undercover LP Personnel are not required to give Miranda warnings.

Apparently, under the scheme of Civil Recovery, Miranda rights do not have to be given to shoplifting suspects when they are detained outside of store premikses by undercover LP personnel because they are detained under the guise that the event is still in the stage of investigation. This, of course, is disingenuous because the LP have their probable cause evidence to detain suspects and have every intention of initiating a probable cause arrest by the base military police, and have probably already called the Military Police. This is not an arbitrary process because the probable cause evidence has already been gathered by the undercover LP personnel and the matter of "intent" is a matter for the Federal Magistrate Court. The lower courts are closed to any defense against a ticket for shoplifting.

It is a matter of duty and obligation on the part of both parties, i.e., the AAFES Manager and the MWR authority and the customer. In the Civil Recovery Scheme, Management is not exercising ordinary diligence and protecting their property from theft with the use of their technology. Instead, they are using secret police and secret technology WITHOUT NOTICE for the purpose of punishing "first offenders" to teach them a lesson, instead of deterring FIRST potential offenders with notice of the CRIMINAL and CIVIL consequences of passing final checkout points without paying for merchandise.

There is no justification for the government exchange stores to do this to the troops. The government rationalizes that these arrests and tickets will deter any second attemps to steal merchandise from the exchanges (government property) but does nothing to deter first attempts to steal by posting prominent notice of the criminal and civil consequences of "shoplifting" in the government stores. There is generally no asctual loss to the Exchanges and the other retail government stores because the merchandise is surrendered or recovered in merchantable condition and returned to stock to be sold. When suspected shoplifters are detained outside of store premises, the LP personnel do not permit them to surrender and pay for the merchandise. (The government has copied the Civilian Civil Recovery Scheme of the Private Sector in every detail and were encouraged to do so by the Debt Collection Contractors and the LP Industry Lobbyists) The Civil Recovery Administrative Fee of $200 goes directly to the store Manager for accounting purposes and the criminal fines go directly to the Magistrate Courts.

The troops and their families are not a criminal class of people and they deserve better policy decisions from their elected officials and the Department of Defense and their Commander-in-Chief. This is a disgrace and a disservice to the men and women who so bravely defend this country and our Constitution.
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#27 Consumer Comment

By your own words...

AUTHOR: Striderq - (U.S.A.)

"The retail stores make it look so easy and there is so much 'stuff' and 'opportunistic' amateur shoplifters rationalize that nobody will miss what they have taken, especially when nothing is said to them when they engaged in the first act of their attempt to steal, and at final payment checkout points."

When someone is to the point of rationalizing their behavior/actions, then they know their behavior/acyions are wrong and are just trying to justify it to themselves. Since they know it's wrong, you don't need the signs about shoplifting being illegal, signs about the "secret police", signs about the chips or anything else. The people know that it's wrong to steal and still do so. Then they get hit with the consequences. As Baretta said "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time".
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#28 Author of original report

NOTICE of Civil Recovery Fine and Criminal Sanction

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

The notice of a Civil Recovery Fine and a Criminal Sanction in the government stores would DETER many first attempts to steal. It is because first-time shopliftere think that nobody has seen them and that they have gotten away with it that they go through checkouts without paying for merchandise. The retail stores make it look so easy and there is so much "stuff" and "opportunistic" amateur shoplifters rationalize that nobody will miss what they have taken, especially when nothing is said to them when they engaged in the first act of their attempt to steal, and at final payment checkout points.

If potential shoplifters knew that they were being secretly watched and that there were chips in the merchandise and secret police and secret cameras and criminal and civil consequences that could cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars, and possibly, their careers and personal relationships, many potential first-time shoplifters would be deterred from their "crime" because they would weigh the risk and the consequences of their crime against the people (and the retailer) against the possible reward or return on the crime.

The only justification retailers have for civil recovery and apprehension outside of final checkouts for larceny is that it acts as a deterrent to any second attempt to steal ---and I'm sure it does. But, what about the obligation of the retailer to deter FIRST attempts by potential shoplifters through actual NOTICE of the criminal and civil consequences of passing final checkouts without fully paying for merchandise, concealed or otherwise, and intentionally or unintentionally. In the practice of the AAFES and other government retail stores, it doesn't matter what the suspect says about his/her "intent" ---and the matter is referred to the Federal Magistrate Court and the Manager of the Store, or his paid agent, sends a demand for $200 to the active duty or retired sponsor or his dependents, as the case may be.

There is generally NO actual loss to the retailers in apprehended shoplifting cases because they recover the merchandise and sell it to someone else ----after they refuse to sell it to the shoplifter. Almost all of the shoplifters would pay for the merchandise if they were warned at the time of their first act, or put the merchandise back, because they would understand that they had been observed.

What about the obligation of the retailer to protect the merchandise offered for sale and to get it paid for? Is the due diligence of the retailer owed to the shopping public waived by government and the courts in favor of giving the retailer the subsidy of civil recovery and the subsidy of "the people's power of arrest" to engage in constructive entrapment of shoplifters for completed larcenies in order to justify the civil recovery demands?

Is this moral public policy? .
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#29 Consumer Suggestion

A lot of fingerpointing but...

AUTHOR: Hdsam - (U.S.A.)

let's talk about Carol's assumptions.

Assumption #1: "I didn't do research/read other posts".

You've been doing this for over a year (and, by the way, AAFES policy is still in effect). I've done it for an evening and tried to pass along some assistance. If I didn't read other posts, how do I know about the possible pay issue?

- Assumption #2: The implication that I have absolute power.

- Nope, just a little old staff sergeant who's received more orders than given. I'm someone who understands that shoplifting won't be stopped by putting signs up. Someone who understands that your so-called "secret police" are needed lest shoplifting go unchecked. Someone who knows that loss prevention has a dollar cost associated with it and likes to think prices are little less because of their efforts.

Assumption #3: A published standard doesn't exist because Carol hasn't found it.
Using the same logic Osama Bin Laden doesn't exist because we haven't found him. How many AAFES stores adhere to this policy? I'm going to take a stab and say all of them do. Isn't it strange how so many stores on so many continents happen to have the SAME POLICY? There's a policy, they just don't want to give it to you.

Assumption #4: "you might respond with some good sense and good advice for the Mother..."

- I might strongly suggest the same to you. Doesn't it pique your curiosity that a Soldier with that many years in service and deployed seems to be paid so little? Do you think it might be an issue to address? Also, I hadn't noticed any post where the Brigade or Post Chaplain was mentioned, nor the unit FRSA, all of which are valuable avenues to seek assistance. Perhaps I missed it when I didn't read/research.

Carol states: "AAFES opted for the HIGHEST MINIMUM CIVIL RECOVERY instead of the lowest." That's true in a sense, but Carol seems to have conveniently not mentioned that many states dictate the maximum fine/jail allowed, not the minimum. If you get busted shoplifting in Indiana, Pennsylvania, you can receive a fine up to $300.00 and/or ninety days in jail for a first offense. With which would you take your chances?

Carol states: AAFES admits that there is generally no actual loss in apprehended shoplifting...
-You're right in this case, there isn't. The loss only occurs when the store has to pay the LP specialist for apprehending the shoplifter.

Carol states: AAFES doesn't want to stop or prevent any FIRST attempts to steal their property and miss out on these $200 recoveries.
-What if the shoplifted item cost in excess of $200.00? From your all-inclusive statement, AAFES would let it be stolen just to collect the $200.00. By the way, if you don't "stop or prevent any FIRST attempts", the "attempt" is successful. The merchandise is gone. AAFES does not pass go, does not collect $200.00. If I attempt to take something, and I am not stopped or prevented, then I have succeeded in stealing the item.

Carol states: "Why would they warn when there is more money in the ticket/detention for larceny and a civil demand for $200 than there is in the sale of the merchandise."
- Let see if I've got this right... no matter what is stolen from AAFES, the profit the stolen item might have generated is always less than $200.00 dollars?

I like offering solutions when a problem is identified. My solution is that you patrol your local AAFES store and stop those who are unaware shoplifting is illegal from committing attempted larceny. This will prevent the LP specialist from being involved and deny AAFES $200.00. Then everyone can stand around and have a good laugh just like they did on CHiPs.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of AAFES. I shop at big box stores for all but the most expensive things.The gas I'd use to get to the PX and commissary from my house would offset the savings they offer. On the other hand, when I buy my next TV, I'll be shopping AAFES because of the estimated $80.00 I'll save in taxes.
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#30 Consumer Suggestion

CONGRESS DID NOT VOTE ON THIS $200 FINE ON THE MILITARY --IT WAS AN EARMARK

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Steven! Please note that Congress did not vote on this policy or this $200 Administrative Fee for Shoplifting. It is obvious that this policy was pushed to the DOD by the Debt Collection Lobbyists and the LP Industry who would get much of the $200 extracted from the troops because of lucrative government contracts.

This policy of the DOD/MWR/AAFES came about because the Armed Forces Committee of the House slipped an amendment into Treasury Law on which the DOD developed policy to take $200 from the troops ---even out of their pay ---when either they or their sponsored adult dependents are detained by secret police outside of the Exchange premises and charged with larceny shoplifting on base traffic tickets by the base military police. Even children as young as 10 are permitted to attempt to steal within the stores and are approached outside and their parent sponsor gets a bill for $200.00 from the exchange store.

The few words that amended Treasury Law upon which the DOD developed their civil recovery policy are all we have from the Congress, except a few words in 2001 from the head of the Committee that indicates that they were authorizing something outside of formal judicial proceedings to recover shoplifting losses. The Civil Recovery Fee of $200 is outside of formal judicial proceedings and a violation of due process rights of the sponsors and the dependents -- because there is no due process provided other than an appeal to the AAFES or Exchange Manager who is collecting the $200.00. The active duty or the offending dependent is ticketed at the same time for the crime of larceny/shoplifting and sent to the Federal Magistrate Courts who also demands a fine and probation, etc.. from the active duty member sponsor or his sponsored dependent who must defend against a charge of larceny if they want to plead "not guilty" to the federal court. Of course, almost all ticketed defendants opt for a plea bargain when offered by the federal magistrate court.

Active duty personnel who are ticketed instead of brought up on Article 15s do not receive the assistance of counsel as they would if they were charged under the UCMJ. The military services apparently reserve the right to charge active duty personnel under the UCMJ or to send them to the Federal Magistrate Courts on a ticket. Apparently, the command structure agreed to this policy because the rehabilitation in the Federal Magistrate Courts of military personnel would not then dishonorably reflect upon the service record of the sponsor as does an Article 15 Court Martial?---while making the active duty troops eligible to pay the $200 Administrative Fee to the Exchange store for themselves or their offending dependent, their mate, their parent, or their child.


Shoplifting is the founded offense of larceny under the UCMJ and is larceny under federal and state law. When the Traffic Safety Program was reenstated prior to 2001to provide the means of ticketing suspects for shoplifting, obviously, the government Civil Recovery Program for shoplifting was the reason it was reinstated and in March of 2002, the fully developed DOD policy was implemented with a Press Release.

The AAFES had always practiced civil recovery on civilians under state laws for many years but couldn't get civil recovery from the active duty troops until they amended Treasury Law and made "shoplifting" a "debt" that could be collected under Treasury Law. Conversely, there is state law that provides that "Civil Recovery is not a Debt" and is, instead, a tort that does not come under the protection of the Federal Debt Collection laws.

The Congressional enabling amendment was slipped into the 2001 Defense Appropriations Bill and is a violation of the Rules on Making Amendments because it changed the legal status of those affected by the DOD policy who would become subject to Debt Collection that would translate to a $200 Administrative Fee under DOD policy for a shoplifting offense ---that would at the same time be ticketed as larceny-shoplifting under the appropriate statute.

The due process of law protections have been removed for those in the Military Services who want to defend themselves against the demand of the Exchange Stores for the $200 who are at the same time under the burden of defending themselves in the Federal Magistrate Courts against a charge of larceny. It appears that the secret LP police in the Exchange Stores do not warn suspects approached outside of the stores that they will be under arrest and have a right to be silent and to seek counsel in immitation of the civilian sector Civil Recovery practices.

Obviously, the Committee knew that The Congress of the United States would never agree to a Bill that would make "shoplifting" a special "tort." They used this back door method to develop the existing policy with the view that by making the military sponsor, over whom they have absolute control, responsible for payment of the $200 AAFES fine for him-herself, or their sponsored dependents, even children as young as 10, they could skip notification in the Federal Register and codification and just implement the policy based on the abstruse Congressional Amendment to Treasury Law in a Press Release.

It is the "shoplifting" of the law and procedure that needs to be looked at by The Congress of the United States and the Courts. Shouldn't shoplifting be prevented with the new technologies or is this all about "the parody of the broken window?"
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#31 Consumer Suggestion

Military members have always been subject to double jeopardy

AUTHOR: Steven - (U.S.A.)

Carol as you have seen and noted before military members (though not their dependents) cannot have criminal charges dropped due to double jeopardy. Doesn't matter with state supreme courts saying that they can't be tried. Military personnel are subject to federal law in addition or inspite of state laws. Always have been and probably will always be.

If AAFEES wants to assess an administrative fee there is no reason why they shouldn't. There is nothing that states that servicemembers have to use the exchange (except maybe for uniform items). There are resources offbase that are competitively priced with the exchange. The best way to protest something like this is simply not to use the exchange or commissary on base then you don't have to worry about it.

I have yet to hear about you obtaining a lawyer to challenge the constitutionality of this law. From your comments at the beginning it was supposedly illegal anyway.

Have you ask congressman how he voted on this? Have you asked him about introducing legislation to repeal it??
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#32 Author of original report

Rip Off of $200 and Threat of Criminal Prosecution

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Those with the absolute power over others and who are instinctively righteous never appear to have the objectivity to look at what the DOD is doing to the troops and their families and how they did it.

We are not debating the morality or the criminality of individuals who shoplift from the AAFES and other Government Exchange Stores.

We are debating the legality and morality of the DOD imposng $200.00 fines on active duty personnel for their offense of shoplifting and the offense of a sponsored dependent, even as child as young as 10-years-of-age while threatening to prosecute the active duty troop or his sponsored dependent in the federal magistrate courts for the crime of larceny. ---And by using technology and secret police in the government stores ----not to prevent "shoplifting" that is ticketed as larceny but to enable secret AAFES-paid LP police and the MP's to issue probable cause ticvkets for the crime of larceny to active duty troops or their families.

The troops pay both a Civil Recovery Fine called an Administrative Fee that is an "arbitrary debt" established by the AAFES and government stores as well as fines to the Federal Magistrate Courts.

If you did your research and read the other posts, you would learn that this new policy of the government retail stores that was develolped from an abstruse amendment to Treasurey Law that was never codified according to law in rule or regulation of the Treasury Department or the Department of Defense, you might respond with some good sense and good advice for the Mother of this child who are an example of the dangerous cooperation of the three branches of government to the rights of individual Americans who serve in the military services to protect our basic constitutional righta and freedoms.

You don't appear to understand that the AAFES has no published standard for the debt that is collected as an Administrative Fee for shoplifting and the UCMJ treats shoplifting as a completed larceny when prosecuted as does the Federal Government and there is no tort law governing the tort of "shoplifting" under Federal Law, and no published standard for the "debt" that is collected by the government stores as an Administrative Fee for shoplifting.

You don't appear to understand that a Federal Magistrate Judge protected the Civil Recovery Policy of the AAFES soon after its implementation by writing a ruling that the AAFES -satisfied demand of $200 on the defendant (a civilian in this case but the decision will apply to active duty military sent to the Federal Magistrate Courts on base tickets) and a prosecution in the Federal Magistrate Courts does NOT constitute double jeopardy.

However, the higher courts in two of the states have ruled that a Civil Demand is "double jeopardy" and that defendants CAN NOT be prosecuted for a larceny after they have paid a "statutory" civil recovery demand to the corporate retailer.

The Military Authorities are not going to give this Mother any relief because it is their disingenuous claim that the demand by the AAFES or the government retail store has nothing to do with base ticket for "stealing" or "shoplifting" as issued by the base military police.

The DOD just copied the Civilian Practice of Civil Recovery Extortion. feeling safe after almost all of the States has passed Civil Recovery Statutes and knowing perhaps that the status quo of shoplifting would remain the same when The Supreme Court inadvertently protected the Civil Statutes and the Criminal Case Law that rendered "apprehended" shoplifting a completed misdemeanor or felony larceny when prosecuted or defended against in the courts in their 2003 ruling in which they reversed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on "shoplifting and three strikes laws in California, and "cruel and unusual punishment."

The DOD knew they couldn't get a civil recovery statute that woud make shoplifting a tort passsed by The Congress of the United States so they just got a Committee to slip it in the back door of the Congress and then they just codified it with a Press Release in all of the informal Press and Media of the Armed Services. They must have felt confident that they could slip it into law and that it would not be challenged.

If you are an officer or were an officer in the service of the United States of America and cannot understand the DANGER that this presents to the Rule of Law and to our democratic system, we are in trouble. and may God help The United States of America.

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#33 Consumer Suggestion

Carol

AUTHOR: Hdsam - (U.S.A.)

Years ago, I had a Soldier who thought it was quite alright to tear an advertisement out of a magazine at the PX. He lost his PX and Commissary privileges for six months. Was he a good troop? Absolutely! Did he make a mistake? Absolutely! What's my point? Theft is theft. The $200.00 fine is so easy to avoid it's laughable. The key to not paying $200.00? Don't shoplift from the PX. Strangely, with 19 years of military service and the same number shopping at AAFES I have yet to be arrested, detained, or questioned for shoplifting. Why? Because I don't shoplift.

Is it arguable that paying $200.00 might be legally wrong? I suppose, but it never comes into play if one doesn't meet the first requirement, which is to shoplift.


Lauren, your spouse should be making quite a bit more than $2K if deployed.

Regarding pay:

Base pay for E-4 with 6 years = 2124.0

Food Allowance = 294.00

Average housing allowance = 1000.00 (Only if you live off-post and $0 if you live on. Actual amount is determined by location. Soldiers and families who live off-post at Fort Carson get more than those who live off-post at Fort Sill because housing is more expensive at Fort Carson .)

Family Separation Allowance = 250.00

Hazardous Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay (HFP/IDP)= 225.00

CTZE (Combat zone tax exclusion) = No federal taxes deducted for duration of deployment, which should be about 200.00 per month.

= 4093.00 monthly

These amounts are educated guesses and could be somewhat higher or lower depending on rank and family location. That said, a E-2 with six years service will still earn 1502.70 in base pay alone, not including food, housing, separation, HFP/IDP, and CTZE.

If your spouse is telling you he only makes 2k per month while deployed, $1K on the 1st and $1k on the 15th of each month, go to his unit S1 and request his Leave and Earning Statement (LES) for the last month.


I'm assuming because it appears you live on post but pay utilities that it's one thats transitioned to privatized on-post housing?

If the issue with your son is complete and true as you have stated, perhaps talking to the brigade or post chaplain might help resolve the issue. Contacting the unit Family Readiness Support Advisor may also help.
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#34 Consumer Suggestion

I don't think they are treated more severely

AUTHOR: Steven - (U.S.A.)

I think this is a trend of society on a whole. I heard the other night 25 percent of shoplifters are children. Some of these do it on a dare from friends others for thrills or whatever. Usually it is not out of need. Also for the shoplifters that are adults some do it for thrills or other reasons. Most of the time the people that shoplift had the money to make the purchase but chose not to.

I think sometimes this is taken to extremes but I think we have to ask ourselves at what age should we not be given a pass anymore?? If Laurens son's actions were caught on camera (or tape) then Lauren should have access to them to review with the base CO (or her husbands command) to see if they would draw the same conclusion. My opinion anyway.

I think at times that military people are held to a higher standard (why I'll never know) then even the elected officials they serve (even the president of the US).

Like it or not the servicemember is responsible for their dependents. I think I read earlier that Carol was saying the dependents were entitled to exchange, base, and commissary privileges. Not to nit pic but privileges and entitlements are two different things. Ask any person in the military what a privilege is and nine times out of ten you would hear something to the affect of something that can be withheld for punishment or disciplinary reasons. I.E. leave is an entitlement and liberty or weekend passes are a privilege. You have to be granted leave (except for operational purposes) but nothing says your work week is monday thru friday (9 to 5). If you are needed during the weekend that goes with the job (unfortunately without overtime :) ). Same goes with dependent access to base, exchange, or housing (though if housing not granted I think S&Q with dependents is an entitlement, but I have been out of the military loop for a while so excuse me if any of this has changed).

Thanks,

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#35 Author of original report

I have gone through channels --even the President's Integrity Committee

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Steven: Your suggestions to Lauren are good ones. I have gone through channels and I am sure that the Committee in the Congress who was responsible for the amendment that was "slipped into law" is aware of my comments because I had Email and telephone contact with them.

I even responded to the Pentagon when they announced a change in their military reporting forms for the MP's and BP's but I cannot find my "public comment" anywhere although we had many E-mail Exchanges and I submitted a final comment, etc.. I exhausted all channels and the DOD IG would not investigate the AAFES Civil Recovery Program. I even wrote to the President's Integrity Committee expressing my concerns and they responded and informed me that they had sent my complaint back to the DOD IG. The DOD IG, through the head of the DOD Hotline, then informed me that I would have to address my complaint to the Congress.

The Pentagon maintained to me that their Investigative Reports had NOTHING to do with the AAFES Civil Recovery Administrative Fee and the AAFES claims that they do not initiate criminal arrests. The AAFES can claim this because they use licensed security personnel to directly contact the Post or Base Police and Administrative personnel, like managers, etc.., are not involved in the stops or the interviews with the suspected shoplifters. (this is the way it works in the private sector --the retail stores license their LP personnel with the city police authorities and the LP then have powers of arrest in and outside of the stores they work for).

But, in fact, under DOD policy, suspected shoplifters are put under surveillance and permitted to exit the stores without being asked for payment so that they can be made responsible for the $200 administrative fee and so that the base MP's can ticket them for completed larcenies and send them to the federal magistrate courts. The AAFES and other government stores are not using technology to prevent shoplifting attempts and are entrapping to get the $200 Administrative Fees. They are not posting warnings at checkout counters.

The difference between the civilian sector and the government stores is that there is no federal statute for the tort of shoplifting and there is no published standard for the "debt" of "shoplifting" in federal or military law. This policy is an abuse of discretion and authority of the AAFES who is under the supervision of the DOD.

Additionally, in many jurisdictions of the United States, only a civil demand is made and criminal sanctions are not initiated --- and most jurisdictions have a much lower "minimum" than the DOD $200 for civil recovery. Obviously, DOD wanted the higher minimum of $200 to offset the costs involved for the debt collection contractors and the security contractors that would be involved in the DOD scheme.

Why are our troops and their families being subjected to much harsher treatment by the DOD than their civilian counterparts? How can this be justified?
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#36 Consumer Suggestion

Another idea for Lauren

AUTHOR: Steven - (U.S.A.)

Complain to your congressman if you feel that the base is abusing the law that they passed. They approved the bill so let them know how you feel about it. Get some of the other wives together and petition the base commander as well if you feel wronged.

Who told your son the MP's were going to come arrest him. I doubt very seriously that he would be sent to a juvenile detention center. Are you putting these thoughts in his head? You shouldn't even be troubling your husband with this crap while he is overseas. What about contacting an Ombudsman or someone like that for help as well??

Also for the last poster. There may not be a federal law for shoplifting but there is a general article that is a catch all that can be used on the servicemember if they want to use it bad enough.

Like I said if you feel this wrongful enough why not complain thru channels to address the problem.
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#37 Author of original report

Armed Forces Personnel face BOTH Civil Demand and Federal Court costs and fines

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Robert !

Thanks for thinking about this and being interested enough to respond. Please understand that military personnel and their dependents pay both the $200 Civil Demand and they also pay a fine to the Federal Magistrate Courts because they are ticketed by the military police for the crime of larceny under federal law on a traffic ticket and sent to the federal magistrate courts. The crime of shoplifting was taken out of the purview of the UCMJ to enable the government to enable the AAFES and other government retail stores to get this $200.00 Administrastive Fee from active-duty personnel and to make the sponsors responsible to pay the fine for their dependents.

The government can prosecute the active-duty offender under the UCMJ or under Federal Law, as they so desire, and they can ticket the adult dependents and send them to the Federal Magistrate Courts. I don't know whether or not the active-duty sponsor defendant has the right to choose. While the federal magistrate courts will allow the active duty military defendants to plea bargain the charge of larceny, the defendants will incur a record in the federal court system that will follow them. How do you think they found the shoplifting record of the General who was demoted one rank for shoiplifting?

The Appelate Courts who gave opinions that the payment of a Civil Demand to a retailer and the criminal prosecution of that person for larceny after the civil recovery had been paid would constitute double jeopardy were Apellate Courts in Montana and Nebraska. The Magistrate Court Judge who gave his opinion and established case law that the AAFES could accept $200 and that the government could then prosecute the defendant was from Maryland. The case concerned a PX at Andrews AF Base in Maryland and this case and the opinion appeared on the Internet soon after the AAFES implemented their shoplifting and civil recovery policy by a Press Release in March of 2002.

Your example is correct but the difference is that it is the state governments who have subsidized the retailers with a statute that sets the amount of the civil recovery that can be demanded by the retailer and that can be demanded out of court with a demand letter when customers are engaged in conduct that is described as larceny under the criminal law. The States have civil recovery statutes but the AAFES and government retail stores have no standard for the Debt for which they collect $200 as an Administrative Fee and there is no federal tort law concerning shoplifting.

The federal government civil recovery of $200 far exceeds the civil recovery of many of the states who have Civil Recovery Statutes and in which AAFES stores are located. In Arizona, apprehended shoplifters would pay $50.00 to WalMart for civil recovery but $200.00 to the AAFES store in Arizona for civil recovery. In Arizona, the city police might not travel to the stores to ticket suspected shoplifters and the stores would probably institute only civil recovery demands.

It is the institution of both a criminal and a civil sanction at the same time, the AAFES practice and the practice in some of the States, that looks so much like extortion and double jeopardy

In your example! Remember that you could institute a civil suit regardless of whether or not the defendant was found guilty of a criminal violation of the law.

Remember, that in the instance of the DOD shoplifting policy that, unlike the States, they cannot threaten the sponsor with a civil suit, as the states do, because there is no federal tort law on shoplifting. Under the state statutes, those who do not want to pay the Civil Demands from the retailers can appear in court and defend themselves in a Civil lawsuit and in a criminal lawsuit ----except, of course, the lower courts, both state and federal, have been closed to any defense to a ticket for shoplifting, that is treated as the crime of larceny under state and federal criminal law The public records indicate the truth of this statement. The AAFES demands the $200.00 and provides no due process of law for the suspects while claiming that Treasury Law has given them the right to take the $200.00 out of the pay of the active duty personnel. The defendants are squeezed into plea bargains in the Federal Magistrate Courts for the same event that the AAFES demands $200.00.

A manager of an AAFES store told me that they do this to deter any second attempts to shoplift in the stores but the policy of AAFES is NOT to post warnings of the Civil Penalty or the Criminal Sanction at checkout and to permit suspects to exit the stores without paying for items in their possession so that they can be ticketed for larceny by the base MP's who then have the probable cause to ticket the defendants because "the intent to steal" has been established for the courts who can then treat the event as a completed larceny.

The due process of law protections for shoplifters have been removed to provide a subsidy for the retailers. The AAFES who had practiced civil recovery under the state subsidy for retailers in the private sector for many years determined that they wanted their own civil recovery program and $200.00 and they got it in March of 2002, just before the start of the war. Obviously, they needed much more for their administrative costs, etc..than many of the states of The United States because, of course, federal government security contractors and federal government debt collection contractors don't work CHEAP!
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#38 Consumer Suggestion

Oh really?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Carol wrote: ""If higher courts in a few states have already ruled that the payment of a civil recovery for shoplifting and a criminal prosecution would constitute double jeopardy and be unconstitutional...""

What court made this landmark ruling? Many, many, many defendants would like to know this. Ya see, if you vandalize my car, get caught by the cops, are prosecuted and found guilty, sentenced to 100 hours community service and FINED $250 by criminal court, guess what? I can still sue you in civil court for damages, and thanks to the conviction, I'll win - no double jeopardy at all.

I understand that you don't like this $200 recovery thing because of the lack of judicial proceeding - on this single point I agree with you.

Here's the reality you face and why your postings and protests aren't going to accomplish a thing. Those of us (the vast majority in our society and in our armed forced) who DON'T STEAL or attempt to steal really don't give a hoot if a shoplifter or someone attempting to shoplift but is apprehended before SUCCESSFULLY completing the crime gets nailed for a $200 "recovery fee."

I suspect that this recovery fee is going to continue until such time as a military sponsor gets nailed $200 for the actions of a dependant and then sues on constitutional grounds - lack of due process.

I don't think it's appropriate to simply assess this fee based on non-judicial action. However, there is a trade-off here as any military member knows. Any military member who is offered non-judicial punishment for shoplifting (UCMJ Article 15) must either agree, in writing, to accept non-judicial punishment or DEMAND a court martial - I know. I accepted Art. 15 on 2 occasions when I was in the AF (former MSgt.) My other option was to have a court martial and take my chances and risk a felony conviction. When ever a court martial rules that a defendant is guilty, that is a felony conviction (court martial is a federal court.)

Perhaps you would prefer a criminal prosecution? I might side with that, but I think many folks would prefer to have the option to simply pay this "fee" rather than risk a criminal prosecution. If you have so much trouble with this, why don't you SUE AAFES?

Oh and just to answer another of your questions. Yes, a 10 year old dependant can have a dependant ID card. I know from personal experience that a 10 MONTH old dependant can have a dependent ID card.
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#39 Author of original report

AAFES Uses Unofficial Military Media to Spread Propaganda

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Sir:

Surely, you jest! These are your statistics? I'm sure that you are aware that the DOD carefully uses the local and unofficial news media on the forts and the bases to endorse and to support command policy decisions. Twelve percent of what?

Just where are the official statistics produced since March of 2002 when this Civil Recovery Extortion policy was codified by a Press Release from AAFES that all the little service newspapers ran in the following weeks? Note that The Army and the Air Force Times wouldn't touch this subject matter, to my knowledge.

The Air Force got out there right away and publically announced through informal media that they had hired a debt collection corporation who would have the demand letters for the $200.00 in the mail in 48 hours. They were so proud of this policy, obviously!
So much for due process of law, huh! So much for the privacy of the military sponsors, huh! And, both active duty and retired and their dependents who were shoplifting suspects would be ticketed and sent to the federal magistrate courts under the new policy in this 48-hour period.

If this is good command policy and you agree with it, please defend it. If higher courts in a few states have already ruled that the payment of a civil recovery for shoplifting and a criminal prosecution would constitute double jeopardy and be unconstitutional, why did a Magistrate Judge from Maryland, the home of the DLA, and the home of the Congressman who planted the enabling amendment into law, write an opinion and establish case law that the Civil Recovery Administrative Fee (the debt? under Treasury Law?) and a criminal prosecution WAS NOT double jeopardy. Was this to enforce the squeeze on the military sponsor who would be offered a plea bargain he/she or the sponsored dependents couldn't refuse by the federal magistrate courts? Civil Recovery has tainted our court system.

Doesn't any of this worry you? I congratulate you and respect you for your service and courage as a Ranger who gives his all for our country and its democratic ideals but I ask you to not close your mind and to look at this policy and defend it, if you can, as being in the best interests of the men and women who are in the Armed Forces of The United States, and in the best interests of our country.
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#40 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Security measures increase, shoplifting occurrences decrease

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

LOL! Thanks Carol.......

OK, now that I'm a "smart poster" and no longer smug or egotistical ;-), I'll also answer your other question regarding statistics and proof.

"Air Force News Today
5/1/2007 - ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D.
A 2002 amendment which allows federal retailers to pursue losses and administrative costs related to shoplifting, contributed to a decrease in number of occurrences for AAFES BX/PXs of 12 percent, from 2005 to 2006."

There you go......
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#41 Author of original report

Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

This is an excellent idea, Lauren! The AAFES says that that they have the authority under Treasury Law for debt collection to impose this $200.00 civil recovery fee on you for your child's "criminal?" behavior in the Shoppette.

Show them up by doing what was suggested by this very smart poster.
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#42 Author of original report

Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

This is an excellent idea, Lauren! The AAFES says that that they have the authority under Treasury Law for debt collection to impose this $200.00 civil recovery fee on you for your child's "criminal?" behavior in the Shoppette.

Show them up by doing what was suggested by this very smart poster.
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#43 Author of original report

Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

This is an excellent idea, Lauren! The AAFES says that that they have the authority under Treasury Law for debt collection to impose this $200.00 civil recovery fee on you for your child's "criminal?" behavior in the Shoppette.

Show them up by doing what was suggested by this very smart poster.
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#44 Author of original report

Excellent idea Lauren ---Deployed can avoid debt payments until they return home

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

This is an excellent idea, Lauren! The AAFES says that that they have the authority under Treasury Law for debt collection to impose this $200.00 civil recovery fee on you for your child's "criminal?" behavior in the Shoppette.

Show them up by doing what was suggested by this very smart poster.
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#45 Consumer Suggestion

Lauren - here's an idea.

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

Just thinking out loud here. Do as Carol says, and send the letter to your husband. Then get his commander to reply to it stating that he is deployed and that this "debt" (and I hope they will go for this) falls under the guidelines of other such liabilities, and as such does not have to be addressed until he returns. If (big if) this works, you have bought yourself a ton of time, you can get some allies and can now get together and fight this as a team.

As I see it you have nothing whatsoever to lose. The worst that can happen is that you have to pay $200, and that's no worse than where you are today. I sincerely hope this works out for you and your family.
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#46 Author of original report

Do ten-year-old dependents have government ID cards?

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Lauren and Steven:

We realize that the government, the DOD, has a data base on activie duty and retired service personnel and their dependents who are issued ID cards under government regulations.

This data base does not represent a criminal class of citizens but rather, it represents a special class of people who give up some of their constitutional rights to serve their country in peace and war. This special class of citizens is often called upon to make special sacrifices in times of war, such as their lives, their body parts, or their sanity and they deserve special privileges such as the Post Exchange and The Commissary, etc.. Some of this special class of citizens are on food stamps.

In return for giving ujp some of their constitutional rights and becoming subjects of the DOD, military services personnel and their familioes are given certain benefits and privileges that are authorized on their government identification cards. In my opinion and in the opinion of the Congress, they deserve these benefits and privileges. The Congress realizes that they give up none of their constitutional rights when they are elected to serve.

This little ten-year old boy was exercising his right and his privileges in a government operated Shopette when he was observed to have opened a package of Poleman Cards. Apparently, the clerk or someone? saw him do this (on camera?) and immediately called the MP's who accused the boy of shoplifting, read him his rights, and his sponsoring parent, who is deployed out of country, became immediately responsible to pay $200.00 to the Post Exchange Store on the Base.

We see from Lauren's story that AAFES is arresting for profit and victimizing the children of the members of the Armed Forces. There is no due process for this little boy or his parents and the great power of government can send this boy into the juvenile authority to cover thei greedy, immoral, and illegal policies of the DOD AAFES and other government retail stores.

How often has this kind of thing happened? Why does the DOD believe that they have the right to extort $200 for the government stores under the threat of prosecuting these same suspects for larceny in the federal courts ----and now they are using this same threat against a 10-year-old boy who is guilty of being no more than a ten-year-old boy. This boy is an "A" student and has been a good citizen with good parents.

Isn't this a disgrace to our country? Lauren! The only thing you can do is to make the AAFES send the demand letter for the $200 to your husband where he is deployed ----and then ask your husband to send the letter and his comments to your Senator(s) and Congressmen. It is the Congress, in cooperation with the lobbies for security corporations and debt collection corporations who pushed the Congress into "planting" an amendment in Treasury Law that has made this disgusting DOD policy possible. It is only the Congress who can fix it. Send copies to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees who have allowed the big corporate interests to steal the law.

Good Luck, Lauren, and fight for what is right!
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#47 Consumer Suggestion

Your right Lauren I don't have kids

AUTHOR: Steven - (U.S.A.)

But at least I was taught respect for others and their property. Tell me did you discipline your son or are you just oh my poor little baby boy is so persecuted. Your exchange privileges, are just that - a privilege. If they are abused then efforts should be made to curtail those privileges or fine you heavily you should watch out or your husbands XO or CO could find themselves in the mix if AAFES so decides to do so (if not already).

I think your husband is very noble for his service but before you start complaining about the pay all I have to say is he should have thought of that before he joined. Depending on what he did before he joined he should have tried to go in at a higher paygrade or even see if he qualified for any officer opportunities.

Last I saw there are nothing in the regs about you getting a job and helping out if there is that much of an impact.

Last I saw with COLA and other housing pay your husband should be making alot more than 20,000 a year.
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#48 Author of original report

Ranger is Stranger to Truth and Logic

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Sir:

I am sorry that you took offense to my comments, that I stand by.

You, apparently, indulge in hyperbole and are disingenuous in your response to me.

What does prostitution and pandering, that are now UCMJ founded offenses, have to do with the subject matter?

Under the UCMJ, shoplifting is the founded offense of larceny that the DOD has decided to prosecute under federal law through the threat of a prosecution for larceny in the federal courts of active duty personnel or their sponsored dependents.

The DOD-Army uses a traffic ticket (an 1805) to cite active duty personnel and their sponsored dependents, as the case may be, for the crime of larceny while at the same time the DOD AAFES and other government stores demand $200.00 from the suspects under the authority of a Congressional Amendment that was never codified in rule or law. There is no standard for the Debt or the Tort of shoplifting in federal law. This standard procedure and policy looks like extortion.

If this "scam" has decreased shoplifting and can be justified on this basis or any basis, put your statistics where your mouth is!, sir!
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#49 Consumer Suggestion

Utter fiction

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

Carol,

Unlike yourself, I will be concise and on point - though I'm sure you won't like what I'm about to say.

First off....madam, you're a liar. For the sake of your own goals, you attribute acts, behavior and statements to me that I never made. It serves your own purpose to paint me as uncaring, smug, whatever - and you do it well. Never mind that it is a total fabrication on your part. So noted.

Second, you continue to rant off topic by bringing in these emotional examples and saying "see, this is what happens under the new rules". Well, yes, these things have happened under the current rules, however what you conveniently fail to mention is that they are the exception, not the rule. What you also have failed to tell the people in this blog is that shoplifting is down by double digit percentages since this program was put in place. You wanted a field grade officer to defend it - well, there you go. It's clearly working, unless of course you also believe that this is all some great coincidence.

Next, you clearly have no faith or confidence in the US Army. My soldiers have to make life and death decisions for themselves and their friends, they have to live their lives under a microscope in order to maintain their security clearances, they are expected to maintain a physical conditioning state that would make an NFL team envious. And yet you believe they are so ill informed, dishonest, easily misled, or possess some other major character flaw such that they must be told in bold letters "DO NOT STEAL". Give me a break! Better still, give THEM a break. They are far, far better than that - and far, better than you give them credit for.

Finally, let me say that I only wish that you put as much energy into defending the victims of shoplifting (you, me, my soldiers, all AAFES customers) as you do the criminals committing these crimes. Yes, yes, there are exceptions - tragic exceptions - as noted above, but you are condemning the system itself, not just the innocent exceptions. Sorry, that simply makes no sense. However, if the young lady having such problems who posted above will let Ripoff Report send me her contact information, I will be glad to get personally involved and will do everything I can to fix the problem.

In closing, it appears that you see yourself as some kind of champion of the downtrodden. Heck, you can even quote chapter and verse from the UCMJ. Well, in that case, you no doubt know that due to recent changes in the UCMJ, both pandering and prostitution are now specifically covered and are serious violations. That being the case, I would humbly submit that you probably need to find a new line of work ASAP.

Rangers Lead The Way, maam.
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#50 Author of original report

Not a big deal For field grade officer

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

While this field grade officer obviously didn't do a staff study on this matter, he defends it as not being a big deal. He does indicate that "children" are differerent, etc.. but obviously doesn't see anything wrong in the scenario explained by the Mother and doesn't see anything wrong in the MP's reading rights to a ten-year old upon information from a Shopette security employee who has enabled the AAFES to demand $200 from the sponsor. Obviously, $200 isn't a big deal for a field grade officer, and he doesn't see anything wrong with putting pressure on the Mother while the Father is deployed in the defense of our country ---and the Bill of Rights.

He explains that Sam's has a policy wherein they check you at the door. Sam's provides only shopping carts and doesn't bag your items at the register and the door check is a means of checking on the customers as well as the cashiers to ensure that everything has been paid for. This is ordinary due diligence practice that is fair to the customer and fair to Sam's, and I don't understand the field grade officer's point. I'm sure Sam's also has security cameras and security personnel who are licensed with the city and I'm sure Sam's uses the normal civil recovery procedures when small items are concealed on the person of their customers.

Walmart recently changed its shoplifting policy ---maybe, because their security/LP personnel killed a young Father( for changing the sticker on diapers)out in the public parking lot. These LP personnel are agents of the city and not agents of the retailer and after a "ticket" is issued, the stores are free to letter demand civil recovery damages under threat of a CIVIL action under State Statutes that provide this subsidy for the corporate retailers.

Obviously, the retailers allow suspects to depart the final checkouts and the stores so that the city police authorities have probable cause to ticket the suspects for completed larcenies and the retailers are protected from lawssuits for false arrest, etc...because it is the city who bears the responsibility for issuing the ticket for probable cause on the information of a city-licensed loss prevention officer, who has observed the suspect since the first act of concealment and permitted and allowed the suspect to exit the store.

The city courts in our great country are closed to any defense to a ticket for "stealing." There have been few, if any, actual CIVIL lawsuits filed under the statutes because the 41c letter demand from the retail corporation for money damages is very efficient when the suspect has also been given a ticket for "stealing" and is scheduled to appear before the municipal court to defend against a charge of larceny.

I think this field grade officer knows that all of the "civilian" retail stores, including grocery stores, have someone licensed with the city who can then initiate arrests with the city authorities. The DOD/AAFES/MWR officials merely copied the state/city practice, starting in 2002, after all of the States passed civil recovery statutes that weren't struck down and were protected by the courts. They reissued the Traffic Safety Program so that they could use the traffic tickets to charge "shoplifting" and send active duty personnel to the federal courts instead of to their commanders. This was the only way the government could make active duty personnel eligible for the $200 demand from the AAFES.

He talks about Article 15's but he doesn't address the fact that "shoplifting" which is the founded offense of larceny under the UCMJ and under federal law has been taken out of the purview of the commander and active duty personnel are now being sent to the federal magistrate courts after they have been cited on traffic tickets for "larceny" under federal law. Active duty troops have no assistance of counsel as provided under the UCMJ and they are subject to both the $200.00 fine for civil recovery and additional punishment as determined by the federal magistrate courts.

This field grade officer doesn't think it is necessary to warn but he will not deny, I'm sure, that a posted warning of the CRIMINAL and the CIVIL sanctions for "shoplifting" which is "larceny" under both the UCMJ and federal law would be a deterrent to shoplifting. I'm sure he would not deny that AAFES could stop these people before they departed the stores and demand payment, and that these suspects would then pay for the merchandise. I'm sure that this field grade officer would not deny that AAFES has been given an incentive to arrest for profit.

I would be interested in a field grade officer's honest defense of this policy of the AAFES instead of snide remarks about "shopping elsewhere." His lack of compassion for this child and the Mother, and the Father who is deployed, is telling. Does he write from "ego" and smugness and does he dodge the real issues?
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#51 Consumer Suggestion

Here's an idea - don't shop there

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

I'm surprised no one has suggested that you simply don't shop there. Don't like the rules? Fine, go somewhere else.

It's quite analogous to Sam's and other private clubs where they search you at the exit and demand to see your receipt. If you don't want to be treated in that manner (and many people don't, quite understandably) simply do your shopping elsewhere.

Someone here mentioned Fort Campbell. Been there, done that. So go to Hopkinsville, Clarksville, whatever and shop at Kroger, K-Mart, etc.

Obviously not every post or base is co-located with a metropolitan area, but a great many are. In those cases, nothing prevents you from voting with your feet and taking your money elsewhere.

But the fact is, like it or not, in return for shopping at an establishment that offers significantly lower prices AND no sales tax, certain behavior is required. If you are unable or unwilling to accept those terms, look elsewhere.

In all my years as a field grade Army officer, I don't think I ever handed out an Article 15 for shoplifting, and definitely never had to go get one of my guys out of trouble at the PX, so my own experience is that this is not that big of an issue. But I will say this, had I been put in that position and my soldier tried to use the defense that is being espoused here, namely "no one warned me not to shoplift" or "they didn't stop me from committing a crime", I would have done everything in my power to prosecute that soldier to the max, including revocation of security clearances, bad conduct discharge, etc. The Army has no need for people like that who are either criminals, or are criminally stupid. I certainly agree that children are a totally different and distinct issue, but there is no room for discussion regarding adults who are soldiers, DoD employees, etc. that want to claim entrapment. It is utter nonsense.
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#52 Consumer Comment

You must not have children

AUTHOR: Lauren - (U.S.A.)

Steven,
As to your comment about why my son was wandering? My husband and I allow our children to go outside and to the store, which is across the street from our house. Post policy states that the child(ren) need to check in with parent every 20 minutes in my son'e age range. My son has a watch. Where was I you want to know? I was WORKING! As a military spouse, you either work, or you go on welfare and let the taxpayers help support your family. While some families may need the support, we are not one of them. Although our budget is tight, my children want for nothing. The extra $200 would be a big burden to have to pay. Also before you go thinking that we live on post for free, think again. We pay rent and utilities like everyone else who live off post. My 13 year old daughter was watching our son and his brother and sister. This too is also allowed by post standards. But if that isn't enough supervison for you Steven, my neighbor across the street was available if anythong went wrong. Before you begin to attack, unjustly, people's parenting skills, first you should have children. If you do, maybe you should be more involved with yours and not let your significant other do all the work. By the way, my husband has 2 degrees, and so do I. My husband and I were making $90,000 together before he joined the ARMY. now we make barely $20,000. This is what he wanted to do for his country. He enlisted in July of 2001. He wanted to protect this country and put his life on the line for uninformed, ignorant people such as yourself.
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#53 Consumer Suggestion

Steven, Let me answer your comment, with some facts

AUTHOR: Lauren - (U.S.A.)

First of all, my son NEVER LEFT THE SHOPPETTE! Where is the crime? Secondly, the cashier THOUGHT that he was not going to pay for the pack. Thirdly, he did take the cards out of the Pokemon package(packed as 8-10 cards), but to not "just take one", as you stated, but to look at what he was getting. The General manger of the AAFES here at Fort Campbell, told me that the $200 fine goes into a special account, for things like birthaday parties, ice cream socials and pizza parties for the employees. I do not believe that that is what the fine should be used for. IF my son had done this, we would of course have accepted the punishment, but he would still be required to have a trial. I have asked and asked for a trial, but to no avail. This fine, goes hand in hand with being found guilty. All the shoppette had to do was accept my son's money(as he was going to pay anyway). As it stands now, he thinks the police are going to lock him up, and he won't get to see his dad when he comes home, not to mention, that sometimes he doesn't even think his dad will come home. He is now afraid of the MPs, even though I have tried to tell him that they are there to protect us. He does not believe this. This is a straight A student, never been in trouble for anything. I already have character statements from all 5 of his teachersand principal. They too are appalled by what has happened.

Again Steven, I must tell you to first ask questions before you condemn a 10 year old and his family. My husband just lost his SGT., in an IED explosion, and the last thing he needs to worry about is wether or not his son is going into the juveinille system.
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#54 Author of original report

Fascists in our Midst

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Me thinks that there are fascists in our midst! Steven, no doubt, has some special interest in ripping off ten-year old boys and their Mothers whose fathers are deployed in the defense of our country.

Ignore his meanness and stupidity, Lauren, and continue to write to the Congress and continue to try to expose this ugly fascist policy to the American public.

Fight for your son and for your country's soul. Know, Lauren, that no Congressman or Senator is going to stand up and defend this policy of AAFES that is embraced by the DOD and the DOD's contractor friends.

The IG of the DOD resigned early to go to work for a big Security Contractor and the contractors love this new policy of the AAFES and they get a lot of this $200.00 that is taken out of the pockets of the troops.

Obviously, those who really are interested in the welfare of our troops and their families, those who don't consider our troops just expendable resources to defend government policy, should work to stop this ugly, mean, and illegal policy of the AAFES.
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#55 Consumer Suggestion

What are your suggestion Lauren and Carol

AUTHOR: Steven - (U.S.A.)

Despite your rants I don't see any suggestions to better the system? It's hard to feel sorry for people that whine about additional financial penalties for theft or damaging goods.

Lauren, What was your sons motive in opening the cards?? Let me see oh, take only one leaving a card box unsealed. What is the exchange to do with that one? They can't sell it now can they?? Where were you when this happened?? What is your son doing wandering around the store opening things?? Sounds like poor parenting to me.

I think in addition that the dependents I.D. should be confiscated and that way unless they live on base they can't even get on. Plus since most exchanges check ID before even getting into the store that they won't be allowed in to begin with. That takes care of the problem happening again.

Bottom line it comes down to if you don't like it lump it. Do your shopping at Walmart or KMart if you want. See what happens when you shoplift from one of those places or any other civilian retail store for that matter.
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#56 Author of original report

AAFES Policy is Unconscionable and Un-American

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Lauren!

I am sorry that you and your beloved son, age 10, were caught up in this terrible policy that has been approved by the DOD and apparently by The President of the United States, the Commander and Chief, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We can only hope and pray that they did not realize how this policy would be abused and misused by AAFES and the DLA, who, together, helped the lobbyists for security and collection corporations to implement this policy across the Armed Services of the United States and the Homeland Security and the Coast Guard.

AAFES is a part of government, a part of the Department of Defense, and this policy was approved at very high levels of government. It is your government who has done this to your family and their incentive was primarily "money." This policy was pushed to the DOD by the debt collection people and the private security industry who have lucrative contracts with government. The military leadership apparently went along with it because it would take first-offense shoplifting out from under the UCMJ and this offense could be treated as "risky behavior" by the commanders who would attempt to rehabilitate those active-duty troops through the federal court system and not the UCMJ.

Apparently, The Congress of the United States can say that they are unaware of the policy because an amendment to Treasury Law that enabled this policy was quietly and almost secretly passed into law right in the 2001 Defense Appropriations Bill right after the 9-11-01 tragedy. I'm sure the powers that be knew that the Congress would never openly pass a Bill that would permit the DOD to do this to the troops and their families.

I tried to get the DOD IG to investigate the Civil Recovery Scheme of the AAFES because shopliofting apprehensions went up when this policy was enacted with a Press Release in March of 2002 by the AAFES.

When organizations are given the incentive to arrest for PROFIT, the outcome is certain, as is demonstrated by the injustice of your case. The $200 goes directly into the accounts of the individual AAFES stores.

I went through all of the official channels but to no avail. I ended up with The President's Integrity Committee (an organization of IG's and the FBI) who informed me that they sent the matter back to the DOD IG, who then informed me through the head of the DOD Hotline that I would have to take my complaints to the Congress and that I had no further recourse with the DOD.

I had complained in writing and called the Committee of the Congress (Armed Forces) when I first asked for an IG investigation through the Hotline and knew that they were aware of my efforts to expose this terrible command policy.

The intimidation by government of a ten-year-old boy and his Mother, whose father is deployed in the defense of our country is a travesty of justice. Write to the Commander-in-Chief; write to your Post Commander or Base Commander; write to your Congressmen and Senators. Try to get any of your local military social groups to complain to the Congress. Make the AAFES send the Demand Letter to your husband, who under the Civil Recovery Policy, is responsible for the $200.00 payment to the AAFES (they say they can take it out of his government pay) and then send this correspondence to the Congress.

Good Luck, Lauren! If you love your country, you will fight to make your country do the right thing and you will teach your son a valuable lesson.
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#57 Consumer Comment

AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

AUTHOR: Lauren - (U.S.A.)

I have also been a victim of this agency. On September 14, 2007, our 10 year old son was accused of shoplifting a pack of Pokemon cards at the shoppette on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. If my son had done this act, all punishment given to him would have been followed to the T. Alas, he never stole anything. He never even left the store or the aisle where the cards are. The "crime" here, according to them, is that he opened the cards. They called the MPs and then they in turn came and got me. In the interim they read my 10 year old rights without his parents present. Then again when I was there.

My son had $4.00 on him to pay for these cards. AAFES refused to accept this money, and stated that patrons are not allowed to open merchandise in store before purchasing it. The MPs, sent me a letter stating that my 10 year old was convicted of shoplifting and had to do 40 hours of community service, shoveling horse manure. Now, what must be known, my son NEVER had a trial. How could he be convicted of anything. The juveinille parole officer that was assigned to my son's case, told me that he did not have to have a trial to be found guilty.

WHAT? He also stated that they have no first-time offenders, as all people are guilty before proven innocent. My son has lost his privilages to shop in the Px or commissary for 6 months. Even though he did nothing wrong, and was not tried. I have since recieved the letter from AAFES to pay $200 fine + 3.75 the cost of the cards. My husband was deployed on Sept. 20, 2007 and calls 1 a month and always asks what are they going to do to our son? I do not have an answer for him.

I have involved the company Chaplain, and IG said that they wanted no part of this. My father, a retire Army officer, and I have writter 4 letters to State Senators. Two to the senators in our home state, Illinois, and 2 the senators here in Kentucky. I have recived calls from both senators offices in Illinois, and they are reviewing the case. Again, I want it known that AAFES does not dispute that my son never left the aisle let alone the store.

I think this is a travesty of justice, as the company thinks it does not have to follow the laws as set forth by our government. As a military spouse, $200 would severly affect our budget. My husband pay is only roughly, $1,000 on payday. All this is used on bills and groceries. We do not go to the movies or do anything fun because the money just isn't there. We have 4 children and all of that goes towards their care and upkeep. I do not want anyone to feel sorry for us, but just open your eyes to this injustice.
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#58 Consumer Comment

AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

AUTHOR: Lauren - (U.S.A.)

I have also been a victim of this agency. On September 14, 2007, our 10 year old son was accused of shoplifting a pack of Pokemon cards at the shoppette on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. If my son had done this act, all punishment given to him would have been followed to the T. Alas, he never stole anything. He never even left the store or the aisle where the cards are. The "crime" here, according to them, is that he opened the cards. They called the MPs and then they in turn came and got me. In the interim they read my 10 year old rights without his parents present. Then again when I was there.

My son had $4.00 on him to pay for these cards. AAFES refused to accept this money, and stated that patrons are not allowed to open merchandise in store before purchasing it. The MPs, sent me a letter stating that my 10 year old was convicted of shoplifting and had to do 40 hours of community service, shoveling horse manure. Now, what must be known, my son NEVER had a trial. How could he be convicted of anything. The juveinille parole officer that was assigned to my son's case, told me that he did not have to have a trial to be found guilty.

WHAT? He also stated that they have no first-time offenders, as all people are guilty before proven innocent. My son has lost his privilages to shop in the Px or commissary for 6 months. Even though he did nothing wrong, and was not tried. I have since recieved the letter from AAFES to pay $200 fine + 3.75 the cost of the cards. My husband was deployed on Sept. 20, 2007 and calls 1 a month and always asks what are they going to do to our son? I do not have an answer for him.

I have involved the company Chaplain, and IG said that they wanted no part of this. My father, a retire Army officer, and I have writter 4 letters to State Senators. Two to the senators in our home state, Illinois, and 2 the senators here in Kentucky. I have recived calls from both senators offices in Illinois, and they are reviewing the case. Again, I want it known that AAFES does not dispute that my son never left the aisle let alone the store.

I think this is a travesty of justice, as the company thinks it does not have to follow the laws as set forth by our government. As a military spouse, $200 would severly affect our budget. My husband pay is only roughly, $1,000 on payday. All this is used on bills and groceries. We do not go to the movies or do anything fun because the money just isn't there. We have 4 children and all of that goes towards their care and upkeep. I do not want anyone to feel sorry for us, but just open your eyes to this injustice.
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#59 Consumer Comment

AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

AUTHOR: Lauren - (U.S.A.)

I have also been a victim of this agency. On September 14, 2007, our 10 year old son was accused of shoplifting a pack of Pokemon cards at the shoppette on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. If my son had done this act, all punishment given to him would have been followed to the T. Alas, he never stole anything. He never even left the store or the aisle where the cards are. The "crime" here, according to them, is that he opened the cards. They called the MPs and then they in turn came and got me. In the interim they read my 10 year old rights without his parents present. Then again when I was there.

My son had $4.00 on him to pay for these cards. AAFES refused to accept this money, and stated that patrons are not allowed to open merchandise in store before purchasing it. The MPs, sent me a letter stating that my 10 year old was convicted of shoplifting and had to do 40 hours of community service, shoveling horse manure. Now, what must be known, my son NEVER had a trial. How could he be convicted of anything. The juveinille parole officer that was assigned to my son's case, told me that he did not have to have a trial to be found guilty.

WHAT? He also stated that they have no first-time offenders, as all people are guilty before proven innocent. My son has lost his privilages to shop in the Px or commissary for 6 months. Even though he did nothing wrong, and was not tried. I have since recieved the letter from AAFES to pay $200 fine + 3.75 the cost of the cards. My husband was deployed on Sept. 20, 2007 and calls 1 a month and always asks what are they going to do to our son? I do not have an answer for him.

I have involved the company Chaplain, and IG said that they wanted no part of this. My father, a retire Army officer, and I have writter 4 letters to State Senators. Two to the senators in our home state, Illinois, and 2 the senators here in Kentucky. I have recived calls from both senators offices in Illinois, and they are reviewing the case. Again, I want it known that AAFES does not dispute that my son never left the aisle let alone the store.

I think this is a travesty of justice, as the company thinks it does not have to follow the laws as set forth by our government. As a military spouse, $200 would severly affect our budget. My husband pay is only roughly, $1,000 on payday. All this is used on bills and groceries. We do not go to the movies or do anything fun because the money just isn't there. We have 4 children and all of that goes towards their care and upkeep. I do not want anyone to feel sorry for us, but just open your eyes to this injustice.
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#60 Consumer Comment

AAFES $200 shoplifting policy a problem

AUTHOR: Lauren - (U.S.A.)

I have also been a victim of this agency. On September 14, 2007, our 10 year old son was accused of shoplifting a pack of Pokemon cards at the shoppette on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. If my son had done this act, all punishment given to him would have been followed to the T. Alas, he never stole anything. He never even left the store or the aisle where the cards are. The "crime" here, according to them, is that he opened the cards. They called the MPs and then they in turn came and got me. In the interim they read my 10 year old rights without his parents present. Then again when I was there.

My son had $4.00 on him to pay for these cards. AAFES refused to accept this money, and stated that patrons are not allowed to open merchandise in store before purchasing it. The MPs, sent me a letter stating that my 10 year old was convicted of shoplifting and had to do 40 hours of community service, shoveling horse manure. Now, what must be known, my son NEVER had a trial. How could he be convicted of anything. The juveinille parole officer that was assigned to my son's case, told me that he did not have to have a trial to be found guilty.

WHAT? He also stated that they have no first-time offenders, as all people are guilty before proven innocent. My son has lost his privilages to shop in the Px or commissary for 6 months. Even though he did nothing wrong, and was not tried. I have since recieved the letter from AAFES to pay $200 fine + 3.75 the cost of the cards. My husband was deployed on Sept. 20, 2007 and calls 1 a month and always asks what are they going to do to our son? I do not have an answer for him.

I have involved the company Chaplain, and IG said that they wanted no part of this. My father, a retire Army officer, and I have writter 4 letters to State Senators. Two to the senators in our home state, Illinois, and 2 the senators here in Kentucky. I have recived calls from both senators offices in Illinois, and they are reviewing the case. Again, I want it known that AAFES does not dispute that my son never left the aisle let alone the store.

I think this is a travesty of justice, as the company thinks it does not have to follow the laws as set forth by our government. As a military spouse, $200 would severly affect our budget. My husband pay is only roughly, $1,000 on payday. All this is used on bills and groceries. We do not go to the movies or do anything fun because the money just isn't there. We have 4 children and all of that goes towards their care and upkeep. I do not want anyone to feel sorry for us, but just open your eyes to this injustice.
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#61 Author of original report

Apprehended Shoplifting is Attempted Theft

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Apprehended shoplifting is attempted theft, at the most, and only "stealing" or a completed larceny when shoplifters are permitted and allowed by the stores to exit final checkoluts to the outside without being asked for payment for merchandise that the store KNOWS is in the possession of the customer when they go through final checkou and/or exit to the outside. LP personnel have the suspect under surveillance the entire time from their observation of the first covert act of concealment and are waiting to ambush the suspect the minute they exit the store.

It is obvious, of course, that shoplifting had to be designated a completed larceny in order to make the Civil Recovery Statutes efficient for the retailers and their collection attorneys. It is obvious, of course, that shoplifting only became a completed larceny because the suspect was permitted to exit the store without being asked for payment. The exiting of the store without making payment allows the courts to recognize the intent to steal and to treat "shoplifting" as a completed larceny. These 41c letter demands from corporate retailers for money are made out of view olf the courts after tickets are issued in the Security Offices of the stores by the City Commissioned Police who are called to the stores by the privately paid city-licensed secret retail security personnel.

If the City Commissioned Police didn't come to the stores to write the tickets for stealing ----for merchandise that generally remains in the possession of the retail store and is photographed for evidence purposes, could shoplifting be treated as a completed larceny by the courts? Would the retail stores use their evidence to file criminal complaints with the courts if the Commissioned Police didn't come to the stores? Would the city-licensed retail security personnel have the authority to file these criminal complaints on their own without the store owners or their agents joining in the complaint? In Florida, if you pay the $200 to the store under the Civil Recovery Statute, they don't call the police.

The stores have the technology today to get their merchancise PAID for and this should be their highest duty and obligation under the law. Civil Recovery laws result in "arresting for profit" and the combination of a civil demand under the law, out of view of the courts, and the arrests/tickets for the crime of larceny is nothing more than legalized extortion and a subsidy for the retailers. Many citizens have been killed outside of retail stores because of Civil Recovery Laws.

It is because many opportunistic first-time shoplifters do not kinow that shoplifting is treated as the crime of larceny and that they will be "observed" and permitted to exit the stores so that they can be ticketed for completed larcenies and demands for civil money damages that it is imperative that notice of the civil and criminal consequences should be posted.

Can't you see that this is a fascist practice and that shoplifting is not a crime that should be lumped with armed robbery, arson, etc. and is instead a non-violent offense committed by many otherwise law abiding citizens who believe that they will be stopped when they make the attempt, if they are seen by the security cameras, etc... While it is sneaky and dishonest, it is an offense against the store owners who are not exercising ordinary diligence and using their technology to get their merchandise paid for. This scam and subsidy for the retailers was rationalized as being in the best interests of the people because if shoplifting could be stopped or deterred, the costs of the merchandise purchased by the public would be reduced ----because, on the other hand, the profits of the stores would be increased.

The law is about the duty we have to each other. While shoppers know they have a duty to pay for merchandise, the stores have a duty to get their merchandise paid for. Instead, they make it very easy for shoppers to attempt to steal merchandise and don't care any more because there is often more money in the ticket for an arrest and a civil recovery than there is in the sale! The LP Personnel want to earn their wages by making arrests outside of the stores insread of stopping shoplifting within the stores.

Civil Recovery together with tickets for stealing (shoplifting) is a new source of revenue for the cities and the attorneys who work the lower municipal courts but it uses the people's taxes unnecessarily and wastefully to subsidize private corporate interests who have influenced the law to maximize their profits. While drugs are sold on the play grounds of our public schools and violence is committed on our streets, our commissioned police may be off in their cruisers to the security offices of WalMart or the Mall Stores or the Discount Stores to write tickets to those suspects peacefully sitting in the security offices of the store who have already surrendered the merchandise with an offer to pay for the merchandise.

The greater duty is to stop attempts to steal and it lies with the retail store who is in the business of selling merchandise to the public for profit and who can use the new technololgies to get their merchandise paid for at checkout. If notice were posted of the consequences of shoplifting and Security wore unifoms and badges, shoplifting would be greatly reduced -----but so would the Civil Recoveries of the retailers.

RFID chips in merchandise could eliminate the shoplifting problem but the retailers will want to use RFID to enhance their Civil Recovery Programs and the legalized extortion will continue under government protection.

Do you really want to live in a Police State where the corporations and the government will continue to cooperate to make new law to maximize the profits of corporations? Do you really want to live in a Police State where the cities use their power of arrest to ticket suspects for "stealing" and then close the lower courts to any defense to the offense for which you have been ticketed?

Will the Bill of Rights belong only to the corporations? Think about this!
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#62 Consumer Comment

Where does it stop?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

What's next? A sign that warns robbers the penalty for armed robbery? A sign that warns rapists of the penalty for committing rape? A sign that warns an arsonist of the penalty for torching a house?

Where do you get this notion that there has to be a sign to remind people to obey the law, or more simply, to do the right thing (in this case to not steal.)

By your logic, we would have to carry a dozen signs before stepping out the door of our homes, because should a robber, mugger or rapist "do their thing" to us, hey there wasn't a sign to warn them of the penalty so it's not their fault.

Carol, I can appreciate the double jeopardy concern but I think you're off base with this silly notion of a sign being REQUIRED.
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#63 Consumer Comment

Where does it stop?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

What's next? A sign that warns robbers the penalty for armed robbery? A sign that warns rapists of the penalty for committing rape? A sign that warns an arsonist of the penalty for torching a house?

Where do you get this notion that there has to be a sign to remind people to obey the law, or more simply, to do the right thing (in this case to not steal.)

By your logic, we would have to carry a dozen signs before stepping out the door of our homes, because should a robber, mugger or rapist "do their thing" to us, hey there wasn't a sign to warn them of the penalty so it's not their fault.

Carol, I can appreciate the double jeopardy concern but I think you're off base with this silly notion of a sign being REQUIRED.
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#64 Consumer Comment

Where does it stop?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

What's next? A sign that warns robbers the penalty for armed robbery? A sign that warns rapists of the penalty for committing rape? A sign that warns an arsonist of the penalty for torching a house?

Where do you get this notion that there has to be a sign to remind people to obey the law, or more simply, to do the right thing (in this case to not steal.)

By your logic, we would have to carry a dozen signs before stepping out the door of our homes, because should a robber, mugger or rapist "do their thing" to us, hey there wasn't a sign to warn them of the penalty so it's not their fault.

Carol, I can appreciate the double jeopardy concern but I think you're off base with this silly notion of a sign being REQUIRED.
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#65 Consumer Comment

Where does it stop?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

What's next? A sign that warns robbers the penalty for armed robbery? A sign that warns rapists of the penalty for committing rape? A sign that warns an arsonist of the penalty for torching a house?

Where do you get this notion that there has to be a sign to remind people to obey the law, or more simply, to do the right thing (in this case to not steal.)

By your logic, we would have to carry a dozen signs before stepping out the door of our homes, because should a robber, mugger or rapist "do their thing" to us, hey there wasn't a sign to warn them of the penalty so it's not their fault.

Carol, I can appreciate the double jeopardy concern but I think you're off base with this silly notion of a sign being REQUIRED.
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#66 Author of original report

Warnings Would Help

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

If the Exchanges posted prominent warnings about the CIVIL and the CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES of shoplifting, it would greatly curtail shoplifting and tickets for larceny, and the $200 windfalls for the stores. Shoplifting is often not premeditated and is an opportunistic act committed by those who think that there is nobody is looking. Often it is rationalized but sometimes it is an unrational act of people who are not normally dishonest. It is rationalized, of course, by the dishonest who are sure that they will get away with it. If an ex-President of the US can indicate, when he is President, that people do bad things when they think nobody is looking, this is the truth and makes my point for me.

The stores owe their customers, both dishonest and honest customers, the NOTICE of the consequences of shoplifting or inadvertence and such notice will make the majority of shoppers careful to avoid such hard consequences. Notice is the RIGHT thing to do on the part of the government. The use of secret surveillance, and secret chips in the merchandise, and secret police within the stores without notice and warning is fascist and undemocratic and unfair to the troops and their families. The $200 fine for the Manager of the Exchange presents a conflict of interest for both the LP Personnel and the Exchange Manager and this fine together with another fine for the federal magistrate courts is disgraceful treatment of our troops and their families. Even children as young as ten are not warned to provide the Manager the opportunity to request $200.00 from the parents of these children.

The retail stores have a duty of due diligence to get their merchandise paid for and not to make shoplifting easy for their customers for the purpose of collecting civil recoveries out of view of the courts. It is because the retailers, for reasons of profit, decided that they would "mass merchandise" in huge stores with few clerks and only check-out counters, etc... that they influenced the law to render shoplifting a completed larceny. The corporate retailers purchased the power of arrest from the city police authorities for their LP personnel and these LP personnel act as agents of the police authority and not as agents of the retail stores. The placing of secret city-licensed police on private property to protect private property and profits and to make the out-of-court demand letters from retailers for civil damages possible is not a democratic process. If these secret retail police wore uniforms and badges of authority, this in itself would greatly prevent shoplifting. Why are the city police uniformed and why do they wear their badges on their uniforms?

The DOD in 2002 just copied the programs of the States who passed Civil Recovery Statutes in their legislatures but the DOD didn't do the Military Civil Recovery Program lawfully through a vote of the Congress of the United States. Instead, they slipped an amendment to Treasury Law into the law and developed DOD policy to extract $200 from the troops for their offense or the offense of a sponsored dependent. They even took the first offense of shoplifting out from under the UCMJ to be able to get the $200 from the active-duty personnel who would be sent to the federal magistrate courts instead of to their commanders. The DOD apparently opted for the highest civil recovery fine for the troops because of the necessity to pay private security contractors and private debt-collection contractors who would benefit from the Civil Recovery Program and who pushed this program to the DOD. The DOD has been proactive in the development and use of RFID chips in merchandise --not to prevent theft but to permit shoppers to exit the checkouts without paying so that they can be ticketed for completed larcenies by the base military police and so that the Manager of the Exchange can demand $200 from them. When the Program was first introduced, shoplifting increased in Military Exchanges.

I asked for an investigation of the Civil Recovery Program by the DOD but this request was refused.

Some of the legislatures who passed civil recovery laws did not intend the right of civil recovery to be used with the threat of criminal prosecution. There is a mixed practice in the United States that results in unequal treatment under the law for American citizens. Some State Appeals Courts have ruled that the collection of a Civil Recovery Fine and the prosecution for the same event is a form of double jeopardy. Millions of Americans have been ticketed for shoplifting, i.e. "stealing" and diverted from the lower courts after they have paid civil recovery fines in response to letter demands from the retailers who threarten to prosecute them for civil damages unless the demand for money damages are remitted within a certain time period. The people's commissioned police are used in this scheme and travel to the retail stores to ticket shoplifters who have already surrendered the merchandise with an offer to pay and who are sitting quietly in the security offices of the stores waiting to be released. A photo of the so-called stolen merchandise is taken in the rare event of a trial. The City Municipal Courts are closed to any defense to a ticket for stealing because, of course, the Municipal Judges are not going to expose the city police authorities to suits for false arrest, etc.. It is the City and not the Retailer who bears the responsibility for the arrest-ticketing and not the retail store. When there is most often more money in the arrest for shoplifting than in the prevention of shoplifting and a sale, the outcome is certain. Shoplifting is now an "industry" that employes LP personnel and specialists and all of the statistics are provided in support of the industry.

We can do better and this kind of policy dishonors our troops who give so much to honor the policies of government. The very least the government can do if they are going to continue this fascist program for the troops is to provide NOTICE of the criminal and the civil consequences of failing to pay for merchandise at final checkout and NOTICE of the secret chips in the merchandise and the secret surveillance and the secret police who monitor the cameras and walk the stores that serve our troops and their families.
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#67 Consumer Comment

Warning signs

AUTHOR: Striderq - (U.S.A.)

Carol, I thank you for your passion on this matter. I find your posts to be thoughtful, well written and entertaining.

However, in my experience I have learned that someone who is going to break the law is going to do so even if there is a sign warning them not to. I believe that when someone goes to a store they know that they are supposed to pay for any items that they want to take home. If someone goes into AAFES with the intention of shoplifting something, a sign saying "Oh by the way, shoplifting is illegal" is not going to stop them. If just posting a sign worked then people (even me) would not speed on the highway.
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#68 Consumer Comment

Yes, they do in some regards

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Carol wrote: ""Or, do military personnel surrender their rights under the Constitution and can they be treated more harshly than civilians?"

The short answer is YES, they do give up some rights as part of their service. Just read an enlistment contract and you'll see what rights the member agrees to suspend while in military service.

Similar and other, more stringent "sacrifices of rights" holds for commissioned officers.

BTW, I was a MSgt in the USAF.
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#69 Author of original report

Civil Recovery Double Jeopardy in Some States

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Amber: I realize you make your living in the "shoplifting industry" but be aware that some States will not allow a Criminal Prosecution and a Civil Recovery and there will have to be further clarification of civil recovery and arrests for the crime of larceny in the law sooner or later. The practice today throughout the United Stares in the private retail stores results in unequal treatment under the law and the practice should be declared unconstitutional. The practice in Military Exchanges is a disgrace to our democracy.

I quote "However, the Appelate Courts in Montana and Nebraska have held that if the store seeks a civil penalty and a criminal prosecuion and the suspect has in fact paid the civil demand" then double jeopardy applies and he cannot be criminally prosecuted." I'm not sure because I haven't been able to get the case and read it whether this indicates that suspects can be arrested for larceny and if they pay the civil recovery, the criminal charges are then dismissed, or what. But, this would sure look like legalized extortion, wouldn't it. In some cities of the United States, retailers institute only a civil recovery and the police will not respond to the stores to write tickets for "stealing" when called by the secret LP personnel.

You can see the present state of affairs in the Military Exchange Stores where the suspects are permitted to leave the PX or the BX, and not asked for payment, so that they can be ticketed for larceny under federal law after they leave the premises permits the federal government to apply both a civil recovery for the government Exchange Service and a fine for the Federal Magistrate Courts.

A Maryland Magistrate Court Judge upheld the imposition of both as not being double jeopardy in a case involving an AF Exchange Store. It would be nice if the judges in our great nation could get together and solve this discrepancy in the law of double jeopardy for our troops and their families. Or, do military personnel surrender their rights under the Constitution and can they be treated more harshly than civilians?

Shoplifting is a crime because the owners of the retail merchandise are not required to practice ordinary diligence and protect their property from theft, or to ask for payment when they suspect that suspects are attempting to steal their property. The changing of the law to render shoplifting the completed crime of larceny,through the enabling of shoppers to depart the premises without being asked for payment for merchandise, has resulted in the civil recovery demands made out of view of the courts. It sure looks like legalized extortion on behalf of the retailers of America and the Managers and the private contractors of government retail stores.

The subsidy for the retailers that resulted in changing shoplifting from an attempt to steal, very rarely prosected because the suspects generally offered to pay for the merchandise, to the completed crime of larceny is nothing more than a subsidy for the American Retail Corporations and a disgrace to our democracy. This is only possible because the police power that belongs to the American peoplei sold to special interests by way of permitting corporate retailers to license their privately paid and privately hired LP personnel with limited powers of arrest on private property. These LP personnel detain and initiate arrests as agents of the cities and not as agents of their employers and the corporations are protected from suits for false arrest and "excessive" force, etc... The little stores who can't afford to hire LP personnel have to deal with shoplifting the old fashioned way ----they have to tell the suspects to stop and ask them for payment. It is the rare "shoplifter" who doesn't stop and make payment for the merchandise when asked to do so.
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#70 Consumer Comment

Shoplifting is a crime

AUTHOR: Amber - (U.S.A.)

Carol-Shoplifting is a crime and the shoplifter should be punished no matter how many times he/she has attempted it. If they get a slap on the wrist, they won't be deterred from trying again. Almost all retail stores have plain clothes security personnel who do just what the AAFES guys do. Then they call the cops. Then, guess what? By law, the shoplifter can receive jail time AND a fine. So it sounds like whoever your relative or friend is who stole from AAFES is getting a better deal than in the civilian world. And for that, you shouldn't complain.

From http://www.lacriminaldefenseattorney.com/Shoplifting.html:

"Petty theft is usually charged as a misdemeanor if it is a first offense, and the value of the property stolen is valued between $50 and $400. Petty theft can be punishable by a fine of up to $400 or by imprisonment in County jail for up to 6 months, or both."
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#71 Author of original report

Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

If I were you, I would write the Manager of the PX and the Commander of the Base and my Congressmen and Senators explaining your concerns and protesting the entrappment of minors and adults on behalf of $200 fines for the AAFES. The AAFES and BX started to allow guests into the exchanges and commissaries about the same time they started using the civil recovery laws of the states --many years ago ---to demand civil damages under the state laws.

Their motivation for doing this was to entrap guests as well as ID card holders for "larceny" by permitting them to exit the stores without requesting payment for merchandise concealed intentionally or inadvertently before suspects exit the stores.

In 2002, when the Exchange Systems announced their own Civil Recovery Program, they were able to get even larger "fines" on demand and the entrappment continues. I have been unsuccessful in my quest to get the DOD IG to investigate this $200 fine. You may want to copy your letters to the DOD IG. I am sure that "shoplifting apprehensions" are increasing in government exchange stores because when there is "profit" in entrappment, the Managers will want these profits that are deposited to the individual bank accounts of the exhange stores.

You might tell the authority(?) who wrote the demand letter to you that you are waiting for a response from them and the Commander of the Base and your Congressmen and Senators before you remit the $200 to them. You might ask this authority to quote their legal authority for demanding this $200 from you under your circumstances. There are really no "due process" provisions other than a protest to the MWR Commander and Manager and they appear to threaten to take it out of the sponsor's pay and take away your privileges if you don't pay the $200.

You might investigate the collateral consequences to the sponsor because if it was reported on your daughters ID Card this incident will reflect on the sponsor's record and could impact on career and assignment considerations in the future. It is worth fighting for this reason as this could cost you much more than the $200 for the AAFES.

Good Luck! It takes courage to fight power and especially in the military but in fighting for your rights you fight for the rights of others.
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#72 Author of original report

Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

If I were you, I would write the Manager of the PX and the Commander of the Base and my Congressmen and Senators explaining your concerns and protesting the entrappment of minors and adults on behalf of $200 fines for the AAFES. The AAFES and BX started to allow guests into the exchanges and commissaries about the same time they started using the civil recovery laws of the states --many years ago ---to demand civil damages under the state laws.

Their motivation for doing this was to entrap guests as well as ID card holders for "larceny" by permitting them to exit the stores without requesting payment for merchandise concealed intentionally or inadvertently before suspects exit the stores.

In 2002, when the Exchange Systems announced their own Civil Recovery Program, they were able to get even larger "fines" on demand and the entrappment continues. I have been unsuccessful in my quest to get the DOD IG to investigate this $200 fine. You may want to copy your letters to the DOD IG. I am sure that "shoplifting apprehensions" are increasing in government exchange stores because when there is "profit" in entrappment, the Managers will want these profits that are deposited to the individual bank accounts of the exhange stores.

You might tell the authority(?) who wrote the demand letter to you that you are waiting for a response from them and the Commander of the Base and your Congressmen and Senators before you remit the $200 to them. You might ask this authority to quote their legal authority for demanding this $200 from you under your circumstances. There are really no "due process" provisions other than a protest to the MWR Commander and Manager and they appear to threaten to take it out of the sponsor's pay and take away your privileges if you don't pay the $200.

You might investigate the collateral consequences to the sponsor because if it was reported on your daughters ID Card this incident will reflect on the sponsor's record and could impact on career and assignment considerations in the future. It is worth fighting for this reason as this could cost you much more than the $200 for the AAFES.

Good Luck! It takes courage to fight power and especially in the military but in fighting for your rights you fight for the rights of others.
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#73 Author of original report

Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

If I were you, I would write the Manager of the PX and the Commander of the Base and my Congressmen and Senators explaining your concerns and protesting the entrappment of minors and adults on behalf of $200 fines for the AAFES. The AAFES and BX started to allow guests into the exchanges and commissaries about the same time they started using the civil recovery laws of the states --many years ago ---to demand civil damages under the state laws.

Their motivation for doing this was to entrap guests as well as ID card holders for "larceny" by permitting them to exit the stores without requesting payment for merchandise concealed intentionally or inadvertently before suspects exit the stores.

In 2002, when the Exchange Systems announced their own Civil Recovery Program, they were able to get even larger "fines" on demand and the entrappment continues. I have been unsuccessful in my quest to get the DOD IG to investigate this $200 fine. You may want to copy your letters to the DOD IG. I am sure that "shoplifting apprehensions" are increasing in government exchange stores because when there is "profit" in entrappment, the Managers will want these profits that are deposited to the individual bank accounts of the exhange stores.

You might tell the authority(?) who wrote the demand letter to you that you are waiting for a response from them and the Commander of the Base and your Congressmen and Senators before you remit the $200 to them. You might ask this authority to quote their legal authority for demanding this $200 from you under your circumstances. There are really no "due process" provisions other than a protest to the MWR Commander and Manager and they appear to threaten to take it out of the sponsor's pay and take away your privileges if you don't pay the $200.

You might investigate the collateral consequences to the sponsor because if it was reported on your daughters ID Card this incident will reflect on the sponsor's record and could impact on career and assignment considerations in the future. It is worth fighting for this reason as this could cost you much more than the $200 for the AAFES.

Good Luck! It takes courage to fight power and especially in the military but in fighting for your rights you fight for the rights of others.
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#74 Author of original report

Entrapping Children for $200 is Profitable for AAFES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

If I were you, I would write the Manager of the PX and the Commander of the Base and my Congressmen and Senators explaining your concerns and protesting the entrappment of minors and adults on behalf of $200 fines for the AAFES. The AAFES and BX started to allow guests into the exchanges and commissaries about the same time they started using the civil recovery laws of the states --many years ago ---to demand civil damages under the state laws.

Their motivation for doing this was to entrap guests as well as ID card holders for "larceny" by permitting them to exit the stores without requesting payment for merchandise concealed intentionally or inadvertently before suspects exit the stores.

In 2002, when the Exchange Systems announced their own Civil Recovery Program, they were able to get even larger "fines" on demand and the entrappment continues. I have been unsuccessful in my quest to get the DOD IG to investigate this $200 fine. You may want to copy your letters to the DOD IG. I am sure that "shoplifting apprehensions" are increasing in government exchange stores because when there is "profit" in entrappment, the Managers will want these profits that are deposited to the individual bank accounts of the exhange stores.

You might tell the authority(?) who wrote the demand letter to you that you are waiting for a response from them and the Commander of the Base and your Congressmen and Senators before you remit the $200 to them. You might ask this authority to quote their legal authority for demanding this $200 from you under your circumstances. There are really no "due process" provisions other than a protest to the MWR Commander and Manager and they appear to threaten to take it out of the sponsor's pay and take away your privileges if you don't pay the $200.

You might investigate the collateral consequences to the sponsor because if it was reported on your daughters ID Card this incident will reflect on the sponsor's record and could impact on career and assignment considerations in the future. It is worth fighting for this reason as this could cost you much more than the $200 for the AAFES.

Good Luck! It takes courage to fight power and especially in the military but in fighting for your rights you fight for the rights of others.
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#75 Consumer Comment

Rip off indeed

AUTHOR: T - (U.S.A.)

A week ago I took my 12-year-old and her friend to the BX. Her friend stole a few items and got caught. She turned them over. The security forces stated they could not legally do anything to her, since she was under age and not a dependent. They didn't even call her family. My daughter did not steal and they checked her bag.

So then, in the mail today, I get the DEMAND and threat letter from AAFES for the $200. But guess whose name is on there as the shoplifter? My own daughter's name. She didn't shoplift anything.

So how am I legally bound to pay for an under age child who is not my own? Their regulations state that the sponsor is only responsible for their dependents. Do you think they put my daughter's name on there to get around the fact that they can't legally ask me to pay the $200 for someone else's child? Does anyone know? Thanks.
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#76 Consumer Suggestion

AAFES doesn't want to stop shoplifting.

AUTHOR: Hailey - (U.S.A.)

After hitting a few web sites from a Google search on "AAFES Shoplifting" it is clear that AAFES view on shoplifting is they want to levi that $200 fee on all thoes they can catch. Reading on, AAFES posesses the capability to monitor and record key areas in their stores, whatching for those who conceal itmes and waiting for them to clear the check out line. Seems to me that a better deterrant to shoplifting would be the more active response of confronting the customer as close to the time of concealment as possible letting them know that their action could lead store management to conclusion the customer was attempting to remove that item from the store without purchasing it or without the store's permission.

In the long run, this will do as much to reduce shoplifting incedents as the current process does and, most likely, does more to reduces the AAFES administrative costs of managing this program. In management terms, a "win-win" for AAFES and their reputable and not so reputable customers.
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#77 Consumer Comment

carol part two

AUTHOR: Jane - (U.S.A.)

carol, I almost forgot, Carson's is still around and there is not a week that goes by that the Sunday paper is not full of arrestees who were apprehended in that store. I bet that there are many judges here who would agree with your stance since Monday morning shoplifter arrignments keep the docket buzzing until much past 4p.m. Without them, the Judges could be off the bench and golfing before noon!
LOL
thanks again for the kind and well written reply to mine,
I hope you have an awesome day,


P.S. Do you have any other causes that you are this passionate about, I would love to read some of your other posts / works.
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#78 Consumer Comment

To Dmitrij and Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Dmitrij: Check the Stars and Stripes or the Herald Post. There are normally 3-4 advertisements for Attorneys that speak fluent English, I recall one or two that are former JAG attorneys advertising.

Carol:

Noticed the following in another post here, and I found it interesting. This is the typical "shoplifter" sob story-

"i also am a shoplifter. i have been shoplifting for three years now from walmart stores and have never been caught. i dont do this for fun or for the thrill, but because i kind of have to. i dont have any money and my mother is.. well.. extreemly irrisponsible. i have been living with my friend for two years. i dont have a home of my own. of the things i steal among these are food, clothing, cds, and lots of things from the craft isle. i steal things for my friends most of the time. we are all in the same boat and i love to give them things. we all make eachother happy. we always pick up things for eachother."

Notice the party does not do it for "the fun or the thrill" but because they "have" to. Apparently they "have" to have CD's, craft items and gifts for their friends. In another part of the post the party (a teen) states they live with a friend.

This is the typical shoplifter. They have been doing it for years, are rarely if ever caught and have no compunction about repeating their crime.
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#79 Consumer Comment

To Dmitrij and Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Dmitrij: Check the Stars and Stripes or the Herald Post. There are normally 3-4 advertisements for Attorneys that speak fluent English, I recall one or two that are former JAG attorneys advertising.

Carol:

Noticed the following in another post here, and I found it interesting. This is the typical "shoplifter" sob story-

"i also am a shoplifter. i have been shoplifting for three years now from walmart stores and have never been caught. i dont do this for fun or for the thrill, but because i kind of have to. i dont have any money and my mother is.. well.. extreemly irrisponsible. i have been living with my friend for two years. i dont have a home of my own. of the things i steal among these are food, clothing, cds, and lots of things from the craft isle. i steal things for my friends most of the time. we are all in the same boat and i love to give them things. we all make eachother happy. we always pick up things for eachother."

Notice the party does not do it for "the fun or the thrill" but because they "have" to. Apparently they "have" to have CD's, craft items and gifts for their friends. In another part of the post the party (a teen) states they live with a friend.

This is the typical shoplifter. They have been doing it for years, are rarely if ever caught and have no compunction about repeating their crime.
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#80 Consumer Comment

To Dmitrij and Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Dmitrij: Check the Stars and Stripes or the Herald Post. There are normally 3-4 advertisements for Attorneys that speak fluent English, I recall one or two that are former JAG attorneys advertising.

Carol:

Noticed the following in another post here, and I found it interesting. This is the typical "shoplifter" sob story-

"i also am a shoplifter. i have been shoplifting for three years now from walmart stores and have never been caught. i dont do this for fun or for the thrill, but because i kind of have to. i dont have any money and my mother is.. well.. extreemly irrisponsible. i have been living with my friend for two years. i dont have a home of my own. of the things i steal among these are food, clothing, cds, and lots of things from the craft isle. i steal things for my friends most of the time. we are all in the same boat and i love to give them things. we all make eachother happy. we always pick up things for eachother."

Notice the party does not do it for "the fun or the thrill" but because they "have" to. Apparently they "have" to have CD's, craft items and gifts for their friends. In another part of the post the party (a teen) states they live with a friend.

This is the typical shoplifter. They have been doing it for years, are rarely if ever caught and have no compunction about repeating their crime.
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#81 Consumer Comment

To Dmitrij and Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Dmitrij: Check the Stars and Stripes or the Herald Post. There are normally 3-4 advertisements for Attorneys that speak fluent English, I recall one or two that are former JAG attorneys advertising.

Carol:

Noticed the following in another post here, and I found it interesting. This is the typical "shoplifter" sob story-

"i also am a shoplifter. i have been shoplifting for three years now from walmart stores and have never been caught. i dont do this for fun or for the thrill, but because i kind of have to. i dont have any money and my mother is.. well.. extreemly irrisponsible. i have been living with my friend for two years. i dont have a home of my own. of the things i steal among these are food, clothing, cds, and lots of things from the craft isle. i steal things for my friends most of the time. we are all in the same boat and i love to give them things. we all make eachother happy. we always pick up things for eachother."

Notice the party does not do it for "the fun or the thrill" but because they "have" to. Apparently they "have" to have CD's, craft items and gifts for their friends. In another part of the post the party (a teen) states they live with a friend.

This is the typical shoplifter. They have been doing it for years, are rarely if ever caught and have no compunction about repeating their crime.
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#82 Author of original report

Thanks for reading my comments and the comments of others.

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Jane! Thanks for reading my comments and the comments of others. Do you work in the area of Loss Prevention or Collection of Civil Recovery Demands? I am happy that you are thinking about this because it is human nature to want to justify the present public policy, and you are part of that policy and want to protect it. It appears you don't know that some stores, like AAFES, appear to deliberately not protect their CD's and DVD's and Tapes from ten-year-olds so that they can get these $200 fines from their parents. The AAFES even brags about this "open" policy on the internet and they are so incompetent that they can't figure out how to discount their merchandise without using easily removable and transferable discount tickets on their merchandise?

As I previously noted, I am not denigrating LP personnel because this is your job -----to catch people who are trying to steal and to send them to the police for punishment ----and to make them available to pay civil demands to your employer.

We all come from a different point of view. But, because I am old, and because as a very young person, I worked in retail stores, I know how Shoplifting was handled before public policy gave the subsidy to the corporate retailers.
In those days, we didn't have the high tech surveillance equipment and devices and we had to depend on eye witness and intimidation when we approached shoplifters. Normally, if they were amateurs, their "own guilt" would cause them to immediately confess with an excuse and an offer to pay Some would cry and carry on and others would say nothing but would surrender the merchandise with an offer to pay. We approached these shoplifters quietly and asked to talk to them PRIVATELY of course. Most of these shoplifters had paid merchandise in their possession and were just "lifting" small items that were concealed on their person or their possessions and we tried to be absolutely certain that this was so before we stopped them. Almost all of them would pay for the merchandise and promise that it would never happen again, etc.. The stores had different policies. Some kept lists and would prosecute second offenders under city ordinances ----some stores never prosecuted. Some stores requested these shoplifters to sign "forgot to pay" certificates ------and all were warned that the store could prosecute if it ever happened again. The retail stores then hired more clerks and were careful how and where they displayed their expensive merechandise. The toal was to get the merchandise paid for. "Shoplifting" was part of normal overhead costs as was security but the retail stores still managed to post profits for themselves and their stockholders and grow through most of the 20th Century.

It was a problem for the retailers but government considered that it was their problem to solve and not the problem of the government because this was private property being sold to private citizens on private property for private profits. It was a "civil" matter because when an agent of the retailer saw an attempt to steal, the retailer's obligation under the law to be diligent would render the retailer responsible to stop the attempt to steal and ask for payment for the merchandise. (The language of the old statutes that described the crime of "stealing" required that the defendant "permanently withhold" the merchandise from the owner ---which suggested that the owner had the obligation to stop an attempt to steal and ask for payment for the merchandise,)

But, when the retail industry wanted to change the way they sold merchandise to the public; i.e. in larger and larger square footage areas with walls that opened into Mall Areas that encouraged shoppers to walk from one store to the other, and with more central checkouts, and fewer service clerks, etc. they knew that "shoplifting" would be encouraged.

It was then that the Retail Lobby and our elected government officials got together and dreamed up the "scheme" of rendering "shoplifting" a completed larceny for which "civil recovery demand letters" could be sent to apprehended shoplifters by the retailers. The lower courts would have to agree to this "scheme" and, unfortunately, they did ----because most of the judges in the lower courts are employees of
the cities and they felt bound to follow the policies of the cities for the "public good"! The cities would have to sell the people's power of arrest to the corporate retailers' security employees to render apprehended shoplifting a completed theft. We would now have secret city police working on private retail property throughout our nation for the "public good"?

But, the civil demand letters permitted by law to be sent out of view of the courts has resulted in abuses. The LP Industry and the Civil Recovery Collection Industry has grown and shoplifting is not being deterred because it is instinctive for the LP Industry and the Civil Recovery Industry to want to perpetuate themselves and their profits, etc.. Some retailers are deliberately entrapping for profits. If you can demand $200 for a 50 cent item that you permit a shopper to conceal, allow that shopper to go through checkout, and then detain/arrest that person and get $200, why would you prevent shoplifting, ever? If you give the retailers the incentive to arrest for profit, you can be sure that they will do so and they will encourage shoplifting, i.e. theft.

Now that the federal government is demanding $200 from the troops, do you think it will be long before the States who have lower MINIMUMS will push their minimums to $200?

No Jane, I am not encouraging theft. It is the government-retail alliance that is encouraging theft because they won't discourage "shoplifting"!

Thank you for your comments. I was born in the Windy City and I worked for Carson Pirie Scott (sp?) many years ago and also for The National Tea Company ------before your time, I'm sure.


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#83 Consumer Comment

Lawyer Cost

AUTHOR: Dimitrij - (U.S.A.)

Thank you Carol! Thank you AAFES Viernheim!
I guess I don't have any other option as to get a lawyer. I haven't heard from the german state attorney so I'll have tio call the german police and find out where and who has taken over the case (if it even turns out to be a case!!).
I wonder if AAFES is going to have to take over my lawyer cost if they can't prove that my fiancee (and me) is guilty??

I'm going to have to find a lawyer that is specialized in american and german law.
Do you know of any, AAFES Viernheim?
Thanks in advance
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#84 Consumer Comment

Carol you are encouraging theft!

AUTHOR: Jane - (U.S.A.)

Carol, I have read most of this stuff you have written. Have you considered that your idea (of warning people prior to leaving the store) will actually ENCOURAGE theft! How so you might ask?

Consider this: If you require a LP associate, secret police officer or whomever to approach a so called first time shoplifter and tell them the ' I see you have concealed stuff and you should pay for it speech' then wouldnt it stand to reason that everyone who did NOT get the speech would realize that they have not been obvserved and thus free to get away with the concealed merchandise...any so called first time offender would be free to steal conceal to their hearts content.

The ten year old boy you talked about now PLANS to go to the store with 4 more of his friends. Each of them go to the video game shelf pick up for games and depart to varioius ends of the store (each with four games). They all conceal them. The law of averages assumes that at least one of them wont be observed. (and the more savy ones can have a friend that will make it a point to be observed)

Anywhoo, the 3 who get caught simply return the merchandise, and while being confronted it gives the diversion to the unseen child who is not free to leave the store because he was not observed and thus not given the speeck and thus 'entraped' by your own logic. The 'warning' would allow these thieves to sharpen their skills and even provide a training ground ....(images of the artful dodger and oliver twist come to mind).

Once outside the store, the four friends/thieves each take a game and go home and plan tommorrows hid and seek game with the now powerless loss prevention associates. I really cannot see how you think that this would be a great idea. Hell shoplifting would not even be a crime because it would cease to exist. As you have already conceeded, NO one after having been approached would say 'yeah I know you saw me so I am going to just take this anyway, catch me if you can'. So this would effectively eliminate shoplifting arrests altogether.

If a shoplifter was not given "the speech", that shoplifter could then file some kind of discrimination suit based on the arguements from your aforemention postings.

If this idea was not so sad (because you appear to have the intelligence to stand behind much more worthy causes), it would almost be funny!
I hope to read that this is simply some sort of toastmasters assignment
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#85 Author of original report

No Due Process for $200 Demand

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Dimitrij! I think you may have misunderstood the GM ---if he indicated that you needed an attorney to fight the civil recovery demand of $200 made by AAFES --i.e. that there would be some kind of a formal hearing concerning this $200 demand if you fail to remit it to the AAFES as demanded.

There is NO FEDERAL or UCMJ tort law under which the AAFES can sue you for this $200. They can, however, threaten to tell your comman der or your supervisor and/or threaten to take it out of your government pay. Whether or not they can do this under US Treasury Law, I don't know!

I believe that this $200 Civil Demand that is based on a debt owed to the federal government is not a legally enforceable debt under federal law ---but I am not an attorney. You could ask your German Lawyer or the JAG lawyer - but they may be hesitant to talk to you about this.

If the JAG won't have anything to do with it, I'm sure that the Post or Facility or Garrison Commander will not get involved, either. I know in the States, they suggest that you can write to the CG or GC of AAFES or the MWR officer of the PX and BX aznd explain why you feel you shouldn't have to pay the $200. I think that this is the only "due process of law" procedure that exists, and the AAFES is the judge and the jury and has a definite confluct of interest, I would say.

Because the German authorities are determining whether or not they will file criminal charges against your fiancee or because your German attorney will be wanting to plea bargain with the German authorities, you may feel that you are putting your fiancee in some kind of danger by not paying the $200 to the AAFES. Becuse, of course, it will be the AAFES LP personnel who will witness against your fiancee in the German Court should your fiancee plead "not guilty" to the criminal charge.

You may feel "squeezed" and feel that you have to pay the AAFES $200 to protect her interests in the criminal court, or to insure that she is offered a plea bargain by the German Court.

You should ask your German attorney if they have Civil Recovery Demand Letters for Shoplifting for the German Retailers. Be sure to do this ----in your own interests. If they do, you can be sure that the German Courts may have also closed their lower courts to any defense to a ticket or a citatikon for shoplifting, larceny, because their lower courts would inherit the same unconstitutional bias as the American lower courts. You will have to take your attorney's advice because you can't fight public policy and the government and the subsidy for the retailers.

I think that your best recourse would be to print off some of the communications from this Rip-Off report of this $200 fine and fax or wire it to your Senator or your Congressman. Tell him that you feel "squeezed" and ask him or her if the Congress intended the AAFES to do this to the American personnel stationed in Germany. Ask for help from those who can give it to you.

In the meantime, you could perhaps inform the GM of AAFES that you are not goling to pay the $200 until you hear from your Congress person or Senator.

Good Luck, Dimitrij! And, stand tall!
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#86 Consumer Comment

The civil recovery fee

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Don't waste your time with the GM, this person is quite customer unfriendly and believes the LP personnel are always right.

Your only real option is to appeal the civil recovery fee to higher authority, the facility commander in this case I believe.

If your German attorney can obtain copies of the video, and the act did not occur as you state, they will be hard pressed to assess the fee.
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#87 Consumer Comment

Some Problems

AUTHOR: Dimitrij - (U.S.A.)

Thank you AAFES Viernheim for your reply !
I'm aware of the German locals situation and always made sure that I paid from my money at the cash register. ( When I was stopped I thought at first this was a custom problem).

After receiving the letter from the AAFES Loss Prevention I went to the GM of Heidelberg AAFES ( no names for a reason) and wanted to explain him that there is no case ( the state attorney has not written us yet). He informed me that the $200 are under american law and the case is handled under the german legal system. In other words I have to get an american lawyer and go to an american court if I refuse to pay the money.
I went to JAG but they told me they are not getting involved in this.

I can disagree with this demand and the General Manager can waive the debt but I feel like I have no chance of defending myself ( being the sponsor of my fiancee ) and have to hope of the "grace" of the general manager.

So you see I don't think involving the german lawyer would help me in this situation.

Thanks for your time AAFES Viernheim! I really appreciate it !!

P.S. The letter I have received from the HD Loss Prevention has a few mistakes ( wrong items listed , wrong discount and states I did not pay for the items , wich is also not true ( i payed for the price that was on the price tags)!!)
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#88 Consumer Comment

Ask your lawyer to review the video

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Ask your lawyer to review the video. There must be clear evidence that the discount stickers were changed on the items.

It is a sticky situation to shop with Local Nationals in an AAFES store in Germany. Under German customs regulations they may recieve gifts from you worth small amounts, but unless they are dependents to actually be shopping in the store with you and have you pay for the items, being reimbursed later is not allowed.

Yes, I know everyone does it. However, it is still not allowed. I have seen employees lose their jobs simply by having a non-id card holder hand the authorized shopper cash at the register.

The act of "switching" discount stickers is very, very common. The accusation must be backed up by evidence.

The LP manager at Heidelberg/Mannheim is a local national who has been working at the facility for a very long time. He has a lot of influence with the German prosecutors so make sure your lawyer reviews the video and entire case throughly.
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#89 Author of original report

Sticker Entrapment and profits for AAFES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

This sure looks like deliberate "sticker" entrapment. The AAFES places these easily removable stickers on items that are indiscriminately displayed with differering discounts, knowing that good shoppers will look for the greatest discount ----and if there is a discrepancy between two like items that have a discount ticket, the shopper will place the lowest discount sticker on the item that they want to buy.

The AAFES places high tech video over these areas and "catches" shoppers in the act of changing a sticker. They are then accused of fraud after they are allowed and permitted to exit the Exchange Store. (A young Phillipine Honor Student and member of the Military was destroyed by AAFES when he moved a sticker on a DVD or a Tape from one to the other and was deported back home in disgrace.) What a terrible thing to do to a human being who tried so hard to excel and make his parents and his country proud of him. I am ashamed.

This practice of entrapping shoppers and turning them into the police is a fascist practice and a subsidy for the corporate retailers BUT REMEMBER THAT THE RETAIL CORPORATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WESTERN WORLD support the practice of teaching "first time" shoplifters (those people with no criminal record) a lesson they won't forget ----and government, and not the retailer is responsible for the prosecution of the complaint in the courts. It is not AAFES but the German Police and the German Government who will prosecute your fiancee on "probable cause", I assume.


If you have a German attorney, he will do his best for you and your fiancee will probably not incur a criminal record but you will probably have to opt for a plea bargain because the German Courts are probably closed to any defense to a ticket for stealing (fraud) from a retailer, just like the US Courts.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if you refuse to pay the $200 to the AAFES. They would probably take your privileges from you but maybe not, because it wasn't you who changed the sticker and you still have Constitutional Rights. If you pay the $200, you are voluntarily admitting that your fiancee had criminal intent to discount the items that she purchased, and you are voluntarily paying the $200 that was set by policy of AAFES and not by law, in my opinion.


Viwenheim, I am shocked that you are willing to sacrifice innocents to this scam and scheme. For- profit retailers have an obligation to get their merchandise paid for, to ask for payment from those shoppers who appear to be attempting to steal or to be defrauding the stores, etc.. Retailers are not in the businesse of "character development" and "first time detained shoplifters" should have "money in the bank"; meaning that their good character and good record for an entire lifetime should give them the benefit of the doubt if they have no criminal record. They should be presumed innocent and not presumed guilty by the retailer AND the government.


Civil Demands in the Global Economy will make the rich much richer and I feel this is the plan.


MIT who were primary in the development of RFID chips indicated that these chips could prevent "shoplifting" but already the "powers that be" are working to prevent any regulation of these chips by the FTC that would make it mandatory for retailers to ask for payment for chipped retail merchandise before the shoppers depart the stores. The retailers don't want to give up their "civil demand" letters made out of view of the courts and out of view of the taxing authorities. They want to steal completely out of view of government and the people and government helps them to do this.
But you "hard-a*s" types who want to put everybody in jail and punish bad character play right into their hands. The powerful have always used the less powerful to do their dirty work ---but democracies are supposed to be different.


But, make no mistake, civil recovery demand letters for shoplifting together with criminal citations are becoming a world practice and subsidy for the retailers of the world who will operate in the "global economy" and, of course, the poor of all of the countries will suffer the greatest harm from this practice.
Let the buyer beware! WRITE OR TELEPHONE OR EMAIL OR FAX YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES TODAY. STOP THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FINE ON OUR TROOPS. Demand that the AAFES prevent shoplifting in government retail stores.
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#90 Author of original report

Sticker Entrapment and profits for AAFES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

This sure looks like deliberate "sticker" entrapment. The AAFES places these easily removable stickers on items that are indiscriminately displayed with differering discounts, knowing that good shoppers will look for the greatest discount ----and if there is a discrepancy between two like items that have a discount ticket, the shopper will place the lowest discount sticker on the item that they want to buy.

The AAFES places high tech video over these areas and "catches" shoppers in the act of changing a sticker. They are then accused of fraud after they are allowed and permitted to exit the Exchange Store. (A young Phillipine Honor Student and member of the Military was destroyed by AAFES when he moved a sticker on a DVD or a Tape from one to the other and was deported back home in disgrace.) What a terrible thing to do to a human being who tried so hard to excel and make his parents and his country proud of him. I am ashamed.

This practice of entrapping shoppers and turning them into the police is a fascist practice and a subsidy for the corporate retailers BUT REMEMBER THAT THE RETAIL CORPORATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WESTERN WORLD support the practice of teaching "first time" shoplifters (those people with no criminal record) a lesson they won't forget ----and government, and not the retailer is responsible for the prosecution of the complaint in the courts. It is not AAFES but the German Police and the German Government who will prosecute your fiancee on "probable cause", I assume.


If you have a German attorney, he will do his best for you and your fiancee will probably not incur a criminal record but you will probably have to opt for a plea bargain because the German Courts are probably closed to any defense to a ticket for stealing (fraud) from a retailer, just like the US Courts.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if you refuse to pay the $200 to the AAFES. They would probably take your privileges from you but maybe not, because it wasn't you who changed the sticker and you still have Constitutional Rights. If you pay the $200, you are voluntarily admitting that your fiancee had criminal intent to discount the items that she purchased, and you are voluntarily paying the $200 that was set by policy of AAFES and not by law, in my opinion.


Viwenheim, I am shocked that you are willing to sacrifice innocents to this scam and scheme. For- profit retailers have an obligation to get their merchandise paid for, to ask for payment from those shoppers who appear to be attempting to steal or to be defrauding the stores, etc.. Retailers are not in the businesse of "character development" and "first time detained shoplifters" should have "money in the bank"; meaning that their good character and good record for an entire lifetime should give them the benefit of the doubt if they have no criminal record. They should be presumed innocent and not presumed guilty by the retailer AND the government.


Civil Demands in the Global Economy will make the rich much richer and I feel this is the plan.


MIT who were primary in the development of RFID chips indicated that these chips could prevent "shoplifting" but already the "powers that be" are working to prevent any regulation of these chips by the FTC that would make it mandatory for retailers to ask for payment for chipped retail merchandise before the shoppers depart the stores. The retailers don't want to give up their "civil demand" letters made out of view of the courts and out of view of the taxing authorities. They want to steal completely out of view of government and the people and government helps them to do this.
But you "hard-a*s" types who want to put everybody in jail and punish bad character play right into their hands. The powerful have always used the less powerful to do their dirty work ---but democracies are supposed to be different.


But, make no mistake, civil recovery demand letters for shoplifting together with criminal citations are becoming a world practice and subsidy for the retailers of the world who will operate in the "global economy" and, of course, the poor of all of the countries will suffer the greatest harm from this practice.
Let the buyer beware! WRITE OR TELEPHONE OR EMAIL OR FAX YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES TODAY. STOP THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FINE ON OUR TROOPS. Demand that the AAFES prevent shoplifting in government retail stores.
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#91 Consumer Comment

Inocent AAFES customer

AUTHOR: Dimitrij - (U.S.A.)

Hello Carol , Hello AAFES Viernheim !
I don't wont to go in full detail of this incident but being a customer of AAFES for about 35 years I couldn't believe what had happend that day :

My fiancee (a german citizen) is what I call a power-shopper. She will compare prices and memorize them and compare again so she will notice a good bargain ( this counts for the german economy aas for AAFES). I have to stand by her ( she is my "GUEST") and so I can see the prices and how aften AAFES has items with different prices in their sale stand ( with 25% stickers , with 50% stickers and 75 %stickers although they are the absolut same product). That day my fiancee chose a Levis's vest and a T-shirt. After purchasing the product and leaving the facility I was confronted by a man that said I need to follow him ( please note: no identification , not telling us what the problem is !!!!).

I didn't want to start a scene so I followed the man to their office. Their another man told us to sit and wait for the MP's (Still not telling us what the problem is).A few things happend there in this small office I don't want to go in detail ( I might need it in court) that were absolut not ok ( they way they talked to us and treated us) . After about 40 min. an MP officer arrived and shortly afterwards the german police and first then we were told my fiancee was accused of fraud ( putting on sales stickers on items). My fiancee almost had a nervous breakdown there !!!

After being body searched we gave our data and refused to comment ( leaving this to our german lawyer). Now to the accusation : The store detectives said they have everything on video. They never looked in our bag and never showed us the items my fiancee supposedly taken the price tags off.

I took the MP officer and the german police into the PX and showed them a few items that were not on sale but had 25% stickers on them as proof for the german court.

I feel that AAFES has a serious pricing problem ( for sure in Heidelberg). This is not the first time I have witnessed strong differences in one of the same products !!

Now I'm supposed to pay $200 for something my fiancee never did !!

AAFES Viernheim , do you think the detectives handled right ??
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#92 Consumer Comment

I read the story Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

I read the story. It could well have been one of the "inadvertant" cases in which a shopper actually forgot.

However, you should be aware that this is a VERY common way for shoplifters to conceal merchandise. From hiding merchandise in strollers to hiding merchandise UNDER A BABY in a car seat or carrier is very, very common.

In the story, you hear one side. Like all stories there are three sides, hers, the LP's, and the truth.

If the other poster asks questions I can answer regarding policies etc. I will happily answer what I can.
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#93 Author of original report

To Be Wrongly Accused is Painful

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Viernheim!

When the public policy on shoplifting was changed and all persons who pass final checkout without paying, etc.. or other acts are accused of larceny, some innocents are sacrificed to the expediency of this scheme everyday throughout the US.

Please go to Google Search and type in either "The Injustice Line" or Go to the "More Injustice Stories" and scroll down to "Woman Wrongly Accused of Shoplifting"! This is the only story I have read that exposes how the court system has been tainted to protect the corporate retailers and the subsidy of civil recovery. Washington State is one of the states that has a $200 MiNIMUM Civil recovery. The writer expresses the pain of his wife who has been wrongly accused of "stealing" and the impact on their family. If you are a moral and good person, it is the most painful thing in the world to be accused of something and to not be able to defend yourself under the law -----to have no recourse to prove your innocence.

This story has been on-line for a couple of years and I assume this is a real person ---who does not answer his Email ------ or his phone calls concerning this matter because he was probably overwhelmed with comments. But, of course, it could also be a clearing site for many complaints that can be viewed by the courts and the Bar. I really don't know. He is an outstanding writer who made you feel the pain and the injustice of this "shoplifting scam"!

I hope you can help the responder who needs help! Minor Fraud, of course, is "stealing" under federal law or perhaps it concerns a lot of money and will be prosecuted by the local authorities. Let's hope not and let's hope he writes you his questions and you can help in some way ----in good conscience.


CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#94 Consumer Comment

You can ask your questions here

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

You can ask your questions here, I will tell you what I know of the policies, etc. and hopefully it will steer you in the right direction to resolve the issue.
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#95 Consumer Comment

They sure feel like secret police

AUTHOR: Dimitrij - (U.S.A.)

I had an incident 3 weeks ago and if posible Viernheim AAFES could we get in contact ( live real close to Viernheim) ? Basically my girlfriend is accused of fraud and she didn't do anything and I believe that the detectives handled the situation very poorly and I have some questions concerning AAFES guidelines cause knowone can or wants to help me.
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#96 Author of original report

Shoplifting Due Process Rights

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks, Viernheim, for your comments and encouragement.

You are a gentleman and I have enjoyed our debate.

I have been very persistent for two or three years in writing to members of Congress and to the Government, etc.. and knew that the "silence" confirmed that the law concerning the making of the law had been circumvented. I will "continue my march" with the hope that some of the people "sworn" to protect our Constitution will do their duty under the law -----if they have not already done so.

The letter from the Head of the DOD Hotline last month was a victory for me because it was the first acknowledgement of my complaint in writing by the DOD, and I could assume that the DOD IG had read the contents of my letter to the President's Integrity Committee because he must have hand-carried it back and given it to the Head of the DOD Hotline after the meeting of the Committee. He must have instructed the DOD Hotline Head to write to me and to tell me that all of my appeals were exhausted and to write to the Congress.

It is the "shoplifting" of the "law" that is the primary offense in my mind as well as the compromise of "due process rights" for military personnel that resulted from the "shoplifting" of the law. It is also a form of double jeopardy because it punishes the one offense with two fines for the federal government and a criminal record. And, of course there is no standard for the debt of Civil Recovery or the tort of Civil Recovery in federal law, and the debt is, therefore, not a legal debt under the law.

Shoplifters are sneaky and this back-door appropriation of the law was sneaky as well -----even though a lot of good people went along with it out of the desire to be good team players, and out of their sense that it was an appropriate action to take. And, others initiated it out of their desire to profit.

At least, our conversations appear on the Google Search Engine under Shoplifting AAFES, etc. and also under Arbitrary Fines and Administrative Fees, etc... and we have brought some sunlight to the matter.

I think the Internet will do great things for democracy and The First Amendment. I am not a liberal as you have assumed. I do believe in the death penalty and am grateful that the State assumes the guilt for the actual act on my behalf. I am grateful that we now have DNA that will prevent innocents from being put to death by the State. I am against "abortion" as "birth control" but how can you prevent abortion in a society and culture that allows the corporations who advertise to use sex to sell everything from tacos to automobiles and who celebrate "adultery" (a different form of stealing) on the air waves in dramas for the entertainment of the masses.

America has become a crude and rude place in which to live and polutes the soil in which our children are grown. Our consciousness is formed by all that we see and hear and read, etc. but we are taught to be good consumers and to value ourselves on the basis of what we own and not by our good character and this is good for business -----and what is good for business is good for the world. It is not good for business to create a populace with good character who are self disciplined and who will not take on more debt than they can afford, etc. etc... and who will "save" for a rainny day!

NBC had a little drama that they cancelled that was called "Heist". Heist featured main charactors who did big heists for a living but were portrayed as attractive and nice people, of course, (a Steve McQueen type) and an attractive young Police Detective who had the "flaw" of lifting things from stores or restaurants, etc...for excitement or to prove that she could get away with it. I was going to write to NBC and complain that there were people sitting in prison for life for "shoplifting offenses" and that this was irresponsible -----but the show was cancelled, thank God.

In democracies, we have the freedom to be very good and to be very bad ----but so much of the bad is winning out and the good people are overwhelmed and they then permit their governments to become more autocratic and totalitarian to protect the "good" values of the culture. But, we are in a transition here in this country. Even the respectible corporations are in the busines of pornography because it is so profitable. And, it is so profitable, of course, because it serves the prurient interests of human nature, etc.. and if there is profit to be made from "human nature", capitalism, of course, will be there to get it.

What is good for the family is no longer the defining principle of government and business and the "family" has been redefined as well, in our culture. For people of the older generations, this produces great conflict and discomfort. What we were brought up to view as perversion is now the constitutional right of gays ----lesbians and homosexuals ---etc.. and we try to understand this and adjust to the changing times and the changing norms. We do want to "do unto others as we would want them to do unto us" and our laws reflect the changing values of true democracies.

The conflict now between the Executive and the Congress is a sign of the times. Because of terrorism, the people are willing to give the government latitude and willing to forgive the President for breaking the law ------but, this, of course, is dangerous -----because in a democracy ----no one is above the law ----not even the President and His Men. And, if the war on terrorism is going to last for many years, we have to figure out how to combat it without breaking our laws.

The law is all we have to keep us from eating each other. We have not progressed very far from the jungle. It was just a few years ago that we had people hanging from wires in concentration camps waiting for the furnace. Millions of Americans have died to protect the law and The Bill of Rights for the living and the living must be diligent in their protection of The Bill of Rights for those generations to come.

This is my Memorial Day lecture! I guess it is Auf Viedersehen, Viernheim. You are a good man and a gentleman and I respect your views and understand where you are coming from.

Yes, I am one of those "nut cases" who voted for Ralph Nader. He was "my man" who always used the law to benefit the people and not to glorify his image and to become a billionaire and a servant of the corporations. He saved millions of lives in this country and he always told the truth ----even when it was to his disadvantage. He is a man of great character and personal courage and a great mind and intellect -----but these are qualities that have no value on the Stock Market or in the Global Economy ----and the people have been trained to give their proxies to either of the political parties of this country, who have both done great damage to the people of our nation out of political ambition and not out of patriotism and love and respect for the people.

It has probably always been this way. I am an idealist. But, politics are entertainment today, and the election of the President is "product" for the "machine" of the media and maybe ---because The Press and the Media are The Fourth Branch of Government, it is really they who determine who becomes The President of our Great Republic and our struggling democracy. We have to hope that the corporate structure of the Press and Media will not prevent the Press and the Media from telling the people the truth. This is a danger that faces democracies in the world today.

You can see I like to talk. Sorry about that. Really, Auf Wiedersehen, now!
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#97 Author of original report

Shoplifting Due Process Rights

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks, Viernheim, for your comments and encouragement.

You are a gentleman and I have enjoyed our debate.

I have been very persistent for two or three years in writing to members of Congress and to the Government, etc.. and knew that the "silence" confirmed that the law concerning the making of the law had been circumvented. I will "continue my march" with the hope that some of the people "sworn" to protect our Constitution will do their duty under the law -----if they have not already done so.

The letter from the Head of the DOD Hotline last month was a victory for me because it was the first acknowledgement of my complaint in writing by the DOD, and I could assume that the DOD IG had read the contents of my letter to the President's Integrity Committee because he must have hand-carried it back and given it to the Head of the DOD Hotline after the meeting of the Committee. He must have instructed the DOD Hotline Head to write to me and to tell me that all of my appeals were exhausted and to write to the Congress.

It is the "shoplifting" of the "law" that is the primary offense in my mind as well as the compromise of "due process rights" for military personnel that resulted from the "shoplifting" of the law. It is also a form of double jeopardy because it punishes the one offense with two fines for the federal government and a criminal record. And, of course there is no standard for the debt of Civil Recovery or the tort of Civil Recovery in federal law, and the debt is, therefore, not a legal debt under the law.

Shoplifters are sneaky and this back-door appropriation of the law was sneaky as well -----even though a lot of good people went along with it out of the desire to be good team players, and out of their sense that it was an appropriate action to take. And, others initiated it out of their desire to profit.

At least, our conversations appear on the Google Search Engine under Shoplifting AAFES, etc. and also under Arbitrary Fines and Administrative Fees, etc... and we have brought some sunlight to the matter.

I think the Internet will do great things for democracy and The First Amendment. I am not a liberal as you have assumed. I do believe in the death penalty and am grateful that the State assumes the guilt for the actual act on my behalf. I am grateful that we now have DNA that will prevent innocents from being put to death by the State. I am against "abortion" as "birth control" but how can you prevent abortion in a society and culture that allows the corporations who advertise to use sex to sell everything from tacos to automobiles and who celebrate "adultery" (a different form of stealing) on the air waves in dramas for the entertainment of the masses.

America has become a crude and rude place in which to live and polutes the soil in which our children are grown. Our consciousness is formed by all that we see and hear and read, etc. but we are taught to be good consumers and to value ourselves on the basis of what we own and not by our good character and this is good for business -----and what is good for business is good for the world. It is not good for business to create a populace with good character who are self disciplined and who will not take on more debt than they can afford, etc. etc... and who will "save" for a rainny day!

NBC had a little drama that they cancelled that was called "Heist". Heist featured main charactors who did big heists for a living but were portrayed as attractive and nice people, of course, (a Steve McQueen type) and an attractive young Police Detective who had the "flaw" of lifting things from stores or restaurants, etc...for excitement or to prove that she could get away with it. I was going to write to NBC and complain that there were people sitting in prison for life for "shoplifting offenses" and that this was irresponsible -----but the show was cancelled, thank God.

In democracies, we have the freedom to be very good and to be very bad ----but so much of the bad is winning out and the good people are overwhelmed and they then permit their governments to become more autocratic and totalitarian to protect the "good" values of the culture. But, we are in a transition here in this country. Even the respectible corporations are in the busines of pornography because it is so profitable. And, it is so profitable, of course, because it serves the prurient interests of human nature, etc.. and if there is profit to be made from "human nature", capitalism, of course, will be there to get it.

What is good for the family is no longer the defining principle of government and business and the "family" has been redefined as well, in our culture. For people of the older generations, this produces great conflict and discomfort. What we were brought up to view as perversion is now the constitutional right of gays ----lesbians and homosexuals ---etc.. and we try to understand this and adjust to the changing times and the changing norms. We do want to "do unto others as we would want them to do unto us" and our laws reflect the changing values of true democracies.

The conflict now between the Executive and the Congress is a sign of the times. Because of terrorism, the people are willing to give the government latitude and willing to forgive the President for breaking the law ------but, this, of course, is dangerous -----because in a democracy ----no one is above the law ----not even the President and His Men. And, if the war on terrorism is going to last for many years, we have to figure out how to combat it without breaking our laws.

The law is all we have to keep us from eating each other. We have not progressed very far from the jungle. It was just a few years ago that we had people hanging from wires in concentration camps waiting for the furnace. Millions of Americans have died to protect the law and The Bill of Rights for the living and the living must be diligent in their protection of The Bill of Rights for those generations to come.

This is my Memorial Day lecture! I guess it is Auf Viedersehen, Viernheim. You are a good man and a gentleman and I respect your views and understand where you are coming from.

Yes, I am one of those "nut cases" who voted for Ralph Nader. He was "my man" who always used the law to benefit the people and not to glorify his image and to become a billionaire and a servant of the corporations. He saved millions of lives in this country and he always told the truth ----even when it was to his disadvantage. He is a man of great character and personal courage and a great mind and intellect -----but these are qualities that have no value on the Stock Market or in the Global Economy ----and the people have been trained to give their proxies to either of the political parties of this country, who have both done great damage to the people of our nation out of political ambition and not out of patriotism and love and respect for the people.

It has probably always been this way. I am an idealist. But, politics are entertainment today, and the election of the President is "product" for the "machine" of the media and maybe ---because The Press and the Media are The Fourth Branch of Government, it is really they who determine who becomes The President of our Great Republic and our struggling democracy. We have to hope that the corporate structure of the Press and Media will not prevent the Press and the Media from telling the people the truth. This is a danger that faces democracies in the world today.

You can see I like to talk. Sorry about that. Really, Auf Wiedersehen, now!
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#98 Author of original report

Shoplifting Due Process Rights

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks, Viernheim, for your comments and encouragement.

You are a gentleman and I have enjoyed our debate.

I have been very persistent for two or three years in writing to members of Congress and to the Government, etc.. and knew that the "silence" confirmed that the law concerning the making of the law had been circumvented. I will "continue my march" with the hope that some of the people "sworn" to protect our Constitution will do their duty under the law -----if they have not already done so.

The letter from the Head of the DOD Hotline last month was a victory for me because it was the first acknowledgement of my complaint in writing by the DOD, and I could assume that the DOD IG had read the contents of my letter to the President's Integrity Committee because he must have hand-carried it back and given it to the Head of the DOD Hotline after the meeting of the Committee. He must have instructed the DOD Hotline Head to write to me and to tell me that all of my appeals were exhausted and to write to the Congress.

It is the "shoplifting" of the "law" that is the primary offense in my mind as well as the compromise of "due process rights" for military personnel that resulted from the "shoplifting" of the law. It is also a form of double jeopardy because it punishes the one offense with two fines for the federal government and a criminal record. And, of course there is no standard for the debt of Civil Recovery or the tort of Civil Recovery in federal law, and the debt is, therefore, not a legal debt under the law.

Shoplifters are sneaky and this back-door appropriation of the law was sneaky as well -----even though a lot of good people went along with it out of the desire to be good team players, and out of their sense that it was an appropriate action to take. And, others initiated it out of their desire to profit.

At least, our conversations appear on the Google Search Engine under Shoplifting AAFES, etc. and also under Arbitrary Fines and Administrative Fees, etc... and we have brought some sunlight to the matter.

I think the Internet will do great things for democracy and The First Amendment. I am not a liberal as you have assumed. I do believe in the death penalty and am grateful that the State assumes the guilt for the actual act on my behalf. I am grateful that we now have DNA that will prevent innocents from being put to death by the State. I am against "abortion" as "birth control" but how can you prevent abortion in a society and culture that allows the corporations who advertise to use sex to sell everything from tacos to automobiles and who celebrate "adultery" (a different form of stealing) on the air waves in dramas for the entertainment of the masses.

America has become a crude and rude place in which to live and polutes the soil in which our children are grown. Our consciousness is formed by all that we see and hear and read, etc. but we are taught to be good consumers and to value ourselves on the basis of what we own and not by our good character and this is good for business -----and what is good for business is good for the world. It is not good for business to create a populace with good character who are self disciplined and who will not take on more debt than they can afford, etc. etc... and who will "save" for a rainny day!

NBC had a little drama that they cancelled that was called "Heist". Heist featured main charactors who did big heists for a living but were portrayed as attractive and nice people, of course, (a Steve McQueen type) and an attractive young Police Detective who had the "flaw" of lifting things from stores or restaurants, etc...for excitement or to prove that she could get away with it. I was going to write to NBC and complain that there were people sitting in prison for life for "shoplifting offenses" and that this was irresponsible -----but the show was cancelled, thank God.

In democracies, we have the freedom to be very good and to be very bad ----but so much of the bad is winning out and the good people are overwhelmed and they then permit their governments to become more autocratic and totalitarian to protect the "good" values of the culture. But, we are in a transition here in this country. Even the respectible corporations are in the busines of pornography because it is so profitable. And, it is so profitable, of course, because it serves the prurient interests of human nature, etc.. and if there is profit to be made from "human nature", capitalism, of course, will be there to get it.

What is good for the family is no longer the defining principle of government and business and the "family" has been redefined as well, in our culture. For people of the older generations, this produces great conflict and discomfort. What we were brought up to view as perversion is now the constitutional right of gays ----lesbians and homosexuals ---etc.. and we try to understand this and adjust to the changing times and the changing norms. We do want to "do unto others as we would want them to do unto us" and our laws reflect the changing values of true democracies.

The conflict now between the Executive and the Congress is a sign of the times. Because of terrorism, the people are willing to give the government latitude and willing to forgive the President for breaking the law ------but, this, of course, is dangerous -----because in a democracy ----no one is above the law ----not even the President and His Men. And, if the war on terrorism is going to last for many years, we have to figure out how to combat it without breaking our laws.

The law is all we have to keep us from eating each other. We have not progressed very far from the jungle. It was just a few years ago that we had people hanging from wires in concentration camps waiting for the furnace. Millions of Americans have died to protect the law and The Bill of Rights for the living and the living must be diligent in their protection of The Bill of Rights for those generations to come.

This is my Memorial Day lecture! I guess it is Auf Viedersehen, Viernheim. You are a good man and a gentleman and I respect your views and understand where you are coming from.

Yes, I am one of those "nut cases" who voted for Ralph Nader. He was "my man" who always used the law to benefit the people and not to glorify his image and to become a billionaire and a servant of the corporations. He saved millions of lives in this country and he always told the truth ----even when it was to his disadvantage. He is a man of great character and personal courage and a great mind and intellect -----but these are qualities that have no value on the Stock Market or in the Global Economy ----and the people have been trained to give their proxies to either of the political parties of this country, who have both done great damage to the people of our nation out of political ambition and not out of patriotism and love and respect for the people.

It has probably always been this way. I am an idealist. But, politics are entertainment today, and the election of the President is "product" for the "machine" of the media and maybe ---because The Press and the Media are The Fourth Branch of Government, it is really they who determine who becomes The President of our Great Republic and our struggling democracy. We have to hope that the corporate structure of the Press and Media will not prevent the Press and the Media from telling the people the truth. This is a danger that faces democracies in the world today.

You can see I like to talk. Sorry about that. Really, Auf Wiedersehen, now!
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#99 Author of original report

Shoplifting Due Process Rights

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks, Viernheim, for your comments and encouragement.

You are a gentleman and I have enjoyed our debate.

I have been very persistent for two or three years in writing to members of Congress and to the Government, etc.. and knew that the "silence" confirmed that the law concerning the making of the law had been circumvented. I will "continue my march" with the hope that some of the people "sworn" to protect our Constitution will do their duty under the law -----if they have not already done so.

The letter from the Head of the DOD Hotline last month was a victory for me because it was the first acknowledgement of my complaint in writing by the DOD, and I could assume that the DOD IG had read the contents of my letter to the President's Integrity Committee because he must have hand-carried it back and given it to the Head of the DOD Hotline after the meeting of the Committee. He must have instructed the DOD Hotline Head to write to me and to tell me that all of my appeals were exhausted and to write to the Congress.

It is the "shoplifting" of the "law" that is the primary offense in my mind as well as the compromise of "due process rights" for military personnel that resulted from the "shoplifting" of the law. It is also a form of double jeopardy because it punishes the one offense with two fines for the federal government and a criminal record. And, of course there is no standard for the debt of Civil Recovery or the tort of Civil Recovery in federal law, and the debt is, therefore, not a legal debt under the law.

Shoplifters are sneaky and this back-door appropriation of the law was sneaky as well -----even though a lot of good people went along with it out of the desire to be good team players, and out of their sense that it was an appropriate action to take. And, others initiated it out of their desire to profit.

At least, our conversations appear on the Google Search Engine under Shoplifting AAFES, etc. and also under Arbitrary Fines and Administrative Fees, etc... and we have brought some sunlight to the matter.

I think the Internet will do great things for democracy and The First Amendment. I am not a liberal as you have assumed. I do believe in the death penalty and am grateful that the State assumes the guilt for the actual act on my behalf. I am grateful that we now have DNA that will prevent innocents from being put to death by the State. I am against "abortion" as "birth control" but how can you prevent abortion in a society and culture that allows the corporations who advertise to use sex to sell everything from tacos to automobiles and who celebrate "adultery" (a different form of stealing) on the air waves in dramas for the entertainment of the masses.

America has become a crude and rude place in which to live and polutes the soil in which our children are grown. Our consciousness is formed by all that we see and hear and read, etc. but we are taught to be good consumers and to value ourselves on the basis of what we own and not by our good character and this is good for business -----and what is good for business is good for the world. It is not good for business to create a populace with good character who are self disciplined and who will not take on more debt than they can afford, etc. etc... and who will "save" for a rainny day!

NBC had a little drama that they cancelled that was called "Heist". Heist featured main charactors who did big heists for a living but were portrayed as attractive and nice people, of course, (a Steve McQueen type) and an attractive young Police Detective who had the "flaw" of lifting things from stores or restaurants, etc...for excitement or to prove that she could get away with it. I was going to write to NBC and complain that there were people sitting in prison for life for "shoplifting offenses" and that this was irresponsible -----but the show was cancelled, thank God.

In democracies, we have the freedom to be very good and to be very bad ----but so much of the bad is winning out and the good people are overwhelmed and they then permit their governments to become more autocratic and totalitarian to protect the "good" values of the culture. But, we are in a transition here in this country. Even the respectible corporations are in the busines of pornography because it is so profitable. And, it is so profitable, of course, because it serves the prurient interests of human nature, etc.. and if there is profit to be made from "human nature", capitalism, of course, will be there to get it.

What is good for the family is no longer the defining principle of government and business and the "family" has been redefined as well, in our culture. For people of the older generations, this produces great conflict and discomfort. What we were brought up to view as perversion is now the constitutional right of gays ----lesbians and homosexuals ---etc.. and we try to understand this and adjust to the changing times and the changing norms. We do want to "do unto others as we would want them to do unto us" and our laws reflect the changing values of true democracies.

The conflict now between the Executive and the Congress is a sign of the times. Because of terrorism, the people are willing to give the government latitude and willing to forgive the President for breaking the law ------but, this, of course, is dangerous -----because in a democracy ----no one is above the law ----not even the President and His Men. And, if the war on terrorism is going to last for many years, we have to figure out how to combat it without breaking our laws.

The law is all we have to keep us from eating each other. We have not progressed very far from the jungle. It was just a few years ago that we had people hanging from wires in concentration camps waiting for the furnace. Millions of Americans have died to protect the law and The Bill of Rights for the living and the living must be diligent in their protection of The Bill of Rights for those generations to come.

This is my Memorial Day lecture! I guess it is Auf Viedersehen, Viernheim. You are a good man and a gentleman and I respect your views and understand where you are coming from.

Yes, I am one of those "nut cases" who voted for Ralph Nader. He was "my man" who always used the law to benefit the people and not to glorify his image and to become a billionaire and a servant of the corporations. He saved millions of lives in this country and he always told the truth ----even when it was to his disadvantage. He is a man of great character and personal courage and a great mind and intellect -----but these are qualities that have no value on the Stock Market or in the Global Economy ----and the people have been trained to give their proxies to either of the political parties of this country, who have both done great damage to the people of our nation out of political ambition and not out of patriotism and love and respect for the people.

It has probably always been this way. I am an idealist. But, politics are entertainment today, and the election of the President is "product" for the "machine" of the media and maybe ---because The Press and the Media are The Fourth Branch of Government, it is really they who determine who becomes The President of our Great Republic and our struggling democracy. We have to hope that the corporate structure of the Press and Media will not prevent the Press and the Media from telling the people the truth. This is a danger that faces democracies in the world today.

You can see I like to talk. Sorry about that. Really, Auf Wiedersehen, now!
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#100 Consumer Comment

No, Carol I am not annoyed

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

No, Carol, I am not annoyed or irritated in the least by your posting.

I work a very low level position in AAFES, chiefly to maintain driving priviliges in Germany. Perhaps different from when you were here it now costs roughly $2000.00 to obtain a civilian license in Germany, despite your years of driving experience.

My chief belief here is the act of stealing, or attempting to steal is morally and legally wrong. Reasonable adults and most children even at the age of 10 know this well. In my opinion, even the attempt deserves the punishment. Were it to be my decision the punishment would be much more harsh than this. That is however, only my opinion.

I admire that you do your research and commend you for believing in what you feel is wrong, and taking a stand. As I have said before, it seems we will agree to disagree. I, were I you, would not settle for simply once contacting the IG etc. Were I as passionate about this perceived wrong as you are, the IG, congress and other officials would tire quickly of the myriads of letters and emails they would recieve from me. One of two things would occur, they would either view me as a "nutcase" or finally begin to investigate simply to shut me up. If you achieve the latter they may actually find what is occurring is wrong in their opinion. You will have achieved your goal, action, regardless of the outcome.

You may also want to work with other military consumer advocate groups. NCOA and the like. I am sure having been in the military you are aware of these organizations.
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#101 Author of original report

Honor, Duty, Country and Rlp Off of the Troops

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Viernheim, my friend!

You sound ticked off! Do you work in the area of security of government retail merchandise? Would it be a threat to you or your job if the policy were changed and shoplifting was prevented within the AAFES stores? I think not! You might miss the "big game hunting", as one responder indicated.

Again, you make my point. Because Military Personnel and their families do make great sacrifices on behalf of their Country and because they generally do adhere to the great principles of duty and honor, their own AAFES stores should not be entrapping them and their families to RIP THEM OFF for $200 as well as initiating criminal arrests where these entrapped suspects incur criminal records and pay additional money in fines or for probation to the judicial branch of government.

This additional $200 punishment inflicted by AAFES is not necessary, and it provides AAFES Management and Security the incentive to entrap and arrest for profit. AAFES does not have a mandate to operate for profit. They have a mandate from Congress to provide retail goods at the lowest cost possible to the Armed Forces and their families, and to be self-supporting. IF profits are realized, these profits go to MWR activities.

Viernheim, you know that the AAFES stores have the best surveillance equipment that can be purchased under government contract.....the best retail merchandise detection devices that can be purchased under government contract -----the very best that money can buy. They can stand toe to toe with the Gambling Casinos of our country in terms of the qualify of their surveillance capabilities. While all government stores are not yet equal, the surveillance-equipment contractors are busy lobbying to make sure that all government retail stores are similarly equipped with the best equipment in the world. The Debt Collection Contractors are very happy that shoplifting continues to increase in government retail stores. The Government Retail Stores are the biggest retail organization in the nation.

When public policy was developed to treat "shoplifting" as the crime of petit and grand larceny; and when our FTC allowed the American People to be put under secret surveillance on private retail property and when the cities sold the people's power of arrest to the corporate retailers'security employees; and when the states passed Civil Recovery Laws that permitted "out of court" civil demand letters; and when the lower courts were closed to any defense to a ticket for "stealing", the stage was set to "arrest for profit"

The city governments rationalized that the new policy of using commissioned police and sending them to the security offices of the retail stores to write tickets for "stealing" would be a means to "deter" shoplifting. They rationalized that the deterrence of shoplifting for the corporate retailers would be in the best interests of the "people" because if the retailers' profits were protected through the deterrence of shoplifting, the people would realize a benefit in the form of lower prices for the merchandise they purchase from the retailers.

The city governments rationalized that this new practice of sending commissioned police to the retail stores to ticket suspects who had been caught on camera and then allowed to depart the stores without being asked to pay for concealed merchandise would produce the "probable cause" to ticket these suspects for "stealing", and for the city to assume the responsibility for the ticket and any prosecution of the matter in the court. The retailers' deep pockets would be protected from suits for false arrest and malicious prosecution, etc. because the great power of the state would be brought to bear against these shoplifting suspects.

The cities premeditated the ticketing of millions of "first-time-arrested" shoplifters for stealing and the "diversion" of these millions of first-timers into rehab or to plea bargains for an offense that was not a crime. The cities rationalized that enough revenue would be produced through these tickets to offset the expense of sending the commissioned police and the cruisers to the retail stores and Malls to write the tickets to the detained shoplifters. These detained shoplifters are nornally sitting quietly and waiting to be released from the security office of the store ----after they have surrendered the merchandise and offered to pay for it. The commissioned police then photograph the merchandise that was carried past the final checkout and it is their presence that renders the act of the suspect a completed larceny.

The judges in the lower courts rationalized that almost everyone who was ticketed would be guilty and would opt for a plea bargain in their own interests. Additionally, they told the young attorneys who work the municipal courts, and the Prosecutors, not to bring clients before the lower courts and plead them "not guilty" because they would be found "guilty" by the lower courts. They would be guilty in a "technical sense" because they did not pay for the merchandise before they passed final checkout points, and the judges in the lower courts would not hear a defense of mistake, inadvertence, or incompetence.

The Bar did not object because, of course, the ticketing of millions of "first-timers" for the crime of "stealing" would mean millions of retainers for representation to negotiate plea bargains from the city courts.

Over a period of 30 years, all of the states passed Civil Recovery Statutes that permitted civil demand letters to be sent out of court to those millions of "first timers" who have been ticketed for "stealing" on the private property of the Retail Corporations of America.

In these past few years, many of the States and Cities are rethinking this arrangement and are moving to demand only civil damages from those suspects who have no criminal record and who hold their charge cards and other Credit Cards. It may be that these suspects are allowed to pay the civil demand on their charge card when they are detained for concealing store merchandise on their person or on their possession.

This whole matter has been kept out of the courts to protect the Civil Demand Letters, etc... But, sooner or later the higher courts would have to rule on the constituionality of "civil demand letters" and traffic ticket citations for the crime of larceny.

I tried to fight this "scheme" in the 80's when it first was introduced in my state but surrendered to our own interests when I realized it was a change in "public policy" and that it would perhaps be not in our best interests to fight the state and city hall. I always felt ashamed that I surrendered.

I was first hurt and then enraged when AAFES did this to the troops because I felt it further tainted our courts and unnecessarily punished a class of people who are always punished by the bad policies of government that they are sworn to protect. This, however, is not a political thing with me. It is about the "law" and the failure to provide "due process of law" protection to members of our military and their families.

I have a special interest because we were Regular Army and always proud to serve and proud of those we served with ------but I am sure not proud of our Company Store, the AAFES, and I worry about a lot of troops who "owe their soul" to the company store.

As for "Oh My". If, my dear, you have gone through life allowing people to steal your shoes and not asking them to cease and desist and give them back to you, I feel you will always be a victim. I guess you are lucky that it is just your shoes that these bad people try to steal right in front of you. You must have had a good Mother and Father to have raised such a moral and righteous daughter.

Viernheim, you know that I wrote, since 2004, under the FOIA and to the DOD IG and to the FTC, and to the President's Integrity Committee about this matter. I even wrote to my favorite Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, on the Supreme Court.

I am out of Channels now and hoping that others will read this correspondence and complain to the Congress ----who can stop this $200 fine on the troops and who can request an IG investigation or an Attorney General Investigation of the contracts that were let by the DLA to collect this fine on the troops and the private contracts with private security companies to continue the entrapment within the government retail stores. I could not find out under the FOIA how much they have paid these contractors. The DOD FOIA IG won't tell me.

Again, if Congress mandated AAFES to prevent theft in the retail stores, how can theft be prevented unless shoplifting is stopped within the stores? Was the Congressional Committee thinking only about a civil fine? and this is why they told the Congress that the Program would be a "mechanism outside formal judicial proceedings"! Did the Congress know that the AAFES would be collecting these $200 fines under the threat of a criminal prosecution for larceny in the federal courts?

I am sorry that I can't convince more of you readers that it is a bad sign for this country for government to allow secret surveillance of its citizens and detainment by secret retail police to provide deterrence of a problem that should be handled and solved by the great retail corporations of this country and the world who sell their merchandise for great profits in free markets.

Hope you are enjoying good weather, Viernheim. I remember how beautiful Heidelberg was in the Spring and the Summer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and for letting me share my thoughts with you.
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#102 Consumer Comment

Why don't you write the IG Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Why don't you write the IG, with all of your research provided and ask for an investigation? It seems the more likely avenue with which to have some action taken.

Posted warnings. As I stated previously, my area has warnings posted. Shoplifting last year increased as did shrinkage.

Stop and warn before leaving. Almost all apprehended shoplifters will state this is their first time being caught. Most, in researched studies claim being caught only 1 in 50 times shoplifting.

Most concealment occurs in non surveilled areas (i.e. dressing rooms, elevators etc. or by hiding behind a fixture that blocks video surveillence. It is simply not feasible to have hundreds of cameras or security personnel to watch every square inch of a store.

Military members are warned, during inprocessing, of the fine and potential citation, as well as the other consequences. As SPONSORS of dependents, receiving additional benefits due to having dependents, they are well aware of THEIR responsibility to inform those they sponsor of the policy.

Military members are expected to hold themselves to a higher standard, not to reflect the liberal ideas and norms of society. Honor, Duty and service all come into play here. As the saying goes "There is no honor among thieves.."

RFID is a nice idea, however, a determined shoplifter will simply remove the item from its packaging (in which the RFID device is placed) and attempt to leave with it. You seem to support RFID but it is in direct contradiction with your contention the thief should be stopped before passing final checkout. With RFID the alarm will not be activated until the merchandise passes final checkout.

Similar electronic measures are in place in many retailers now. Shoplifters don't seem deterred and know how to defeat the technology.

It is simply not possible to watch EVERY shopper either with video surveillence or floor walkers. People will continue to shoplift and should take the consequences of their actions.
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#103 Consumer Comment

Why don't you write the IG Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Why don't you write the IG, with all of your research provided and ask for an investigation? It seems the more likely avenue with which to have some action taken.

Posted warnings. As I stated previously, my area has warnings posted. Shoplifting last year increased as did shrinkage.

Stop and warn before leaving. Almost all apprehended shoplifters will state this is their first time being caught. Most, in researched studies claim being caught only 1 in 50 times shoplifting.

Most concealment occurs in non surveilled areas (i.e. dressing rooms, elevators etc. or by hiding behind a fixture that blocks video surveillence. It is simply not feasible to have hundreds of cameras or security personnel to watch every square inch of a store.

Military members are warned, during inprocessing, of the fine and potential citation, as well as the other consequences. As SPONSORS of dependents, receiving additional benefits due to having dependents, they are well aware of THEIR responsibility to inform those they sponsor of the policy.

Military members are expected to hold themselves to a higher standard, not to reflect the liberal ideas and norms of society. Honor, Duty and service all come into play here. As the saying goes "There is no honor among thieves.."

RFID is a nice idea, however, a determined shoplifter will simply remove the item from its packaging (in which the RFID device is placed) and attempt to leave with it. You seem to support RFID but it is in direct contradiction with your contention the thief should be stopped before passing final checkout. With RFID the alarm will not be activated until the merchandise passes final checkout.

Similar electronic measures are in place in many retailers now. Shoplifters don't seem deterred and know how to defeat the technology.

It is simply not possible to watch EVERY shopper either with video surveillence or floor walkers. People will continue to shoplift and should take the consequences of their actions.
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#104 Consumer Comment

Why don't you write the IG Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Why don't you write the IG, with all of your research provided and ask for an investigation? It seems the more likely avenue with which to have some action taken.

Posted warnings. As I stated previously, my area has warnings posted. Shoplifting last year increased as did shrinkage.

Stop and warn before leaving. Almost all apprehended shoplifters will state this is their first time being caught. Most, in researched studies claim being caught only 1 in 50 times shoplifting.

Most concealment occurs in non surveilled areas (i.e. dressing rooms, elevators etc. or by hiding behind a fixture that blocks video surveillence. It is simply not feasible to have hundreds of cameras or security personnel to watch every square inch of a store.

Military members are warned, during inprocessing, of the fine and potential citation, as well as the other consequences. As SPONSORS of dependents, receiving additional benefits due to having dependents, they are well aware of THEIR responsibility to inform those they sponsor of the policy.

Military members are expected to hold themselves to a higher standard, not to reflect the liberal ideas and norms of society. Honor, Duty and service all come into play here. As the saying goes "There is no honor among thieves.."

RFID is a nice idea, however, a determined shoplifter will simply remove the item from its packaging (in which the RFID device is placed) and attempt to leave with it. You seem to support RFID but it is in direct contradiction with your contention the thief should be stopped before passing final checkout. With RFID the alarm will not be activated until the merchandise passes final checkout.

Similar electronic measures are in place in many retailers now. Shoplifters don't seem deterred and know how to defeat the technology.

It is simply not possible to watch EVERY shopper either with video surveillence or floor walkers. People will continue to shoplift and should take the consequences of their actions.
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#105 Consumer Comment

Why don't you write the IG Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Why don't you write the IG, with all of your research provided and ask for an investigation? It seems the more likely avenue with which to have some action taken.

Posted warnings. As I stated previously, my area has warnings posted. Shoplifting last year increased as did shrinkage.

Stop and warn before leaving. Almost all apprehended shoplifters will state this is their first time being caught. Most, in researched studies claim being caught only 1 in 50 times shoplifting.

Most concealment occurs in non surveilled areas (i.e. dressing rooms, elevators etc. or by hiding behind a fixture that blocks video surveillence. It is simply not feasible to have hundreds of cameras or security personnel to watch every square inch of a store.

Military members are warned, during inprocessing, of the fine and potential citation, as well as the other consequences. As SPONSORS of dependents, receiving additional benefits due to having dependents, they are well aware of THEIR responsibility to inform those they sponsor of the policy.

Military members are expected to hold themselves to a higher standard, not to reflect the liberal ideas and norms of society. Honor, Duty and service all come into play here. As the saying goes "There is no honor among thieves.."

RFID is a nice idea, however, a determined shoplifter will simply remove the item from its packaging (in which the RFID device is placed) and attempt to leave with it. You seem to support RFID but it is in direct contradiction with your contention the thief should be stopped before passing final checkout. With RFID the alarm will not be activated until the merchandise passes final checkout.

Similar electronic measures are in place in many retailers now. Shoplifters don't seem deterred and know how to defeat the technology.

It is simply not possible to watch EVERY shopper either with video surveillence or floor walkers. People will continue to shoplift and should take the consequences of their actions.
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#106 Consumer Comment

Oh My...

AUTHOR: Michelle - (U.S.A.)

This is the most ludicrous post I have ever read, I can't believe I am taking the time to respond, however I am only doing it once and only giving my opinion. Based on the statements by the original poster, they feel it should be posted that shoplifting will be prosecuted, etcbasically it should tell you not to do it, otherwise it is entrapment. Also suggested, the cashier should tell the person with the shirt stuffed down his pants, he needs to pay, because otherwise he will be arrested and charged.

Ok, so, I guess the speed limit signs, need to also heed a warning, if you go over them, you could get arrested, also there should be a moving flashing sign, saying a cop in the median, so you have time to slow down. How about posting it in the cars themselves, be aware you do not want to run over someone with the car, they will most likely die. How about posting on the book of matches and on gasoline containers, don't use this to start a fire, you might get in trouble. Is this not the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever heard? I should warn someone shoplifting is bad? It is time people start taking responsibly of there actions and stop trying to blame everyone else. You ordered coffee, unless you ordered it icedits going to be hot. Use common sense, if you cannot rationalize basic right and wrong, you should not be in society. It was referenced that even if they are 10, they are still going to be held responsible.

At 10, anyone should know stealing is a crime and if not, they should have arrested and charged the parents as well. Its about morality, it is not ok to take someone's stuff, if you are sitting in class (lets say your 10) can you take the person beside you shoes and walk out with them, no!!! I don't care if the fine is $200 or $2000, take responsibility for your actions or those of your family/child and educate them on how to be positive and productive asset to society.

Moving on
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#107 Author of original report

Let's avoid the appearance of evil!

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Yes, Viernheim! You are right about the Executive Order. I would like to ask the Commander-in-Chief, our President, and The Secretary of Defense if it is their INTENT to entrap the the troops and their families and to fine the sponsor $200 under the threat of criminal prosecution for larceny in the federal district courts!

How can theft be prevented in the government exchange stores if "shoplifting" is not interupted, stopped, and prevented. The first duty of police power is to prevent crime whenever possible. How can theft prevention be implemented without preventing "shoplifting"! The Congress itself mandated theft prevention in the "planted" amendment to Treasury Law.

The policy under which DD Form 1805's are issued (traffic tickets), in CFR Title 32 National Defense, Part 1290, indicates in l290.3 Policy "(a) It is the policy of HQ DLA that the Heads of DLA PLFAs will take such steps as are necessary to prevent offenses. Emphasis will be placed on prevention rather than apprehension and prosecution of offenders. (b) The procedures outlined in this part 1290 may, at the discretion of the heads of the activity concerened, be invoked in lieu of the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to deal with minor offenses of a civil nature, other than violations of state traffic laws, committed by military personnel. These procedures may also be invoked to deal with nontrafic minor offenses commiteed by civilian personnel."

You notice that this Part 1290 indicates "minor offenses of a CIVIL nature but, of course, shoplifting became the criminal offense of larceny under the UCMJ and federal law when the states started introducing the subsidy of civil recovery and civil demand letters for the corporate retailers. The use of the DD1805 ticket to prosecute "shoplifting" is in itself questionable because of the use of the word "civil" instead of "criminal". However, Part 1290 does illustrate a DD 1805 for "shoplifting", Appendix D to Part 1290--Ticket Sample--A Nontraffic Violation. Crimes of moral turpitude that are presented to the courts by way of traffic tickets are not given the full range of "due process" protections promised under the Bill of Rights.

In a "Fact Sheet" rev. Jan 98, Subject: United States District Court (a.k.a. "Magistrate Court", from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, under 9 a. " Shoplifting The maximum possible sentence is a $100,000 fine and/or 1 year confinement. But, in reality, assuming no prior criminal record, the typical shoplifter gets a fine of about $250-$500 and 12 months probation. But, if you earn a significant family income, you may be required to pay the "cost of probation" which may be several thousand dollars." I don't know how the federal courts are handling "shoplifting" since the advent of the $200 fine for the AAFES but I am going to try to find out.

Active duty military personnel who are sent to the federal district courts will have to hire and pay their own counsel and will not be furnished free counsel as provided under the UCMJ. Even if they feel they are innocent of any criminal intent, they cannot afford to defend themselves in the federal district courts. The Commanders under Article 15's can punish a "good soldier" for shoplifting less harshly if he feels that this "good soldier" would never attempt to steal from his fellow soldiers in the barracks or on the job. The Commander has the prerogative and the knowledge to do what is best for the military unit and what is best for the individual soldier. This AAFES fine removes the prerogative of the commanders to command.

The AAFES is in the perfect position to prevent shoplifting with first warnings because you cannot purchase items from AAFES without a valid ID card. Patrons can be asked to produce their ID cards at any time for a "check" within the stores. There was a time when you couldn't enter an Exchange Store or a Commissasry without a valid ID card. But, of course, when AAFES started to entrap to get civil recovery fees from civilians, this policy changed and anybody can now walk into the PX or The Commissary without showing identification.

You keep repeating that "Warnings" would do no good and would make no difference but I think you are wrong. If it were clearly and prominently posted that "shoplifting" was larceny and if the civil fine and the criminal fines were posted along with the notice that the secret police will stop shoplifters ONLY OUTSIDE of final checkouts, many opportunistic shoplifters would think twice about their act and decide to pay for the merchandise at final checkout. Because shoplifters are not stopped after their first covert act within the store, they are encouraged to think that they have not been seen and will get away with it. AAFES leads them into temptation by making it look so easy and neglects their duty of "ordinary diligence" by not requesting payment at final checkouts for merchandise that they know for certain is in the possession of the shopper. If you had a garage sale, Viernheim, and you saw somebody put something in their pocket and it looked like they were not going to pay for it, wouldn't you ask for payment from this person? You would, of course, have no ability to have the police come and arrest this man and the police would ask you when you called "Did you ask him to pay for it or give it back to you?" "Did he?"
There was a time when you couldn't file a civil suit in our courts unless you could prove that you suffered "actual" damage from the defendant. And now, of course, with Civil Demand letters, retailers can demand punitive damages when there are no actual dmages whatsoever. Just a Subsidy for Corporate Retailers and the Civil Recovery Statutes are just a sham to allow the Civil Demand Letters, which are a form of legalized extortion. Retailers always had a right to file complaints with the lower courts against customers who attempted to steal their merchandise but they were responsible for the complaint and providing "probable cause" to the Prosecutor who would issue a summons to the offender. Now it is the city-licensed retail security, representing the city, who is the complainant before the court and this presents an unconstitutional bias in the lower courts.
AAFES claims that they don't post warnings, etc.. of the criminal and civil fines and the secret police and secret detection devices because they don't want to offend their honest patrons. This is disengenuous! They don't post notice because they want to entrap shoplifters and ticket them for the crime of larceny and extract $200 fines for AAFES on top of the criminal punishment of the defendants in the federal district courts.

AAFES allows and permits these constantly monitored suspects to pass through final checkouts without requesting payment for the merchandise because there is more money in the "ticket for larceny" than there is in the sale.

In the future, with the new technologies of RFID, retailers could prevent almost all shoplifting and get their merchandise paid for. Hopefully, the FTC and other lawmakers will encourage the retailers to use the new technologies to get their merchandise paid for and not to entrap to ticket for larceny.
In the meantime, I think it is unconsionable that the AAFES is extorting the troops for this $200 that was not legislated by The Congress of the United States. The Congress did not vote for this policy and for this fine and there was no notice in the Federal Register, as required by law. In a democracy and under our laws, a few people can't just get together and plant amendments to law that impact the legal rights of citizens, (and enrich others) even if these citizens are citizen soldiers who already give up some of their rights under the law to protect the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
As I wrote to the government, I assume that it is just a coincidence that the amendment was placed in the law by a Congressman from Maryland, and the headquarters of the DLA is in Maryland, and the Magistrate Court Judge who defended the $200 fine as not being double jeopardy almost immediately in 2002 is from Maryland. Coincidence, Synchronicity or Conspiracy? Was the rule of law manipulated to get these $200 fines from the troops for the government retail stores. Did apprehensions for shoplifting increase after 2002? Who loses and who profits and why must military personnel and their families be punished to a greater extent than their civilian counterparts?

Let's have an DOD IG investigation or an Attorney General investigation of this $200 fine on the troops. How else can the appearance of evil be avoided?

WRITE, EMAIL, FAX, OR TELEPHONE YOUR CONGRESS PERSON AND YOUR SENATORS TODAY.
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#108 Consumer Comment

What is your real motiviation?

AUTHOR: Patrick - (U.S.A.)

Carol,

I have been watching the exchanges between you the AAFES employee in Germany with some interest as I served 6 years in the Air Force, 3 1/2 of those in Germany.

I have but one question for you. What is the real motivation behind your crusade against this $200 administrative fee? For some reason, I just don't think it is simply because you feel the troops and their families are being ripped off. What happened that brought this to your attention and caused you to go on the warpath?

Back during my enlistment (mid to late 80's), the Army was still taking recruits that were criminals who were given the option of jail time, or military time. I can only image how bad shoplifting was back then.

Personally, I see no problem with the administrative fee. I support our troops (and their dependants) 100%. But, I also expect them to be held to a higher standard. They are, after all, protecting our country and our freedoms.

You had made an offhand remark about "entrapment" in one of your last posts. Would you please explain to me how that is? Are you saying that by AAFES displaying their merchandise for sale, they are "entrapping" customers? I'm sorry, but I'm not following your logic.

It is the duty of AAFES, and all retailers for that matter, to take reasonable precautions to prevent the theft of their merchandise. It is NOT their duty to act as someone's conscience. Every reasonable person in this world knows that taking property not belong to them is wrong, and in most cases, criminal.

An insight into your motivations would be appreciated.
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#109 Consumer Comment

What is your real motiviation?

AUTHOR: Patrick - (U.S.A.)

Carol,

I have been watching the exchanges between you the AAFES employee in Germany with some interest as I served 6 years in the Air Force, 3 1/2 of those in Germany.

I have but one question for you. What is the real motivation behind your crusade against this $200 administrative fee? For some reason, I just don't think it is simply because you feel the troops and their families are being ripped off. What happened that brought this to your attention and caused you to go on the warpath?

Back during my enlistment (mid to late 80's), the Army was still taking recruits that were criminals who were given the option of jail time, or military time. I can only image how bad shoplifting was back then.

Personally, I see no problem with the administrative fee. I support our troops (and their dependants) 100%. But, I also expect them to be held to a higher standard. They are, after all, protecting our country and our freedoms.

You had made an offhand remark about "entrapment" in one of your last posts. Would you please explain to me how that is? Are you saying that by AAFES displaying their merchandise for sale, they are "entrapping" customers? I'm sorry, but I'm not following your logic.

It is the duty of AAFES, and all retailers for that matter, to take reasonable precautions to prevent the theft of their merchandise. It is NOT their duty to act as someone's conscience. Every reasonable person in this world knows that taking property not belong to them is wrong, and in most cases, criminal.

An insight into your motivations would be appreciated.
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#110 Consumer Comment

What is your real motiviation?

AUTHOR: Patrick - (U.S.A.)

Carol,

I have been watching the exchanges between you the AAFES employee in Germany with some interest as I served 6 years in the Air Force, 3 1/2 of those in Germany.

I have but one question for you. What is the real motivation behind your crusade against this $200 administrative fee? For some reason, I just don't think it is simply because you feel the troops and their families are being ripped off. What happened that brought this to your attention and caused you to go on the warpath?

Back during my enlistment (mid to late 80's), the Army was still taking recruits that were criminals who were given the option of jail time, or military time. I can only image how bad shoplifting was back then.

Personally, I see no problem with the administrative fee. I support our troops (and their dependants) 100%. But, I also expect them to be held to a higher standard. They are, after all, protecting our country and our freedoms.

You had made an offhand remark about "entrapment" in one of your last posts. Would you please explain to me how that is? Are you saying that by AAFES displaying their merchandise for sale, they are "entrapping" customers? I'm sorry, but I'm not following your logic.

It is the duty of AAFES, and all retailers for that matter, to take reasonable precautions to prevent the theft of their merchandise. It is NOT their duty to act as someone's conscience. Every reasonable person in this world knows that taking property not belong to them is wrong, and in most cases, criminal.

An insight into your motivations would be appreciated.
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#111 Consumer Comment

What is your real motiviation?

AUTHOR: Patrick - (U.S.A.)

Carol,

I have been watching the exchanges between you the AAFES employee in Germany with some interest as I served 6 years in the Air Force, 3 1/2 of those in Germany.

I have but one question for you. What is the real motivation behind your crusade against this $200 administrative fee? For some reason, I just don't think it is simply because you feel the troops and their families are being ripped off. What happened that brought this to your attention and caused you to go on the warpath?

Back during my enlistment (mid to late 80's), the Army was still taking recruits that were criminals who were given the option of jail time, or military time. I can only image how bad shoplifting was back then.

Personally, I see no problem with the administrative fee. I support our troops (and their dependants) 100%. But, I also expect them to be held to a higher standard. They are, after all, protecting our country and our freedoms.

You had made an offhand remark about "entrapment" in one of your last posts. Would you please explain to me how that is? Are you saying that by AAFES displaying their merchandise for sale, they are "entrapping" customers? I'm sorry, but I'm not following your logic.

It is the duty of AAFES, and all retailers for that matter, to take reasonable precautions to prevent the theft of their merchandise. It is NOT their duty to act as someone's conscience. Every reasonable person in this world knows that taking property not belong to them is wrong, and in most cases, criminal.

An insight into your motivations would be appreciated.
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#112 Consumer Comment

Not only France

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

It was not only the French who locked up people for minor theft, it was most countries. Usually poor people who could not pay the fine that was imposed. ($10 or 10 days..I'll take the $10 your honor..LOL)

And how exactly are retail stores leading shoplifters into temptation? By having merchandise displayed? Or is it by leading them to believe that just because a sign indicating that shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law is not prominately displayed, they are free to do so without recourse if they are caught? It is a sad state of affairs when we have to remind people that they will be punished if they break the law.
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#113 Consumer Comment

Executive Order

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Carol, an Executive Order can only be issued by the President. It has the force of law, however, cannot countermand legislated issues. In other words the President cannot countermand the Civil Recovery Fee as it was legislated, however slyly in your opinion. Congress has to either change the law or the courts have to declare is was improperly legislated.

I ask again, how you fathom LP personnel could "Prevent" shoplifters from committing their offense? Don't repeat the "posted warning", as it may not be present everywhere, it is many places, and has little to no effect.

I understand your difficulty with this is both the amount of the fee and the "double jeopardy" you feel is occurring. Many criminal acts result in both civil and court sanctions and fines.

The amount of the fee notwithstanding if someone offends they should have to pay to recoup the costs of catching them in the act.

Everyone with reasonable mental capacities knows that shoplifting or any other crime is wrong. They should simply not have to be warned at every turn not to commit an act which is criminal.

If you drive the interstate you won't see signs posted everywhere "Don't weave back and forth from lane to lane". However, if you do so and cause an accident you will commit a crime "reckless driving". You will pay the government for that act, next you will find yourself paying "civil" sanctions to the party you injured or caused vehicle damage to. Couldn't the government prevent this by posting signs every mile or so on the interstate??? No, it simply isn't feasible, as some people will commit the act anyway - same as shoplifting.
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#114 Author of original report

And Lead Us Not Unto Temptation

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Hi Viernheim --- Hi Jennifer!

Yes, Jennifer, we learned a little about crime and punishmnent from the French. But, personally, I believe that a Father who wouldn't steal a loaf of bread for his starving child is not much of a Father ---assuming that this Father would work for the bread if work were available. Those persons who steal out of real need are the victims of society and this is an entirely different subject matter.

Thou Shalt Not Steal is good advice for both the consumer and the retailer and the retailer should help things along by not "leading shoplifters unto temptation"!

Viernheim! I think there is a double standard here in the application of the fine. I believe here in the US, all apprehended shoplifters are cited and sent to the federal district courts after they pass final checkout points without paying for merchandise. They pay fines and, perhaps, high rehab costs if they negotiate probation, etc.. for their offenses. It may be that the "probation costs" are based on rank and grade.

I can see where the fine of $200 simplified the matter for the government in the "out of country" exchanges throughout the world for civilians and dependents. However, you know that the military cannot be in the position of condoning shoplifting with just a $200 civil fine for those active duty military personnel because, of course, shoplifting is a founded offense of larceny under the UCMJ and federal law. It is the imposition of the criminal sanction and the civil sanction, both, that I believe is morally and legally wrong.

I would not be protesting if the government were just punishing the military for "first offense" shoplifting in the federal courts for the purpose of treating a "first offense" less seriously, and more like "risky behaviour" that could be corrected. But, it is so obvious that the $200 AAFES fine was the incentive to send active duty military here in the states to the federal district courts instead of to their commanders.

It is obvious, of course, that the "debt collection" lobbyists and the "civil recovery" collection attorneys got to the DOD and the AAFES authorities and that they are getting a lot of this $200 that is taken out of the pockets of the troops. It is obvious, of course, that there is no federal tort law and no published standard for the debt of civil recovery in the federal law or the UCMJ. This is not the way the law is supposed to be made in a democracy. It is obvious that this $200 is being squeezed from the troops under the threat of a criminal prosecution for shoplifting in the federal district courts.

Shoplifting apprehensions went up after the fine came into being in March of 2002. There should have been an IG investigation of this increase in shoplifting apprehensions because, of course, this suggests that AAFES is relaxing their owed diligence to the military community to get their merchandise paid for in the interests of arresting as many shoplifters as they can to produce the $200 for the AAFES stores. And how can government justify imposing the HIGHEST MINIMUM civil recovery fine on the military and their families?

The concept of making entrapped shoplifters pay for normal overhead and operating expenses of "profit-making" retail stores is the invention of the "corporate" mind that endeavors always to control the government and the law in their interests at the expense of the individual in society.

My goal is to have this fine removed in government retail stores. It didn't exist until 2002 and it is entirely unnecessary and inspired by greed. The Secretary of Defense could do this with an Executive Order and The Congress could do it as well. The Courts could order it removed because it is so obviously illegal and unconstitutional. But, there is a lot of money involved here for a lot of people and the great power of our government is wrongly supporting this coercive fine on the troops and their family members to protect this money.

Yes this is a "Crusade" if this means a "vigorous concerted movement against an abuse." If there is nothing to hide ---why wouldn't the DOD agree to an IG investigation of the AAFES civil recovery Administrative Fee for shoplifting?

The Congress is embarassed that they allowed this to be slipped into law. WRITE OR FAX OR TELEPHONE YOUR CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN AND YOUR SENATORS TODAY.
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#115 Consumer Comment

For Heaven's Sake.

AUTHOR: Lonny - (U.S.A.)

It's pretty simple. Someone shoplifts, they are prosecuted. I have to agree, the $200 is a cop out. I believe they should go through the effort of arresting and prosecuting.

I have worked retail for a number of years. Catching shoplifters was like big game hunting. We enjoyed catching the theives and sending them off in cuffs. If every orginization and law office would just prosecute instead of worrying about the costs, shoplifting would be on the decline.

Now the court system and waste of resources there is another topic altogether.

Shoplifting = Stealing
Stealing = Crime
Crime = Punishment
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#116 Consumer Comment

Wife of a Veteran

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

First of all Carol, I have the highest regard for our military. My father was an Army Air Corps combat vet in WWII and my husband an Air Force Combat Vet in Vietnam. (I'm not young like you assumed) That being said, I think that the military and their families should adhere to the highest code of conduct. This includes not stealing!

You don't need a sign to tell you that stealing is against the law. Even children know it is. And just because it wasn't called "shoplifting" 200 years ago, it was still against the law. People were put in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed their families. And, if I'm not mistaken, one of the 10 commandments is "Thou Shall Not Steal". That's pretty cut and dry don't you think?

In the late 70's, I visited a friend on a Marine base in Yuma, AZ. One of the first things my friend told me was that I had to be careful to obey all the rules and regulations on the base because any infraction would reflect back on him. This included all traffic regulations, not entering restricted areas and, I'm sure, not stealing from the PX.
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#117 Consumer Comment

My two cents...and no, I did not steal them

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Has anyone else noticed, the people who STEAL always claim THEY are the ones being "ripped off", when they get caught?

Personally, I liked the old system. When you were caught, you were arrested. If you were a dependent, your sponsor had to explain why you are a thief, and then pay the price for your stupidity. That usually eliminated repeat offenses. Now, you pay a $200 fine, and all is good. They went to this system because it was "nicer", and some genius decided the sponsor wasn't responsible for the actions of his/her dependents. That's just BS.

I also agree about "the dumbest statement" ever made. That one still has me dizzy.

Go back to the old system if you want to stop theft. Throw the thieves Off-Base, punish the sponsor, and place a note in their SRB on page 11. THAT will end the stupidity. The sponsor is responsible for the actions of his/her dependents. Most of us were able to obey the rules. Why can't the few who don't?
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#118 Consumer Comment

Posting the warning

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Carol,

A little more info. The area I work in has several AAFES facilities. When you enter the stores a notice is prominently posted indicating ALL shoplifters will be prosecuted, additionally advising of the $200.00 civil recovery fee. In several of the stores this is next to a rather large poster with a picture of a military member in handcuffs asking if the shoplifting is worth a career.

Oddly, you would think this has some effect on detterence. Last year shoplifting detentions increased by 6% in the area I work. Additional shrinkage was up another 10%.

Profits decreased in double digits compared to the previous year. My answer in anticipation of your contention that this fee increases profits.

You indicate that for over 200 years shoplifting was not a crime. I respectfully disagree. While not codified under the term "shoplifting" I contend that you could not simply enter a merchant's shop, conceal and leave with merchandise if seen and escape prosecution. While some merchants may have simply allowed you to pay for the item and walk away, others had you prosecuted for theft.

I agree that warnings should be posted, however I don't agree on the actual effect as a deterrent. Commercial retailers have posted warnings for decades, the crime still occurs.

Most shoplifters caught in AAFES will admit that it is only the first time they have been "caught". It is a repetitive crime, most caught will stop at that point, but have offended before. In my store most will admit to having seen the sign but simply believed they would not be caught.

Military members are additionally warned when they transfer in to a new duty station during inprocessing briefings. Both AAFES loss prevention personnel and Military Police explain the civil recovery fee and the zero tolerance for shoplifting. The sponsor is responsible for all offenses committed by his/her dependents - he/she is responsible for explaining this to them as well.

All shoplifters, even career shoplifters, would happily pay for the merchandise and walk away free if they could - only to offend without being caught another day. Having to deal with your parents for a young first offender, not only for the embarrassment of being caught as a thief, but also for $200.00 they now have to pay for your misbehavior is one of the best detterrents I know. It will, with almost certainty, prevent a young first time offender from repeating this offense.

As for adults, it is the least they deserve. They know better, make a choice to offend, and must deal with the consequences.

As I have posted before, perhaps rather than espousing the prevention of the act you would better utilize your energy and efforts to campaign to have the civil recovery fee reduced to what you believe is a reasonable amount, as well as eliminating the citation to Federal court.

The fee is utilized solely to pay for loss prevention - from wages to electronic security measures. All these are expensive, and even this fee does not cover all the costs. Prior to the fee the entire cost was passed on to the other shoppers. This allows a method of defraying those costs and helps maintain lower prices.

Perhaps a better method would be to simply follow the previous policies. Detain a shoplifter. If military, they are arrested and tried under the UCMJ or by non-judicial punishment from their commander. In most cases, pay deduction for several months and reduction in rank. In the case of dependents they were often banned from the PX/commissary and at the discretion of the commander the entire facility. If living in housing they sometimes were removed from housing as well. If overseas the dependents were subject to losing their command sponsorship and returned to the U.S.

All of these methods are still available. With the exception of the commanders still dealing with military members, most of the time sponsored dependents are simply required to pay the fee, may be banned from the store for a period of time. In most cases they are not even banned any longer.

It seems to my thinking, the current civil recovery fee and citation are preferable to the previous methods. Of course that is one man's opinion.
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#119 Consumer Comment

Theft is theft... no matter what

AUTHOR: Scott - (U.S.A.)

It is quite obvious you are on a misguided crusade and will not listen and understand to what others are trying to tell you, which is: ANY AND ALL THEFT SHOULD BE PROSECUTED, it doesn't matter if someone is in the military or not.

By your line of thinking would it be alright if I purposely ran over someone with my car and I paid the victim's medical bills, all would be forgiven? If I take a car from a dealership for a joyride, but fill the gas tank up before returning it, there shouldn't be any repercussions? I could go on and on with your line of thinking.

I haven't seen any signs posted along city streets to NOT run people over, but I still know that it is a crime to do so. I haven't seen signs in the parking lots of car dealerships to NOT take their cars for a joyride, but I know that it is a crime to do so. Should I continue?

Shoplifting is a CRIME, end of story. I don't need a sign to tell me not to take what isn't mine.
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#120 Author of original report

Let's deter FIRST attempts to shoplift

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Let's deter "first" attempts to steal by posting notice of the criminal and the civil punishment and the fines. The stores don't post prominent notice and the government doesn't make them post prominent notice because the secret LP personnel and management want to "catch" as many shoplifters as they can. This is policy but the policy under which tickets are issued to military personnel and their families clearly indicates that offenses should be prevented whenever possible.

If potential shoplifters knew that it would cost them several hundred dollars in fines and that they would get a criminal record, etc.. no matter what their excuse for passing final checkout without paying, this would deter many opportunistic first attempts by amateur shoplifters. It is obvious that the retail corporations and the government stores are not at all interested in deterring first attempts to steal their merchandise. It is the obligation of the retailers who engasge in business for profit to seize every opportunity to get their merchandise paid for and not to use the people's police and the people's courts to provide a fulcrum for the retailer's civil demand letters.

If you are going to treat "shoplifting" with traffic tickets and as the crime of larceny, it is absolutely unconsionable not to post notice in the stores. This is just a subsidy for the corporate retailers that has been kept very quiet. The due process rights of the troops who give their lives for the "rule of law" are compromised to make them available to pay this $200 fine to the AAFES and the fine to the federal district courts.

And, you, Jennifer, don't think that our Armed Services or their families deserve any kind of a break. It is just fine with you that they are paying the highest minimum civil recovery and that they also are punished in the federal district courts with another fine and a constructive criminal record for five years.

Your kind of mentality is probably why the United States has more people incarcerated in prisons and jails, percentage wise, than any other Western Nation. Shoplifting was not a "crime" for over 200 years in the history of the law in this country and only became a "crime" in order to give a subsidy to the corporate retailers. The courts had a common sense approach before this subsidy. That is, if you are offering merchandise for sale, and if you, or a paid agent of yours, sees what looks like an attempt to steal, you, or your paid agent, has an obligation to ask for payment for this merchandise. This is the American way.You are in the business of selling your merchandise to the public and not in the business of entraping customers for completed larcenies through the use of secret retail police and the people's police and the people's courts. Before this SUBSIDY, the retailers had "LAW" that allowed them to prosecute under city ordinances for "attempts" to steal their merchandise, but they were responsible for the complaint and the prosecution of the matter in the lower courts.

The civics teachers don't do a very good job of teaching you young people and your great compassion for the men and women of The Armed Forces is revealing.

You seem not to be able to get beyond slogans like "If you do the crime, you do the time"! You do this to hide the fact that there IS NO LOSS TO THE RETAILER IN 99.9% of these shoplifting apprehensions, and to hide the fact that the retailers could have sold this merchandise to the suspects. You justify the right for the retailer to initiate a criminal arrest and extort a civil fine even though there is no loss to the retailer whatsoever on the basis that you have the right to do this for "deterrence" of a second attempt to steal, mistake, or inadvertence. But, again, you disclose your true intent because the retailers make no effort to deter "shoplifting", i.e. theft under law, by posting prominent notice of the criminal and civil penalties involved; i.e. the hundreds of dollars in fines and the criminal record in the courts. It is kind of like hiding the speed limits and the stop signs to create arrests that provide revenue for the cities and in the case of shoplifting, for both the cities and the retailers.


If the retailers and the federal government post PROMINENT notice of the criminal and civil consequences of shoplifting, and the secret police and the secret surveillance and this prevents 50% of the shoplifting attempts, isn't this the right thing to do? What possible reason do they have for not doing this other, than to arrest for profit.
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#121 Consumer Comment

Shoplifting is a crime!

AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

It is really quite simple, don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Don't shoplift unless you are prepared to get caught and have to pay a civil penalty!

Giving the shoplifter the choice of paying for the item totally defeats the purpose. Here's a scenario:

Someone goes to a major retailer for the express purpose of shoplifting and they get caught. They are then given a choice of paying for the item or face a $200 penalty. Duh..of course they are going to pay for it. So they pay and now they have a receipt. A few days later, they return the item, come back later and shoplift it again and this time they don't get caught! If that person were made to pay the penalty when caught the first time, do you think they'd be back, I don't.

I've worked in retail and shoplifting is rampant. Who do you think pays for those stolen items? You, the consumer, that's who. Theft and loss prevention is factored into the retail price of every item in the store.
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#122 Author of original report

This is a worthy cause

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Sorry this offends you and you that feel you have to be insulting, instead of just expressing your views.

Shoplifting is a crime against large corporations that could be and should be prevented whenever possible by the corporations who have an obligation and a duty to the public to get their merchandise paid for.

The $200 fine on the troops ---making them responsible for the offense of their mate or parent or child is also a crime and unconstitutional, in my mind. Just who is stealing from whom? You must be part of AAFES management if you have worked for them for 25 years and you are defensive because you can't think up a good excuse for starting to do this in 2002 ----just before the start of the war.

It is obvious that AAFES just wanted this $200 and knew that they could extract it from the active duty military and the retired military with the threat of the prosecution for larceny in the federal courts. They used to call this "extortion" in the old days.

You apparently don't think that it is enough that "first offenders" are sent to the federal courts and pay fines to the federal government and acquire constructive criminal records for five years, etc... You want that $200 for the AAFES ----and you know that in 99.9% of these apprehensions, there is no loss to the AAFES whatsoever caused by these defendants, and that they would pay for the merchandise if warned after the first covert act within the store. You apparently are "okay" with the "corporate" view that those that you "catch" must pay for those that you don't catch. This, of course, is a "win-win" situation for AAFES becaue you don't have to try to seriously deter any "first" attempts to steal AAFES ---Federal government---merchandise------through warnings of the secret police, the secret cameras, and the secret detection devices in the merchandise ---and the civil and the criminal fines!

AAFES wants to "catch" shoplifters and teach them a $200 lesson and send them to the federal district courts. AAFES has been given the incentive to arrest for profit and can offer "deterrence" as their only excuse for doing this to the troops. AAFES is in the perfect position to deter and warn before shoplifting becomes a crime because you can't purchase items from the AAFES stores unless you have a valid government ID card!

You sound like a lot of AAFES management. Absolute contempt for your customer base that is manisfested in this $200 fine on the troops.
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#123 UPDATE Employee

Stealing is a crime

AUTHOR: Lydia - (U.S.A.)

Plain and simple...........stealing, shoplifting, writing bad checks intenionally, they are all crimes whether you do it on a military installation or in the local economy! As stated before "after AAFES pays all the bills any money left over goes to MWR", so that 15 + million dollars lost in shoplifting etc is money taken away from military members and their families to better the Moral, Welfare and Recreation. I applaud AAFES for charging 200.00 for Civil Recovery to DETER the thief from acting again! It does not go into the Managers pockets, last year there was no bonus to the managers and managers no longer get the COLA increase as the Federal Employees get every January. I have worked for AAFES for 25 yrs and have seen shoplifters of all ages, ranks, ret, active duty, employees and I believe that we have been much too lenient!

Carol........I think you are nuts! Just my opinion. You should expend all your energy into a worthy cause, say perhaps community service!
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#124 Consumer Comment

Response to Carol

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Yes the other post you indicated was mine. While I have many issues with my employers practices in regard to other issues in their version of the retail world, this particular practice is one I am in agreement with.

As is evident with my post, I have strong opinions regarding theft and the resulting consequences and what they should be. This is not only theft from my workplace, but theft in general. I personally feel that the $200.00 fee is an appropriate part of the punishment for this act, and would further deter its occurrence if the states would extend it to civilian run retail stores.

Yes, AAFES employees are also subject to these fines when caught shoplifting or committing any other theft from AAFES. They are also immediately terminated. No excuses, no second chance, no recourse. LP managers at AAFES will inform you as a new associate that it is their belief 40% of all shrinkage is employee theft. It is my contention that they simply spend more time trying to catch associates stealing than watching suspicious customers.

Of course, that is only one man's opinion. We all are entitled to our own.

No, I do not receive bonuses, in any form, as I am not part of management. While offered these positions in the past, I have declined. There are many, many issues in my opinion, with AAFES. From gouging overseas customers with gasoline prices to poor quality "private label" merchandise with huge markups on wholesale cost.

One of my biggest complaints is their contention that the prices are the same anywhere in the world and that they will always match prices. It has not been my experience this is true, it is generally subject to the opinion of the manager at hand if they should honor a price challenge.

Headquarters will always dispute this and contend all their stores charge the same prices worldwide. Ask any soldier in Iraq if he/she is paying the same prices for an item they pay when not deployed and you will get an unfettered NO.

I could go on at length about the problems at AAFES. I will not, however, hijack your post for this.

I will still contend that no profit is made from the $200.00 civil recovery fee. The expense of providing loss prevention personnel and equipment is not minimal by any means. Costs previously passed on to the customers are now partially paid by these fees. It is, in my opinion, appropriate to make an offender pay for part of the cost of his/her apprehension. A choice was made, a choice to shoplift. A fee easily avoided by simply paying for your purchase, in almost all cases much less expense than the fee.
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#125 Author of original report

Where are you coming from, Viernheim?

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks Viernheim! I enjoyed our debate and hope that the "truth will out"! This is my goal and the Internet is a good tool to protect our democracy for the people. We know the large corporations and the government will try to regulate the Internet and prevent free speech.

One thing bothers me. Aren't you the same Viernheim who used the "Rip Off Site" to suggest that AAFES was the "home of lies, deceit, and corruption"? ----your words, Viernheim!

Are you an official AAFES gatherer of complaints against AAFES on the Internet, and do you invite critical comments when you suggest that AAFES is guilty of "lies, deceit, and corruption"? Where are you coming from, Viernheim? Is the AAFES fine on the troops only one act of deceit and corruption -----are there others? Is countering complaints your job or your hobby?

When one reads the words of an author, it is good to know where the author is coming from!

Of course, these $200 fines are part of the profits of the AAFES who pay no income taxes and who have ALWAYS realized a profit from their operations, and who have NEVER, in their existence, posted a loss. These $200 fines go right into the bank accounts of the individual AAFES stores. Management is provided with the incentive to arrest for profit.

Did you get a bonus last year? Or, are you getting one this year?

Do AAFES employees pay $200 civil recovery fees? I thought I read where these fees could not be collected from employees of AAFES.

Just legalized extortion and a "corporate" practice by AAFES in pursuit of greater profits!
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#126 Consumer Comment

Carol, we agree on some things

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Carol, we agree on some things. I am in agreement with you that active duty soldiers should not be cited and sent to Federal Court in regard to this offense.

They should, however, be prosecuted under the UCMJ by their commanders. If commanders are sending active duty members to Federal courts for an offense that occurred on post this is wrong. I think it is likely not occurring on every post, but subject to the decision of each facility commander, either by matter of policy or on a case by case basis. If it is occurring then I consider this appalling.

As for assimilation of local statutes it has always depended on where an offense occurred, the nature of the offense and whom it was committed against. Should an active duty member commit a crime in violation of state laws, particularly against a civilian, and the local District Attorney decides to prosecute, it has always been the policy of the military to surrender the offender for prosecution (except in very, very rare instances). Additionally the soldier remains punishable under the UCMJ as well, despite the outcome of the civilian trial. Yes, this seems to be double jeopardy; however it has been upheld time and again by the courts.

There is no attempt to present a "red herring" in my statement that the majority of shoplifters at AAFES are dependents - it is simply a documented fact. One I believe results from the fact that a military member is not likely to throw away his/her career over an offense such as this. The attitude of most dependents is that they believe they will get away with it. Not only are they subject to the civil fine but additionally they cause serious problems for their sponsors. Remember the privilige of shopping in a tax free environment, free housing and utilities and free medical/dental care is being provided for them - they need to hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct.

With the exception of the younger children most military dependents understand that their actions directly affect their father/mother in relation to the military. They simply think they can "get away" with it. The majority of shoplifters apprehended in the facility I work are adults. I would estimate the percentages for the facility as 14-18 15%, 18 and older (mostly dependent wives/husbands) 85% - these percentages being dependents only. Further for total offenses I would say only 1 in 50 apprehensions are active duty in the facility.

Again, as for the $200.00 amount. You are correct that the legislation took the higher amount from existing statutes and made it a standard. As for the purpose of the fine I am in full support. The amount could be revisited after research into what is reasonable. Until this happens, the law remains the law.

Personally, I can with definitive certainty state to you that these recovery fees are not contributing to profits. It is not fair to the soldier or the honest shopper to pay for shrinkage costs - it is appropriate for an offender to do so - whether or not they actually leave with the merchandise. Many have only "finally" been caught and have offended before. Unlike civilian retail stores AAFES does not have the option of "writing off" losses on their taxes. The profits are not taxed, so their is no accounting process in place for this. When AAFES experiences shrinkage losses, the loss is experienced by the shoppers. Loss of profits that are provided for MWR programs as well as higher costs to the individual shopper.

Perhaps that is a vein you could pursue in your quest to have this recovery fee overturned. If congress were to allow shrinkage to be written off or covered by appropriated funds then no financial loss would occur and MWR would receive even more funding.

AAFES has a responsibility to protect the assets and profits under its control. Our only function is to provide goods and services to service members at reasonable costs and to contribute any profits to MWR.

As for recent profits, it may interest you to know that even with the Civil Recovery fee AAFES profits are down signifigantly from last year. I don't have the exact figures but will post them for you later.

Thank you for an interesting debate.
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#127 Author of original report

Assimilated Crimes Act and the Federal Government

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Hi Viernheim! I hope you get a raise for your attempt to defend this extortion of the troops. Yes, we can agree to disagree.

You know, of course, that AAFES assimilated both the criminal and the civil laws of the states to write civil demand letters to civilians before March of 2002. (I don't know where the DOD/MWR/AAFES got the authority to assimilate the Civil regulatory laws of the state).

But, they couldn't demand civil recovery from active duty military personnel because shoplifting offenses by active duty military were under the jurisdiction of the UCMJ prior to Mazrch of 2002, just before the start of the war. Now, active duty military personnel are being sent to the federal district courts when they are accused of shoplifting in AAFES stores, instead of to their commanders, and are then subject to the $200 demand from AAFES.

Active duty personnel are deprived of free counsel, as provided under the UCMJ, when sent to the federal district courts. They must represent themselves or hire a lawyer. They pay two fines to the federal government and acquire a "constructive" criminal record for five years for a "first offense" shoplifting.
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The DOD/MWR/AAFES asked the Congress to find a way in 2001 that they could get their own Civil Recovery Program FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF DEMANDING THE $200 FROM THE TROOPS FOR THEIR OFFENSE OF SHOPLIFTING AS WELL AS THE OFFENSE OF A SPONSORED DEPENDENT, even their children as young as ten years old.

NOW, AAFES is demanding a greater minimum civil recovery, identified as a debt, and taken as a $200 Administrative Fee, from military and civilian sponsors, active and retired, than is authorized under the state laws of many of the installations in which AAFES stores are located -----and there is no standard for the debt or the tort of civil recovery in federal law.

In Arizona, the minimum civil recovery for shoplifting is $50.00 and in some of the cities, the police will not respond to the stores to ticket "shoplifters" who have peacefully surrendered the merchandise to an agent of the retailer on the store premises with an offer to pay for the merchandise.

Don't throw out that "red herring" that it is just the dependents who "shoplift", etc.. Is AAFES so powerful and arrogant that they think that it is appropriate to demand the $200 from the military sponsor under the threat of prosecuting him/her or the sponsored mate or parent for misdemeanor larceny in the federal courts?

The AAFES Civil Recovery Program was designed EXPRESSLY to enable AAFES to demand the $200 from active duty military personnel for his/her offense or the offense of a sponsored dependent under the threat of a criminal prosecution for misdemeanor larceny in the federal courts.

The great power of government is used to squeeze this $200 from the troops and this is unconsionable. The Congress of the United States owe the American people an explanation.

The DOD IG has denied my request (after many months) for an Inspector General Investigation as to whether or not this "fine" is legal and constitutional, and, as to whether or not AAFES apprehensions for shoplifting have increased since the imoplementation of this $200 fine in 2002. DOD referred me to the Congress. When government is wrong, nobody is interested in a "dogged investigation of the truth."

WRITE, FAX, TELEPHONE YOUR CONGRESS PERSON AND YOUR SENATOR TODAY AND TELL THEM TO STOP THIS EXTORTION OF OUR TROOPS.

This is not a political thing. This is about The Bill of Rights, and the Rule of Law.
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#128 Consumer Comment

Concealment and powers of states

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In most cases military dependents are the number one culprits in AAFES shoplifting cases. The military holds no prosecutorial power over military dependents and relies on Federal or State courts to prosecute offenders. As there is no Federal shoplifting statute as you previously pointed out the power is constitutionally reverts to the individual state to establish and enforce laws.

"Shoplifting suspects are permitted and allowed to engage in this kind of behavior within the stores that clearly indicates that they are "attempting to steal"

In reference to your ongoing scenario of stopping this crime before it occurs if AAFES shoplifting enforcement policies were expanded in most states the crime of "concealment" would have occurred.

In many states, concealment alone completes the crime of theft (shoplifting) regardless of whether you changed your mind or not. Concealment of merchandise completes the specific intent necessary for the criminal charge.

An example:

The New Jersey code of criminal procedure (N.J. Stat. Ann. tit. 2C: 2011 (1999)) defines shoplifting to include purposely concealing merchandise offered for sale with the intention of depriving the merchant of such merchandise without paying for it. The New Jersey code also defines other essentially preparatory acts as shoplifting when done with the requisite intent: altering or removing any label or price tag, or transferring merchandise from the container in which it is displayed to any other container. Such conduct indicates an intent to deprive and constitutes an exercise of wrongful dominion over the merchant's property even though the taker has not yet left the merchant's premises or the area in which it would be appropriate to pay for the goods.

Your contention that LP personnel should prevent this crime becomes unfeasible. The majority of apprehended offenders in AAFES are not Active Duty and therefore become subject to state laws were AAFES to elect to adopt this policy. Rather, AAFES policy is - All shoplifting is prosecuted. - Which I agree with. Almost EVERY person detained has the money to pay for the item, tells you "they forgot" and would pay willingly rather than have the stigma of having committed a crime, albeit a misdemeanor.

Whatever your belief, retailers have always passed the cost of shrinkage on to their customers. Although the actual legislation may not have identified the crime as shoplifting in our early years as a country, it was still theft and still a crime. With rising shrinkage losses retailers began to combat their losses with LP personnel, video surveillence and other electronic means of detection - all of which cost the retailer money. Who do the retailers pass this cost on to - the consumer in all cases.

Shoplifters at AAFES are cited to Federal Court as the offense occurred on a Federal installation, the merchandise is Federal property (as you contend with AAFES being part of the government) and it is the jurisdiction of the Federal court to deal with the matter.

As for a shoplifter being caught the first time they ever shoplift - it would be better if it were always this way. Normally it isn't - most shoplifters have committed the act many times before they are caught initially.

"Those persons cited on traffic tickets for misdemeanor larceny are deprived of some very basic "due process" protections such as a warrant."

Where is a warrant needed? To enter any U.S. Military installation a person implicity agrees that if they enter or exit a military installation they maybe subject to a reasonable inspection as a condition precedent to entry or exit. There are signs posted at every installation warning of this. No warrant is needed here.

I realize to you this post is about money and you do not disagree that shoplifting is a crime. We do, however, disagree on the responsibility of AAFES, any other retailer, or society in general to prevent a criminal from committing a crime. In my opinion, criminals in general see an opportunity, know the act they are about to commit is illegal and if caught they can be punished, believe they will not be caught and proceed to comitt the offense to satisfy whatever need they may have to do so. They do so as a matter of personal choice and it is not feasible for anyone to deter the crime.

Yes, there are crime deterrents in place for many crimes and criminals but they are skirted. No matter what deterrent the human mind can imagine there is always someone smart enough to find a way to get around it.

Thank you for your well thought post(s). It seems we again must agree to disagree.
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#129 Consumer Comment

Concealment and powers of states

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In most cases military dependents are the number one culprits in AAFES shoplifting cases. The military holds no prosecutorial power over military dependents and relies on Federal or State courts to prosecute offenders. As there is no Federal shoplifting statute as you previously pointed out the power is constitutionally reverts to the individual state to establish and enforce laws.

"Shoplifting suspects are permitted and allowed to engage in this kind of behavior within the stores that clearly indicates that they are "attempting to steal"

In reference to your ongoing scenario of stopping this crime before it occurs if AAFES shoplifting enforcement policies were expanded in most states the crime of "concealment" would have occurred.

In many states, concealment alone completes the crime of theft (shoplifting) regardless of whether you changed your mind or not. Concealment of merchandise completes the specific intent necessary for the criminal charge.

An example:

The New Jersey code of criminal procedure (N.J. Stat. Ann. tit. 2C: 2011 (1999)) defines shoplifting to include purposely concealing merchandise offered for sale with the intention of depriving the merchant of such merchandise without paying for it. The New Jersey code also defines other essentially preparatory acts as shoplifting when done with the requisite intent: altering or removing any label or price tag, or transferring merchandise from the container in which it is displayed to any other container. Such conduct indicates an intent to deprive and constitutes an exercise of wrongful dominion over the merchant's property even though the taker has not yet left the merchant's premises or the area in which it would be appropriate to pay for the goods.

Your contention that LP personnel should prevent this crime becomes unfeasible. The majority of apprehended offenders in AAFES are not Active Duty and therefore become subject to state laws were AAFES to elect to adopt this policy. Rather, AAFES policy is - All shoplifting is prosecuted. - Which I agree with. Almost EVERY person detained has the money to pay for the item, tells you "they forgot" and would pay willingly rather than have the stigma of having committed a crime, albeit a misdemeanor.

Whatever your belief, retailers have always passed the cost of shrinkage on to their customers. Although the actual legislation may not have identified the crime as shoplifting in our early years as a country, it was still theft and still a crime. With rising shrinkage losses retailers began to combat their losses with LP personnel, video surveillence and other electronic means of detection - all of which cost the retailer money. Who do the retailers pass this cost on to - the consumer in all cases.

Shoplifters at AAFES are cited to Federal Court as the offense occurred on a Federal installation, the merchandise is Federal property (as you contend with AAFES being part of the government) and it is the jurisdiction of the Federal court to deal with the matter.

As for a shoplifter being caught the first time they ever shoplift - it would be better if it were always this way. Normally it isn't - most shoplifters have committed the act many times before they are caught initially.

"Those persons cited on traffic tickets for misdemeanor larceny are deprived of some very basic "due process" protections such as a warrant."

Where is a warrant needed? To enter any U.S. Military installation a person implicity agrees that if they enter or exit a military installation they maybe subject to a reasonable inspection as a condition precedent to entry or exit. There are signs posted at every installation warning of this. No warrant is needed here.

I realize to you this post is about money and you do not disagree that shoplifting is a crime. We do, however, disagree on the responsibility of AAFES, any other retailer, or society in general to prevent a criminal from committing a crime. In my opinion, criminals in general see an opportunity, know the act they are about to commit is illegal and if caught they can be punished, believe they will not be caught and proceed to comitt the offense to satisfy whatever need they may have to do so. They do so as a matter of personal choice and it is not feasible for anyone to deter the crime.

Yes, there are crime deterrents in place for many crimes and criminals but they are skirted. No matter what deterrent the human mind can imagine there is always someone smart enough to find a way to get around it.

Thank you for your well thought post(s). It seems we again must agree to disagree.
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#130 Consumer Comment

Concealment and powers of states

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In most cases military dependents are the number one culprits in AAFES shoplifting cases. The military holds no prosecutorial power over military dependents and relies on Federal or State courts to prosecute offenders. As there is no Federal shoplifting statute as you previously pointed out the power is constitutionally reverts to the individual state to establish and enforce laws.

"Shoplifting suspects are permitted and allowed to engage in this kind of behavior within the stores that clearly indicates that they are "attempting to steal"

In reference to your ongoing scenario of stopping this crime before it occurs if AAFES shoplifting enforcement policies were expanded in most states the crime of "concealment" would have occurred.

In many states, concealment alone completes the crime of theft (shoplifting) regardless of whether you changed your mind or not. Concealment of merchandise completes the specific intent necessary for the criminal charge.

An example:

The New Jersey code of criminal procedure (N.J. Stat. Ann. tit. 2C: 2011 (1999)) defines shoplifting to include purposely concealing merchandise offered for sale with the intention of depriving the merchant of such merchandise without paying for it. The New Jersey code also defines other essentially preparatory acts as shoplifting when done with the requisite intent: altering or removing any label or price tag, or transferring merchandise from the container in which it is displayed to any other container. Such conduct indicates an intent to deprive and constitutes an exercise of wrongful dominion over the merchant's property even though the taker has not yet left the merchant's premises or the area in which it would be appropriate to pay for the goods.

Your contention that LP personnel should prevent this crime becomes unfeasible. The majority of apprehended offenders in AAFES are not Active Duty and therefore become subject to state laws were AAFES to elect to adopt this policy. Rather, AAFES policy is - All shoplifting is prosecuted. - Which I agree with. Almost EVERY person detained has the money to pay for the item, tells you "they forgot" and would pay willingly rather than have the stigma of having committed a crime, albeit a misdemeanor.

Whatever your belief, retailers have always passed the cost of shrinkage on to their customers. Although the actual legislation may not have identified the crime as shoplifting in our early years as a country, it was still theft and still a crime. With rising shrinkage losses retailers began to combat their losses with LP personnel, video surveillence and other electronic means of detection - all of which cost the retailer money. Who do the retailers pass this cost on to - the consumer in all cases.

Shoplifters at AAFES are cited to Federal Court as the offense occurred on a Federal installation, the merchandise is Federal property (as you contend with AAFES being part of the government) and it is the jurisdiction of the Federal court to deal with the matter.

As for a shoplifter being caught the first time they ever shoplift - it would be better if it were always this way. Normally it isn't - most shoplifters have committed the act many times before they are caught initially.

"Those persons cited on traffic tickets for misdemeanor larceny are deprived of some very basic "due process" protections such as a warrant."

Where is a warrant needed? To enter any U.S. Military installation a person implicity agrees that if they enter or exit a military installation they maybe subject to a reasonable inspection as a condition precedent to entry or exit. There are signs posted at every installation warning of this. No warrant is needed here.

I realize to you this post is about money and you do not disagree that shoplifting is a crime. We do, however, disagree on the responsibility of AAFES, any other retailer, or society in general to prevent a criminal from committing a crime. In my opinion, criminals in general see an opportunity, know the act they are about to commit is illegal and if caught they can be punished, believe they will not be caught and proceed to comitt the offense to satisfy whatever need they may have to do so. They do so as a matter of personal choice and it is not feasible for anyone to deter the crime.

Yes, there are crime deterrents in place for many crimes and criminals but they are skirted. No matter what deterrent the human mind can imagine there is always someone smart enough to find a way to get around it.

Thank you for your well thought post(s). It seems we again must agree to disagree.
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#131 Author of original report

All Public Policy Entrapment is considered legal until the courts say otherwise

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Hi Viernheim! Nice to talk to you again. Thanks for the compliment. You are a good writer, too, and I understand what you are telling me and your logic, even though I don't agree.

Yes, Viernheim, I understand how "entrapment" is defined by the Supreme Court. I understand that "technically" the courts do not consider this process of allowing suspects (who have been under constant surveillance) to walk past the final checkouts without being asked for payment to be entrapment.

And, of course, the judges would never inquire during the trial or would never allow the defense attorneys to inquire during a trial as to whether or not this "crime" could have been prevented ----or to inquire as to whether or not the retail store or the double agent, who represents both the retail store and the police authorities, has any legal or moral obligation to stop or prevent a crime in the making.

As you said, Viernheim, no crime has been committed until the suspects actually exit the store without paying. They can do anything they want to do with the merchandise within the store,i.e.wear it, eat it, remove the tags or change the tags, stuff it down their trousers or up their sleeves or in their bras, or conceal it in their purses or pockets or other carry-in bags, or as one LP responder told me "stuff 2lbs. of meat in their crotch"! There are no postings prohibiting this kind of concealment and neither security nor the retail employees will warn or caution suspects about this behavior when they are witness to it by means of secret surveillance within the storeor normal observastions.

Under government policy, these million and billion-dollar retail corporations have no duty to stop these obvious attempts to steal their merchandise or to warn the shopping public about the criminal and civil consequences of attempting to steal their property within the stores.

Shoplifting suspects are permitted and allowed to engage in this kind of behavior within the stores that clearly indicates that they are "attempting to steal" or are inadvertent and then allowed and permitted to pass final checkouts by the retailer's double agent LP for the purpose of citing them for the completed crime of larceny on traffic tickets. Once these suspects pass final checkouts, they are not permitted to pay for the merchandise and are now criminals. The billion-dollar retail corporations have no responsibility for the traffic citation or any prosecution of the matter in the lower courts. But, they are given the privilege under the law of sending a civil demand to the ticketed defendant that threatens a civil suit for civil damages unless the ticketed defendant remits the money damages within a certain time period. This certainly looks like legalized extortion. First-time ever ticketed shoplifters are greatly intimidated by the great power of the state ----some to the point of heart attacks and attempted suicides. Many lose their jobs and their reputations ----some lose their lives --AND THERE HAS BEEN NO ACTUAL LOSS TO THE RETAILER WHATSOEVER IN most of these cases.

Those persons cited on traffic tickets for misdemeanor larceny are deprived of some very basic "due process" protections such as a warrant. A crime of "moral turpitude" that can involve jail time and, at the least, a criminal record is treated the same as a traffic ticket, an infraction of the law, by the lower courts. The lower courts are closed to any defense to a ticket for "stealing"! It is noticed that when the law was changed over the past 25 to 30 years to render "shoplifting" a crime against the people because government permitted secret police and secret surveillance within the private retail stores, the cities and small towns of America acquired another source of revenue other than traffic tickets and tickets for disburbing the peace. The local attorneys were not unhappy either because it certainly provided more clients for them. This was good for "business" so to speak. The LP personnel were not unhappy either because it gave them more power and absolute discretion to detain under the criminal law and to detain under Civil Recovery Law. The Administrative Law under which LP (secret police) are licensed with limited powers of detainment and arrest, actually gives them the discretion to initiate/file either a criminal citation or to initiate a civil demand under the civil law. (A Professor at American University indicates that loss prevention and security personnel do not have the same obligation as do sworn police officers to initiate criminal complaints when they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.) It is the policy of the retailer that indicates whether a criminal or a civil complaint will be initiated, or whether a criminal citation and a civil demand, both, will be initiated. All of these options appear to be available under current statutory laws ----except for the federal civi recovery program that was codified by a Press Release and for which there is no standard for either the debt or the tort in the law.

The lower courts can't order restitution for apprehended shoplifting because generally THERE IS NO ACTUAL LOSS and the so called stolen merchandise has never left the store premises and has been photographed for "evidence" purposes in the very rare event of a "trial"! . Most "first time" arrested shoplifters are diverted from the courts into rehab or plea bargains. But, of course, the new civil laws permitting civil demand letters to be sent to suspects ticketed by the cities for "stealing" provides compensation and profit to the retailers who have LOST the SALES that they could have made to those suspects ticketed and arrested for shoplifting, misdemenor larceny. These arrests are made solely by the cities and the towns for the purpose of DETERRENCE of any second attempt to shoplift by the ticketed defendant and NOT BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN ANY ACTUAL LOSS TO THE RETAILER, or because either the retailer or the city or town will benefit in any way ---so we are led to believe. These tickets and arrests are made to protect the public interests ----the public good!

This is a kind of "public policy entrapment" that the Supreme Court talked about during prohibition when the government agents would so often set up very ordinary type citizens to prosecute them under these somewhat new liquor laws that made it a crime to sell or buy liquor but not to drink. This, of course, was very good for the sale of bathtubs and provided a lot of work for federal agents but was overturned by the will of the people.

This will not happen, of course, with this conspiracy of interests to treat shoplifting as the crime of larceny. Most people don't care what happens to people accused of shoplifting and there will be no PAC. I am a PAC of one trying to recruit others to my cause of action to stop this $200 fine on the troops. '

I understand that this shoplifting scam and conspiracy is "policy" and protected by the courts with case law, etc.. and this in itself is frightening because the courts are supposed to be an instrument of the law and the Constitution and not the instrument of the special interests in society.

But to SQUEEZE THE TROOPS to get this $200 when there has generally been no ACTUAl loss to the AAFES whatsoever is unconscionable -----and to make the troops responsible for paying $200 for their mates or their children is unconscionable and unConstitutional, as well. And the very concept of justifying that a class of persons should pay a fine to a billion-dollar retailer on the basis that they are paying for the "shoplifters" who aren't apprehended is fascist, totalitarian, and unbelievable.

Also, for over 200 years in the law of our great country, the courts assumed that the costs of protecting retail merchandise from theft were the responsibility of the retailer who engaged in the business for profit. The expenses for theft detection and theft prevention are considered the normal and expected overhead expenses of retail operations. For over 200 years in the law of our great country, the courts assumed that "for profit" retailers had an obligation to the law to get their merchandise paid for and not to use the law and public resources to subsidize their business operations.

It is the retailers, in pursuit of ever greater profits, who decided that they would sell their merchandise in larger and larger square footage stores with wide open doors and no clerks and no service who created the "crime" of shoplifting for the purpose of creating the subsidy of civil recovery and civil demand letters ---and for the purpose of making the American tax payers responsible for paying for the diligence and deterrence of shoplifting that should be the responsibility of the retailer corporations under the law ---and not the taxpayers.

The small Mom and Pop stores are almost gone anyway, but they didn't get the benefit of "civil recovery demand laws" because they couldn't afford secret cameras and they couldn't afford to license security personnel, and when their customers attempted to steal from them, and they witnessed the act, they had to prevent shoplifting the old fashioned way. They told them to stop and to pay for the merchandise before they left the store. They couldn't even threaten these "sneak-thieves" with the police because they knew the police wouldn't come to their store and that they had no authority under the law to detain the person physically.
Now, of course, there is no doubt about what the shoplifter has done within the store because of video surveillance and there is no chance of a detained shoplifter threatening to sue for slander, or whatever, as you suggested, because they are CONSTANTLY under surveillance from the moment of the covert act of concealment, or mistake or inadvertence. The AAFES KNOWS for certain what hasn't been paid for and where it is.

Shoplifting could be prevented within the stores and treated as "an attempt or an inadvertence" for which a civil fine would be appropriate ---but would this be constitutional? (you posed this question to me) I don't know. I only know that the citation for a crime and a civil demand for money at the same time looks like extortion and our government shouldn't be doing this to the troops.

The billion-dollar retail industry may sell merchandise to the public but they buy legislation from government, and the tainting of the people's courts is the result of this purchase.

The media corporations help the retailes (just like the JAG show tried to help AAFES with a little brainwash about shoplifting) and they know, we, the public, are like sheep and that we will believe the message that "shoplifting is a threat to the average consumer because it raises the costs of the merchandise the public purchases ---and this is why the public, the people, must punish shoplifters on behalf of the poor and destitute retailers who are driven out of business by the dishonesty of the American people." The LP people and the corporations lean on the description of the "first time" shoplifter as a "thief" and "a criminal" and use this as a "red herring" to disguise who is stealing from whom.

Come on Viernheim! I know you work for AAFES and you have to defend this practice but you must be ashamed to be part of it ----to be doing this to the military ---who are called on to sacrifice so much for the policies of their government and who make these sacrifices to protect our democracy and our Constitution and our freedoms and the rule of law. They don't make these sacrifices so that "fat cat" corporations can transcend the limits of decent and moral business practices under the guise that this is for the "public good" and, in your case, for the good of The Armed Services of The United States and the AAFES stores. Not everything that is "good for business" is good for the country in spite of what we are led to believe by those people who want to conduct government in a business-like manner. (I read recently that the mail to the APO's may be put out for private bid ----God forbid! How much will it cost the American people for the troops to get their mail?)

If God had provided notice of the punishment for giving into the temtation of "eating the apple", would Eve have eaten the apple? Was Eve the first shoplifter? Human nature! A former head of our government even testified under oath that "people don't do bad things when they think somebody is looking" or words to this effect. I admire him for his honesty and his understanding of human nature and his grace under fire (but I didn't vote for him) I'm sure that he would agree that "shoplifters" in any setting should be warned of the criminal and civil consequences of shoplifting and of the secret surveillance, the secret LP, and the secret detection devices in the merchandise before they give into temptation----and especially those shoplifters who serve our country and who may be called on to give their lives for our freedoms that are protected by the rule of law.

Thanks again, Viernheim, for talking to me. I wish you would write to your Congress person or your Senator and ask them if if was their INTENT to EXTORT the troops for $200 under the THREAT of a criminal prosecution for misdemeanor larceny shoplifting in the Federal District Courts. What was their state of mind?
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#132 Consumer Comment

Carol you write very well ..statements are not based in facts

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Carol, you write very well, however most of your statements are not based in facts.

You continue to use the term "Entrapment". Legally, entrapment as defined by the Supreme Court -

"Entrapment is the conception and planning of an offense by an officer, and his procurement of its commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery, persuasion, or fraud of the officer. "

By using this term, you would have us believe that LP personnel at AAFES see a shopper, plan to trick or persuade him/her into shoplifting, then detain them after the crime occurs.

It is the responsibility of the INDIVIDUAL to obey the law. Shoplifters, whether first time, opportunistic, or repeat offenders KNOW they are committing a crime.

RFID is a tool, but won't prevent shoplifters from committing their offense. In addition, RFID tags are often incorporated in packaging, many items are removed from original packaging by shoplifters in an attempt to deter current electronic detection methods.

With over $15 Million in shrinkage losses in 2003 and this number now growing perhaps you would prefer the administrative costs of processing a shoplifter simply be passed on to all of the honest shoppers. These people committ crimes and should be fined.

You also continue to state that the authority to collect the civil recovery fee is not properly legislated or codified. The fee wasclearly evident in the Congressional legislation not hidden. The authority to collect this debt through offest or private contractors is codified:

U.S. Code>Title 31>Subtitle III>Chapter 37>Subchapter 37>Section 3701

(a) In this chapter?
(1) ?administrative offset? means withholding funds payable by the United States (including funds payable by the United States on behalf of a State government) to, or held by the United States for, a person to satisfy a claim.
(2) ?calendar quarter? means a 3-month period beginning on January 1, April 1, July 1, or October 1.
(3) ?consumer reporting agency? means?
(A) a consumer reporting agency as that term is defined in section 603(f) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a (f)); or
(B) a person that, for money or on a cooperative basis, regularly?
(i) gets information on consumers to give the information to a consumer reporting agency; or
(ii) serves as a marketing agent under an arrangement allowing a third party to get the information from a consumer reporting agency.
(4) ?executive, judicial, or legislative agency? means a department, agency, court, court administrative office, or instrumentality in the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of Government, including government corporations.
(5) ?military department? means the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
(6) ?system of records? has the same meaning given that term in section 552a (a)(5) of title 5.
(7) ?uniformed services? means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service.
(8) ?nontax? means, with respect to any debt or claim, any debt or claim other than a debt or claim under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
(b)
(1) In subchapter II of this chapter and subsection (a)(8) of this section, the term ?claim? or ?debt? means any amount of funds or property that has been determined by an appropriate official of the Federal Government to be owed to the United States by a person, organization, or entity other than another Federal agency. A claim includes, without limitation?
(A) funds owed on account of loans made, insured, or guaranteed by the Government, including any deficiency or any difference between the price obtained by the Government in the sale of a property and the amount owed to the Government on a mortgage on the property,
(B) expenditures of nonappropriated funds, including actual and administrative costs related to shoplifting, theft detection, and theft prevention,
(C) over-payments, including payments disallowed by audits performed by the Inspector General of the agency administering the program,
(D) any amount the United States is authorized by statute to collect for the benefit of any person,
(E) the unpaid share of any non-Federal partner in a program involving a Federal payment and a matching, or cost-sharing, payment by the non-Federal partner,
(F) any fines or penalties assessed by an agency; [1] and
(G) other amounts of money or property owed to the Government.
(2) For purposes of section 3716 of this title, each of the terms ?claim? and ?debt? includes an amount of funds or property owed by a person to a State (including any past-due support being enforced by the State), the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(c) In sections 3716 and 3717 of this title, the term ?person? does not include an agency of the United States Government.
(d) Sections 3711 (e) and 3716?3719 of this title do not apply to a claim or debt under, or to an amount payable under?
(1) the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 1 et seq.),
(2) the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.), except to the extent provided under sections 204(f) and 1631(b)(4) of such Act and section 3716 (c) of this title, or
(3) the tariff laws of the United States.
(e) In section 3716 of this title?
(1) ?creditor agency? means any agency owed a claim that seeks to collect that claim through administrative offset; and
(2) ?payment certifying agency? means any agency that has transmitted a voucher to a disbursing official for disbursement.
(f) In section 3711 of this title, ?private collection contractor? means private debt collectors under contract with an agency to collect a nontax debt or claim owed the United States. The term includes private debt collectors, collection agencies, and commercial attorneys.

There is no "profit" being made here, AAFES must pay the cost of detection, detention and processing of shoplifters - not to mention the losses from those not apprehended. The customers should not have to pay these costs. If a first time shoplifter pays $200.00 and even a portion of it is not actual cost of this incident but rather, pays for the losses causes by those not apprehended then so be it. If you join the shoplifting club then these are the dues you pay.

"AAFES could prevent shoplifting and the Congress should mandate them to do so. How can you prevent theft unless you prevent shoplifting?"

I still don't understand how you propose LP personnel prevent shoplifting. Most shoplifting occurs in non surveilled areas such as dressing rooms. Would you have cameras placed in these areas? Or would you happily accept a search of your person or handbag when suspect? Wait, I know, you still would like LP personnel to approach a shopper and say "I noticed you seem to be trying to steal that item, please don't do it or we have to detain you."

Perhaps your premise in that particular subject is that the "inadvertant" shoplifter that puts an item in their pocket and forgets about it should be given the benefit of the doubt. This is not feasible. LP Personnel are not enhanced with mind reading abilities and are not able to determine that this occurred.

It is not about making profit. It is about making criminals bear the cost of their crime. Yes, in addition they may receive fines from the court - the court is not in turn going to send this money to AAFES to pay for their loss prevention costs.
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#133 Author of original report

Undercover police and secret policy AAFES

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks B, Atlanta, for the information. I think, since 9-11, the AAFES is using contract security more and, of course, the security is very tight at all military installations.

You can't purchase items or even get onto bases to shop in AAFES stores unless you have government Identification Cards (ID) or are a registered guest of someone who does have a valid ID card. It used to be in the old days that those people without ID cards were not even allowed in the exchange stores or the commissaries without a special permit. The government knows who you are and has a data base on all those who hold valid government ID cards that authorize exchange and commissary benefits. It is not like this is a criminal class of people and the exchanges and the commissaries technically belong to the troops and their families. They exist to service these people and not to perpetuate the corporate image of the Government stores and to enrich management and government contractors.

Please understand that it is not my intention to denigrate loss prevention personnel or military police or commisioned police of the city. You did not design or make this policy. You have to work for a living and this is your job. I see how little AAFES paid security employees to further THEIR policy ----not yours. Just a little above minimim wage.

It is my intention to condemn the government policy behind the scheme to entrap shoplifters for completed lalrcenies and then to extort them for civil damages under the guise that this is for the public good. I use the term "secret police" to stress that government made covert changes in the criminal and civil law to support policy that essentially denies basic due process rights to persons charged with misdemeanor and felony larceny. I believe they did this to grant a subsidy to the powerful retail lobby.

It has only been in the last 30 years that state governments designed this scheme to punish shoplifters criminally with tickets for stealing and to also extort civil damages from them at the same time under the threat of filing a CIVIL suit against them in the courts. (It is against the law to demand money under the threat of a criminal prosecution) They could only do this because of the limited police power given by the cities to the undercover retail security personnel (secret police) who are employed by the corporate retailes.

Shoplifting would no longer be an attempt to steal that could be prosecuted under ordinance upon the complaint of the owner of the merchandise (or his business agent). Shoplifting would now be a completed larceny prosecuted on behalf of the people on the complaint of the licensed security to the commissioned police, who would then issue a probable cause ticket for "stealing" to the detained shnoplifter. The corporate retailer would not have to join the complaint and would be protected from suits for false arrest and malicious prosecution. The lower courts would be closed to any defense to a ticket for "stealing"! The ticket for "stealing" and the demand letter for civil damages would be a cost effective mthod to get the civil damages authorized by law. Civil suits wouldn't have to be filed by the retailers.

The AAFES saw "civil recovery" as a way to increase profits and opted for the highest MINIMUM civil recovery ($200)under the pretense that it is a debt owned to the government because they knew they couldn't get a bill through the Congress for Civil Recovery like the states had passed. Some lawyers put their heads together and this new policy to extort $200 from the troops under the threat of prosecuting them or their family members in the federal district courts was approved at a very high level of government. The federal government doesn't have any "tort" law for "shoplifting" and I think AAFES demand letters just threaten to tell their commanders and take it out of their pay. AAFES, because they are government, already takes "late payments and charges" directly out of government pay withbout a court order. They don't have to be concerned with due process of law.

This new policy enriched both the debt collection contractors and the security contractors and AAFES management.The Airforce announced that they had hired a Civil Recovery Collection firm that would have the demand letters for $200 in the mail within 48 hours.

DOD/MWR/AAFES didnt codify this amendment that was slipped into law. They just used the informal media of the Armed Services to loudly assert that Congress had given them the right to demand this $200 from the troops, etc. etc.! But, this is not the way law is made in a democracy. The troops deserve better treatment from the AAFES and the American public deserves an explanation from the Congress.

This is all about money. AAFES could prevent shoplifting and the Congress should mandate them to do so. How can you prevent theft unless you prevent shoplifting? Isn't it the first duty of the police and police power to prevent crimes. New technology like RFID will allow the retailers to prevent almost all shoplifting but they may not want to give up their subsidy of "civil recovery" and will continue to entrap and detain and arrest for profit.

Remember, AAFES IS THE GOVERNMENT, and the government is supposed to work for the troops and not go into business for itself.
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#134 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Some Background Info on AAFES F.Y.I.

AUTHOR: B - (U.S.A.)

Here is a bit of info FYI, first is the specs of the common garden variety 'security' position for AAFES work in their retail operations. You get hired on for this position to do the basic floor work in the various base exchange/convience stores. Remember in my earlier post I said the $ wasn't anything impressive, see for yourself (below)

Also in my earlier post I quoted a line from the OP in which the OP claimed that the security was some sort of 'secret police'. This line was posted without quotes and it is not my intention to compare AAFES security to 'secret police', they are NOT and are simply retail security people who happen to work on government bases. They are no more 'secret police' than are the plain clothes people who work at Sears, Wally World etc.
----------------------
Sheppard AFB Safety and Security Office

Type of Job: Open to all Applicants
Requisition #: AAFES-2006-14639
Job Code: 2110PB2E01 EX SAF & SEC ASST
City: Sheppard AFB

State: TX
Salary: $6.92 to $7.00 (Hourly)
Open Date: May 09, 2006
Close Date: May 18, 2007
Job Type: Intermittent

Schedule requires candidate to be flexible.

Responsibilities: Conducts surveillance in retail, food and services facilities to detect
acts of shoplifting, pilferage or other illegal or dishonest acts. Surveys physical working conditions or work practices which could results in injury or illness to customers, associates or damage to property. Insures observance of fire, safety and sanitation regulations.

Minimum Qualifications: Completion of high school or the equivalent. Experience in
protection of property, maintenance of order, enforcement of laws and related work.

Benefits include: Vacation/Sick Leave; Group Insurance Plan; Mass Transportation
Reimbursement (up to 100.00 per month)

==========================
U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet
ARMY AND AIR FORCE EXCHANGE SERVICE

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is a joint-service military organization serving both the Army and Air Force. Its worldwide headquarters is in Dallas, Texas.

Mission

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has two primary missions. One is to provide quality merchandise and services to 8.7 million active duty, National Guard, reserve members, military retirees and their family members, at uniformly low prices. The second is to generate reasonable earnings for the support of Army morale, welfare and recreation and Air Force services programs.

Personnel

On each post or base, a general manager is responsible for all AAFES facilities on the installation. Of the more than 53,000 AAFES employees worldwide, 34 percent are military family members and another 4 percent are active-duty military who work part-time during their off duty hours. Although a military organization, AAFES has 64 assigned military personnel.

Facilities and Resources

AAFES operates more than 10,000 activities, including: retail stores, catalog services, bookstores, class six package stores, concessions, food facilities, florists, gas stations and auto repair, laundry and dry cleaners, barber and beauty shops, military clothing sales stores, movie theaters, vending centers and video rental. Although AAFES is a federal organization, it is a nonappropriated fund instrumentality that is almost entirely self-supporting and receives only 2 percent of its operating support from tax dollars appropriated by Congress.

Sales in fiscal 2001 totaled $7.09 billion and earnings were $373.1 million. Contributions to Army morale, welfare and recreation and Air Force services funds were $243.9 million or $277.94 for every soldier and airman. Dividends paid to individual services included $145.4 million to Army, $864 million to Air Force, $10.2 million to the Marine Corps and $1.7 million to the Navy. Over the past 10 years, AAFES payments to these funds have totaled more than $2.42 billion.

The Army and Air Force spent this money on quality of life improvements for soldiers, airmen and their families. These contributions make AAFES a major non-pay benefit to customers. AAFES earnings are also used to build new stores or renovate existing facilities without expense to the federal government. These include new shopping centers, mini-malls, home and garden centers, branch stores, shoppettes and warehouses. Funds to construct these new or replacement facilities come entirely from sales of merchandise and services. It's another way that AAFES supports and gives back to the military community.

Organization

The commander is a general officer responsible to a board of directors that is established by the secretaries of the Army and Air Force. Subordinate commands control operations in Europe (Mainz, Germany) and the Pacific Rim (Okinawa, Japan). Three region directors in the continental United States control store operations from the AAFES Operations Center, also located in Dallas.
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#135 Consumer Comment

Shoplifers victimize us,

AUTHOR: Marc - (U.S.A.)

It's about time we victimize them back. So do you shoplift off the base also? Are you angry that the military is not letting you off as easy as the civilians do? Everyone knows the criminal courts are a joke.
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#136 Author of original report

AAFES is a component of the Department of Defense and legal entity of US Government

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks B, Atlanta, for your comments. AAFES IS THE GOVERNMENT and that is why your ID card identified you as a US government worker.
When corporations steal from their customers, it is a CIVIL matter. When they fail to ring up the sale price advertised and when they sell you shoddy and defective merchandise, and when their computers are not programed to reflect the prices advertised in the newspapers or on the floor, many customers pay these "extra's" without realizing it. When they do find the "mistake", they have to stand in long lines at Customer Service. or they just pay and let it go. Do some stores intentionally not put the advertised prices in their computers. Is this stealing?

In Grocery Chains, there have been investigations that reveal that deli items and meat items are re-labeled when they are out of date to reflect later "use by" dates. Is this fraud and stealing and endangering the health of the public for profit?
But, corporations are never punished criminally for stealing from the people or fraudulent practices.

Shoplifting is an opportunistic act committed by many people who have never even gotten a speeding ticket. Most of these first-time shoplifters would never think of stealing from a friend, etc.. It just looks so easy and they rationalize that the store will never miss it because there is "STUFF" piled from floor to ceiling and no clerks about, etc., and, of course, they think they won't get caught. Do the retailers deliberately present this appearance because they really don't care whether or not the merchandise is stolen or paid for, because there is so often more money in the arrest and the fine than in the sale?

But when first-time shoplifters are caught, is it right to give them a criminal record and a fine and extort a civil fine as well? Isn't this just a subsidy for the corporations and a source of revenue for the cities? Is it right to destroy their lives and/or their careers as with an Officer or a NonCom in the military? Millions of people have been arrested for shoplifting for the first time and millions will be arrested in the future.

If the cities and the government are going to do this. Don't they owe prominent notice to the shopping public that "shoplifting" is the crime of "larceny" and that there is ALSO a $200 fine, or whatever, on top of the criminal sanction. Also, don't they owe the public notice of the secret surveillance, the secret retail security police, and the secret detection devices in the merchandise. Wouldn't this deter many first attempt to steal? Isn't it unconsionable that the4 stores don't do this?

I am not against a "civil" sanction for shoplifting and I think this is what the states originally intended these civil demand letters to do. However, the criminal sanction, the ticket for stealing and the civil demand together provide a cost efrective manner for the retailers to get the civil damages authorized under the law. They don't have to file a civil suit ----it only costs them 39c to demand the money through the mail. It is really government assisted extortion and mail fraud. The retailer is NOT responsible for the probable cause criminal citation on a city ticket or any prosecution of the event, yet the criminal citation is the fulcrum that produces the payment of the civil demand.

If you checked the court records throughout the US, you would find few, if any, civil suits filed under The Civil Recovery Laws. If you checked the court records throughout the US, you would find that those "first-time" arrested shoplifters are diverted into rehab and/or plea bargains for a lesser offense, or found guilty, one or the other. The lower courts are closed to any defense against a ticket for "stealing" because the lower courts consider that you are technically guilty of stealing if you passed a final checkout without paying. You are presumed guilty in the lower courts and they don't concern themselves with "criminal intent".

The judges in the lower courts have warned the attorneys not to bring people before them and plead them "not guilty" because they will be found guilty.

This was just a subsidy for Corporate America and you, as security police, are part of the subsidy and it is not your job to stop shoplifting, i.e. theft, but rather to entrap for a completed larceny; i.e. to establish the criminal intent of the shoplifter by allowing them to walk past the final checkouts before you stop and detain them.

But, you are a paid agent of the retailer and a police agent of the city, when you are licensed by the city, and you detain and facilitate a ticket for larceny in your capacity of a city police agent. The corporation you work for is protected from anything you may do. You have full discretion to initiate the arrest by calling the local police authorities. Licensed security personnel DO NOT HOWEVER HAVE TO INITIATE A CRIMINAL ARREST and in some jurisdictions, LP's sometimes initiate only civil demand letters and do not initiate criminal citations,

The mixed practice, however, ia a violation of the Equal Protection guarantees of the Constitution. Wealthy people would pay civil demands and poor people would be criminally prosecuted.

Probably, this is why Winona Ryder had to be prosecuted for felony larceny----to illustrate that "shoplifting" was a crime and that the "either-or" practice of the retailers did not favor the wealthy and the noted and punish the poor and disenfranchised.

Now, the states are back to "either-or" and "both" sanctions, depending on the state. In Florida, if you pay the civil recovery of $200 right away, they don't call the police.

Just a subsidy for the retailers and legalized extortion. If anyone other than government were doing this, they would have a RICO(sp?) investigation.
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#137 UPDATE EX-employee responds

AAFES Security

AUTHOR: B - (U.S.A.)

THE SECRET RETAIL POLICE WITHIN THE STORES
======================================

I worked for AAFES Security at Ft Sam Houston for a brief time. I answered a blind advert in the local paper and found out it was retail security on a military base. There was a heck of a lot of paperwork and courses to sign off on for a group of us, about 7 I think, who were being hired.

There were 17 AAFES facilities on base. The one where we spent almost all our time was the base PX and now and then the convience store.

One poster quite correctly stated that it was about 10 to 1 (relatives v. active duty service people) 'arrested' for shoplifting. For an active duty service person to be stopped for shoplifting this can be a career ending thing, for a relative not a lot happens.

Yes the base MPs are usually called, most get 'citations' for an appearance before the US Magistrate.

These $200 fines are new to me, didn't have them when I worked AAFES but most states have similar civil recovery laws which regardless of the outcome of any criminal trial allow the stores to demand 'restitution' by payment of a certain amount of money despite whether or not all the items were 'recovered'.

I think the OP is simply full of beans. Obviously just someone who got caught stealing or had a relative caught. No sympathy from me for them. A thief is a thief, no matter how much they whine about how unfair getting caught is.

The employees of AAFES security can be either active duty personnel doing PT AAFEC work (some are MP's) or just 'civilians' like I was. Oddly, we get a nice Govt ID card which claims in small print "The bearer of this card is an employee of the US Govt", when actually we civilians were NOT as we worked for AAFES which is a 'private company', but it was a nice ID card, wish I had kept it for my files.

We did mostly floor work although we had some hidden vantage points where we could watch the floor. Probably the only video we had was watching the back door, likely this has changed by now.

One thing I found interesting was every now and then the AAFES security were at the employee exit at shift end to check purses and briefcases. No looking under clothing or asking people to remove coats, just looking into carry out items. Any employee could refuse to show the contents ONE TIME with recourse by AAFES security, BUT if they ever refused a SECOND TIME it was automatic termination.

The AAFEC security work just as hard as their off base counterparts at JCP, Sears or Target, they are probably better qualified due to the screening process and they are a lot less likely to confront someone with a gun or knife than their counterparts off base.

I would also mention that the pay rate was not anything to impress anyone and most base PX facilities are smaller than the mall department stores so you can get real tired of walking the same ailes if you are putting in 40 hours a week.

It is a nice pt job but full time gets old real quick.
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#138 Author of original report

Extortion, any way you look at it, Viernheim

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Yes, Viernheim, we can agree to disagree. However "undercover personnel" who have the power to initiate surveillance and detain outside of stores have certain police powers and are, therefore, SECRET POLICE because of their intent and purpose, which is to facilitate an arrest/ticket of the suspect by the base MP's for the crime of "larceny".

If the secret retail police were uniformed and walked the stores with their two-way radios snd their badges of authority clearly indicated, this in itself would deter shoplifting-----but it would deter these $200 fines as well.
Yes, I think the AAFES was illegally taking civil recovery fines from civilians for many years before they developed their own program in 2002. The policy of entrapment has been in place for many years. AAFES were assimilating the civil regulatory laws of the states ----and I can't find any authority in the law for this and, of course, AAFES in not a regulatory agency who can set Administrative Fees to my knowledge.
This $200 fine is recognized as Civil Recovery for Shoplifting based on a debt owned to the US Government, but there is no standard for the debt in the law or the UCMJ.

The actual words of the Congressional amendment are in themselves abstruse and ambiguous and can be interpreted differently, according to one's desire. It may be that the courts will have to interpret these words if the Congress will not do so.

Let's talk about these few words in the Congressional Amendment that resulted in this $200 fine on the troops and the change of jurisdiction for the "crime" of larceny from the UCMJ to the federal district courts.

The words "including actual and administrative costs of shoplifting, theft detection, and theft prevention"! What did Congress mean by this? Apprehended shoplifting IS theft i.e. larceny under federal law and the UCMJ.

Therefore, the amendment should have read "including actual and administrative costs of theft, theft detection, and theft prevention"! The word "shoplifting" is synonomous with "theft" or "larceny" under the UCMJ and federal law.

Congress appears to have distinguished "shoplifting" from "theft" but there is no distinguishment in the actual practice of the AAFES Civil Recovery Program or in the law. AAFES can't engage in the process of theft prevention without preventing shoplifting. One of the best ways of preventing shoplifting is to use your theft detection equipment to prevent thefts (shoplifting, etc.).
When the jurisdiction of first attempt shoplifting is changed to the federal district courts, active duty military personnel lose their right to free counsel and have to represent themselves or hire counsel. Do they have a right to ask for a court martial if they feel they are innocent of criminal intent?

The federal magistrate courts like the city municipal courts are closed to any defense to a citation for "stealing" and consider that you are technically guilty of larceny when you pass final checkouts without paying for merchandise. The lower courts presume you are guilty. You can, of course, ask for a trial but there is great risk and expense involved. The Magistrate Courts will offer cited shoplifters a plea bargain that they can't afford to refuse. Innocents are sacrificed to expediency and our courts become tainted.

The citation of suspects for the crime of larceny and the letter demand for money damages at the same time presents the appearance of extortion and expecially in the setting of the DOD/MWR/AAFES alliance. The state governments set the civil recovery damages by statute, by vote of the legislatures and they demand these damages under the THREAT of filing a civil suit for these damages under the CIVIL law. It is a mixed practice in the US.

Retailers in some jurisdictions ask on ly for civil damages and don't initiate criminazl prosecutions.

Retailers in other jurisdictions and other states issue a civil demand and initiate a citation for the crime of larceny on a city ticket. Some cities will not use their tax-payer police to service the stores, etc. etc. and the retailers are free to file a crtiminal or a civil complaint with the courts.

Yes, in Missouri when they changed the law back in the 80's to make shoplifting the crime of "larceny", some of the police officers thought it was "funny" and a "joke" to be called to the stores to ticket little old ladies and men and kids and all kinds of otherwise respectable people for the crime of "stealing" three and four dollaz items but this was their job ----Department Policy would now allow the use of city resources, the police and their cruisers, to travel to the retail malls and stores to ticket these criminals for "stealing" on behalf of the city they worked for. Their appearance and the ticket for stealing protects the corporate retailer from any responsibility for the arrest and any prosecution in the city courts.

These criminals are generally sitting quietly in the security offices of the stores waiting to be released and are often very surprised to see the commissioned police walk through the door of the security office. They have usually talked very freely with the LP personnel who detained them and have incriminated themselves by their remarks. Usually, when the police appear, the merchandise has already been surrendered to the security police with an offer to pay, which, of course, is refused. When the police appear, even though the merchandise has already been surrendered, the private security usually ask the criminals to empty their pockets or their purses in the presence of the police officers so that they can't be accused of illegal searches ----and, of course, if there is other contraband?, this was a legal search because the suspect emptied his pocket/purse, etc.. voluntarily when asked to do so.

I imagine the AAFES practice is much the same and the base authorities circumvent Miranda Rights for military personnel because their statements to the secret undercover AAFES retail police who have detained them are admissable in the courts.

You still haven't answered my question: How is the criminal sanction applied on the military installations in Germany and who writes the demand letters to the sponsors, and are the LP personnel American civil service or an American Security Contractor, or, maybe, even German civilian workers, or what? How is the criminal sanction applied after the MP's come to the AAFES store?

Thank you, Viernheim, for talking to me!. Still legalized government extortion! and bad command practice! Totalitarian Acts by a Democracy.
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#139 Consumer Comment

Carol, we can agree to disagree

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

We can agree to disagree on terming loss prevention personnel as "secret police". Perhaps it is a matter of semantics or the definition one chooses to utilize. My definition of "Secret Police" is a police organization which operates in secrecy for the notional purpose of maintaining national security against internal threats to the state. Secret police forces are typically associated with totalitarian regimes, as their activities are not transparent to the public, their primary purpose is to maintain the political power of the state rather than uphold the rule of law, and they have often been used as an instrument of political repression.

The term Secret Police brings to my mind n**i Germany, The USSR, and the like. Undercover personnel they indeed are, for good reason. Were they uniformed, the likely result of trying to apprehend a shoplifter would be that a large percentage would simply run.

As for AAFES falling under the Department of Defense, yes it does. I did not clarify my point previously. AAFES operates semi-independently and is responsible for its own expenses as a non-appropriated fund enterprise. These expenses include everything from paperclips to maintenance of buildings in which the Facility commander has provided space for the store. With the exception of transportation costs for good/personnel sent to remote deployed areas no money is taken from the DOD.

AAFES did not pull the civil recovery fee from thin air. This fee was in place pre legislation at many facilities by order of the facility commander. Previously the typical fee was 3 times the value of recovered stolen property up to $200.00.

The civil recovery fee was legislated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act FY 2002. Despite your belief that this was "slipped through the back door" The provision was clearly stated in the bill, and it then became the responsibility of the congressional representatives to either object to the provision or let it remain a part of the bill.

I won't even comment on your post about an MP or Loss Prevention associate "killing" a shoplifter, it simply has no merit.

Warning a shoplifter, other than posting notices, is unreasonable. Should an LP associate approach a customer who is acting suspiciously and say "You'd better not leave without paying for that item!" As this would have to be done in the store and there would most certainly be other shoppers around to hear it, the statement is tantamount to slander.

To digress from that point it is not only AAFES that in general waits for someone to pass the last point of checkout to stop a shoplifter but this is the policy of many retailers. It may interest you to know that in MANY state jurisdictions you can be detained for concealing merchandise. For example:

"Some states such as Arizona have more strict shoplifting statutes. According to Arizona law 13-1805 subsection B "Any person who knowingly conceals upon himself or another person unpurchased merchandise of a mercantile establishment while within the mercantile establishment shall be presumed to have the necessary culpable mental state pursuant to subsection A of this section."

So perhaps AAFES should also adopt this practice and stop theives for concealment as well. Of course the civil fine would apply then as well.

Additionally, you shouldn't have to warn someone not to be a thief. This is a crime, every reasonable person KNOWS that you don't take something from a store, someone's home, work etc. that does not belong to you. As for your repeated example of the "10 year old" shoplifter perhaps the $200.00 fine will encourage the parents to begin to take parental responsibility. Having been a part of the military you KNOW that almost every action of a dependent is the responsibility of the sponsor.

Yes shoplifting can wreck the career of a military member. Military members are expected to hold themselves to a higher standard. Not ONE person in the military should believe theft, in any form, is acceptable.

You repeatedly seem to believe that stopping the crime, before it occurs is acceptable. If you entered a bank, walked to the teller and told them to give you all the money, and there was an off duty policeman (of course to you the Secret Police) behind you in line, do you believe he would simply take you aside and warn you that this is a crime. Hey, you should get off scott free, you didn't leave the bank with the money. NO - that would be attempted robbery.

As for your belief that there should not be both civil and criminal penalties for an offense I invite you to research this more closely. From your own state's statutes:

"An adult or a minor who takes possession of any merchandise from any mercantile establishment without the consent of the owner, without paying the purchase price and with the intention of converting such merchandise to his own use, or the use of another, or who purchases merchandise after altering the price indicia of such merchandise, shall be civilly liable to the owner for actual damages plus a penalty payable to the owner of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars and all court costs and reasonable attorney fees." For the criminal side of the statute, if the value of the item is less than $500.00 "Class A Misdemeanor - A misdemeanor stealing charge can carry a penalty of from 1 day to 1 year in jail, and a fine of up to $1000.

Oh look, the offender is civilly liable to THE OWNER of the merchandise, in addition to being taken to court, paying court costs, attorney's fees in ADDITION to a misdemeanor record and a fine.

Sounds a lot like this scenario. An administrative fine and either a citation to Federal court or punishment under the UCMJ for active duty member. Where I live this is the penalty, to answer your question - Active duty members are punished under the UCMJ. The punishment is up to their commander.

My personal belief - Shoplifting is theft, every reasonable adult knows it is wrong. Military members should be and are held to a higher standard of conduct and are responsible for the actions of their dependents.

The majority of shoplifters, it may suprise you to know are adults, about 3 to 1. Over 50% admit they knew they were committing a crime and add that they began stealing when they were children. Shoplifters say they are caught only once in 49 times. As adults they are well aware this is wrong, do it repeatedly and when caught most have gotten away with much more than the $200.00 fine is worth.

The $200.00 fee is not used as profit. It is used to defray the costs of employing Loss Prevention personnel, security cameras and electronic detection devices. These costs were previously borne entirely as operating expenses. Operating expenses are paid from net sales and the remaining profit is returned to MWR. Prior to this civil fine the amount available was decreased by these expenses. If an individual chooses to steal they should indeed be expected to bear some of the expense of catching them.
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#140 Author of original report

Yes, they are secret police!

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks Viernheim! for talking with me.

AAFES is a component of the Department of Defense and a legal entity and agency of the United States Government that does the busines of a Fortune 100 or at least a Fortune 500 corporation. They have a very special customer base --- the wonderful men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. The Commander of AAFES is responsible to an Undersecretary of Defense -----Look on the organizational chart, Vernheim. The Armed Forces don't defend their country and its ideals to increase the profits of corporate America and their MWR store should not try to profit on them by developing "corporate" policies.

The first time one of these secret security personnel and a MP kill a shoplifter (accidentally of course because of excessive force) outside of a PX or a BX, you will find out that AAFES is "technically" very much a part of the DOD and subject to their supervision and control. Every year here in the US in the private sector, licensed retail security personnel (secret police) accidentally kill shoplifters ouside in the parking lots or on the sidewalks because the suspect resists and won't WAIT for the police to come and write the ticket and they resist "detention" or "arrest", however you want to state the process. A young father was killed outside of a discount store for changing the sticker from one package of diapers to another last year and died for his terrible offense against the "people"! The original sin was the changing of the private offense of "shoplifting to a crime against the people.

In the military, a ticket for larceny, a criminal sanction, is especially punishing in view of the fact that the military personnel will carry a constructive record for misdemeanor shoplifting for at least five years in the federal government records system. (Where do you think they found the record of the General who was demoted to Colonel for shoplifting?) And the "shoplifting" incident will be on the military records as well -----even if there isn't a conviction for shoplifting, by reason of the Administrative Fee of $200 that must be indicated on the records of the military personnel.

Larceny is a crime of "moral turpitude" and the officers and Noncoms who are accused of larceny are ruined from the standpoint of their careers. Marriages are destroyed and homes are broken up because the government wants to teach the "first offender" shoplifter a lesson he/she won't forget and they want $200 as well for teaching the lesson.

Come on, Viernheim, of course LP personnel could warn and stop shoplifting inside of the store and prevent the crime, and get the "government property" paid for. They did this for over 200 years in the law of our country -----until the "powers that be" got together and decided that they would make a crime out of "shoplifting" and give a subsidy to the corporate retailers of "civil demand letters". The civil demand letter together with a citation for larceny on a traffic ticket presents the ticketed defendant with an offer he/she can't afford to refuse. It is just legalized extortion and a government subsidy for another special interest.

You may like to think you are not a part of government for purposes of running the AAFES store like a corporate entity but, of course, you prove my point again when you indicate that even the local stores have a military commander. It is for this reason that the $200 fine is particularly wrong because it is government who gets both the civil and the criminal fine and they, of course, were right out there with case law to establish that this is not "double jeopardy" almost immediately after AAFES started to impose this fine in March of 2002. The rule of law is made of silly putty!

You still haven't told me, Viernheim, how the active duty military personnel are punished with the criminal sanction in Germany when they are detained for shoplifting. Are they sent to the Garrison Commander for a little trial or what? and are they then eligible to pay the $200 fine to AAFES? Are they sent to their commanders? Are they sent home? How can AAFES justify allowing a ten-year old to pocket a CD and then allowing him to walk to the outside so that AAFES can demand $200 from his sponsoring parent? What kind of fascist and Unamerican policy is this??? Is this liberty and justice for all?

Why did AAFES start doing this just before the start of the war? Was it some kind of comment on the character of the Reserve and National Guard troops or was it just a "good" business decision by AAFES. Do managers earn their bonuses by entrapping customers to get the $200 fine? You will admit, won't you, that these $200 fines have INCREASED THE PROFITS OF THE AAFES and that the bonus money comes from the profits of the AAFES. Any way you want to look at it. This $200 fine, together with the criminal sanction, is legalized government EXTORTION. Shame on our government!

Let's have a DOD IG investigation of AAFES and find out whether or not this $200 fine has increased apprehensions for shoplifting? Let's find our whether or not this $200 fine and a criminal sanction is the INTENT of the Congress, The Secretary of Defense, and the
Commander-in-Chief. AAFES does not have the authority under law to make law and to impose arbitrary fines under The Constitution. This fine was not legislated ---it was slipped into law behind the backs of our Congressional and Senatorial representatives and was never codified with notice as required by law.

IF ANY MILITARY PERSONNEL OR THEIR FAMILIES OR ANY AMERICAN WHO IS READING THIS BELIEVES THAT THIS $200 FINE AND A CRIMINAL SANCTION AND FINE, AS WELL, FOR SHOPLIFTING (THAT COULD BE PREVENTED THROUGH WARNING)) IS W R O N G ---I L L E G A L -AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL -WRITE, TELEPHONE, EMAIL OR FAX YOUR PROTEST TODAY.

You too, Viernheim!.

PS I was married in Heldelberg and had my first baby in Japan, , my second baby at Yale, and my third baby in Heidelberg. I was an American Civilian DA worker when I met my husband, Army, in Germany a long --long ---time ago. I saw Frankfurt and Manheim on the ground from the bombings. I have always loved my country and its ideals and I don't think that "money" should be allowed to interfer with these ideals. It is up to the individual citizen to make sure that government protects the rule of law in the interests of all of its citizens at all times. The rule of law was manipulated in Germany to kill the Jews legally! The rule of law was upheld to support slavery and child labor and school segregation. The rule of law was manipulated to give a subsidy to the corporate retailers under the guise that it was for the "public good" just like the Germans were told that it was a good idea to get rid of the Jews for the "public good"! Let these merchants expose their books and their civil demand recoveries to the people and let's put cameras in all of the little security offices in all of the stores of the world and see what goes on. The rule of law is the servant of men who are often the servants of the God of money and profit so it is up to the people to watch the men who serve the God of money under the guise that it is for the "public good"! "Let the buyer beware"! Does your AAFES store employ a contractor to write the civil demand letter to the ticketed suspect? How much is the contractor paid to write the letter and to handle the collection or are collections handled under the authority of the Garrison Commander?
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#141 Consumer Comment

They are not secret police

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

They are not secret police, rather plainclothesed loss prevention personnel. It may differ by jurisdiction, in Europe LP personnel carry identification indicating they are security personnel, not badges. This may differ in your area, and I am aware that many jurisdictions offer powers of arrest to security personnel that are properly trained. This is not common, otherwise there would be no reason to have military police involved. Loss prevention personnel in most instances cannot arrest a person. They will, rather detain a shoplifter, but this is not an arrest. This may differ if the LP person is an off duty police officer which is very common.

While AAFES is a non appropriated fund activity that falls under the Department of Defense it is not "technically" part of the government. Despite some misconceptions AAFES is a for profit enterprise. From their corporate profile:

"AAFES is charged with making a profit, but returns every cent of its earnings to ustomers. A nonappropriated fund activity (NAF) of the Department of Defense, AAFES funds 98% of its operating budget (civilian employee salaries, inventory investments, utilities and capital investments for equipment, vehicles and facilities) from the sale of merchandise, food and services to customers."

In 2002 AAFES did $6.3 billion in sales and lost about $15 million from shoplifting incidents. Look at it however you wish but $15 million is a huge number.

The $200.00 civil fine may be excessive in your opinion, and may be found so by those in power at some later point. I point out to you that the loss to a lower enlisted soldier barred from shopping at the PX is likely much more than this when tax savings alone are considered, especially overseas. I am retired military, and yes we are from different generations. Before this administrative fine was allowed it was common occurrence for a soldier or his family member to be barred from the PX for shoplifting, not by AAFES but the post commander. Now with the civil fine the same shoplifters, caught and fined, are seen shopping often the next day.

Patrons can consider themselves lucky a simple trip to magistrate court is all that occurs besides the fine. In the country I work a value of over $200.00 is reported, as required by the current Status of Forces Agreement to the local civil prosecutor in the case of dependents. The prosecutor generally prosecutes and the additional fines are MUCH higher than in a Federal Magistrate court. For higher value items it is not uncommon for the court to ask the Armed Forces to transfer the dependent back to the U.S. The penalties are much more costly here.

I fail to understand how you view shoplifting detentions as "entrapment". Without reading the mind of the potential offender there is no way a loss prevention worker could know the intent to shoplift. Yes, an LP worker could view on camera or in person someone putting an item in their pocket for a moment - would you have them immediately approach the person and "warn" them not to shoplift the item??? I cannot even begin to imagine the type of problems an accusation such as this might cause. For the AAFES stores that DO warn of shoplifting the crime continues to be on the rise. Additionally, during base orientations for newly arriving soldiers the civil recovery fee as well as the penalties are discussed. It is the responsibility of the sponsor to ensure his/her dependents are aware. AAFES policy has ALWAYS been to prosecute all shoplifters. There is not an increase in the practice of catching shoplifters although you may hear more from the poor victimized shoplifter having to pay the horrid fine.

You stated "You will admit, won't you? that most of the suspects would pay for the merchandise at checkout if warned and asked for payment. They think, of course, that they have gotten away with something because while AAFES gives them the opportunity to stand in line to pay for their merchandise, and AAFES also gives them the opportunity to walk out of the store without paying."

My response, yes almost every shoplifter would pay for their merchandise to avoid prosecution. They would indeed think they had "almost gotten away" (my editing) with it", this would encourage most of them to repeat the process - whereas being actually caught and prosecuted has much more impact. Trust me, almost every shoplifter is eventually caught - prior to being caught they have gotten away with much more than the item they are stopped for.

You have a misconception about shoplifting, in AAFES or any other retailer. Until you walk out of the store without paying NO CRIME has been committed. LP personnel, with or without powers of arrest, have NO authority to detain or discuss such a matter with you until you walk out of the store.

Your final statement "It is my understanding that not even the Commanders can force AAFES to warn of the civil and criminal fines and the civil and criminal consequences of shoplifting in the AAFES or other government retail stores ----i.e. that the Commanders of the installations have to clear this through some other agency of government who concurs or decents to the notice."

You are misinformed. AAFES stores are subject to the authority of the local installation commander. He has control of aspects ranging from whether the sign outside the store will read AAFES, BX, PX etc. to the hours a store is allowed to be open. Yes, he delegates much of this authority to the General Manager, but he maintains control. If an Installation Commander informed an AAFES store that Shoplifting prosecution, hidden camera warning, civil fine warning signs were required you can bet on the manager complying.

While AAFES has a civilian COO, the AAFES commander is military.
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#142 Author of original report

AAFES Army Airforce $200 Rip Off for Shoplifting

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks Viernheim!

I am not indicating that "shoplifting" is not a problem for the stores but it used to be the problem of the corporate retailers who sell merchandise to the public for profit ----and not the problem of government.

AAFES watched Civil Recovery develope in the corporate sector over the last 25 to 30 years and they wanted this "corporate subsidy". It would have been nice if Congress would have given it to them legally, though a vote of the Congress, as is supposed to be the process of making law in a Democracy!

I know many of the AAFES people do a terrific job for the troops but the corporate culture of AAFES is getting in the way of their original mission. This $200 fine is a good example. I read where shoplifting apprehensions are increasing in AAFES stores and I think there should be an IG investigation to find out if this is true. If it is true, this means that AAFES is relaxing its diligence owned to its patrons to "catch" as many persons as they can for the purpose of demanding the $200.

Since you are in Europe and since we don't have United States Federal District Courts to send the active duty troops to for adjudication of the charge of larceny, how does AAFES collect these $200 fines out of the country? I am curious. Could you be so kind as to inquire and tell me.

We are from a different vintage, Viernheim. Your consciousness has been developed to believe that it is alright to "entrap" to arrest instead of to "warn" to prevent a crime.

You make my point for me. Shoplifting is not a "crime" until the suspect is permitted to carry the merchandise past the final checkout point to the outside without paying for it ---either intentionally or unintentionally. But, a paid agent of government with delegated police power abets in the performance of this act. I am saying that this agent, perhaps, has a greater duty to prevent a crime than to create a crime.

You will admit, won't you? that most of the suspects would pay for the merchandise at checkout if warned and asked for payment. They think, of course, that they have gotten away with something because while AAFES gives them the opportunity to stand in line to pay for their merchandise, and AAFES also gives them the opportunity to walk out of the store without paying. If you are permitted to offer merchandise for sale in a free and democratic country, it would seem to me that the first order of the day should be to get your merchandise paid for ---especially when your customer base consists of persons who may have to give their lives or their limbs in defense of government policies.

You indicate that the AAFES doesn't employ secret police in their shoplifting scam but a person who has delegated police power and who wears no badge and no uniform is a secret policeman. Think, Vernheim. Why do governments make their commissioned police officers who patrol our streets and cities wear a uniform and a badge? For two reasons ----to show their authority and to deter crime. The badges are in the pockets of these secret retail police in the AAFES stores.

It is my understanding that not even the Commanders can force AAFES to warn of the civil and criminal fines and the civil and criminal consequences of shoplifting in the AAFES or other government retail stores ----i.e. that the Commanders of the installations have to clear this through some other agency of government who concurs or decents to the notice.

Thanks Vernheim for talking to me.
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#143 Consumer Comment

This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen postd here:

"if shoplifting is so bad, how come they can pay their management bonus money for meeting profit goals, etc...and wouldn't management be tempted to encourage shoplifting to increase profits?"

Shoplifting is prevalent both in AAFES and commercial retailers. While the original poster may find the $200.00 civil fee deplorable the sponsor may appeal for removal of the fine through his chain of command.

The loss prevention personnel at AAFES are not "secret police". These individuals are well trained and as an AAFES employee I can vouch for the fact that employees are apprehended more frequently for theft than customers.

Customers are much more often given the benefit of the doubt. Many, many customers will enter a dressing room as camera observation is prohibited here, remove discount stickers from marked down merchandise and place them on regularly priced merchandise. Then take the merchandise to the register and try to obtain the discount (up to 75%). With a lazy cashier they are successful, with a responsible one the discount is subject to verification and the customer leaves without the merchandise, not wanting to pay full price. This is also attempted shoplifting but is rarely pursued - the customer receives the benefit of the doubt.

Most apprehended blatently attempt to steal. Concealing merchandise, while on camera in clothing, baby strollers, backpacks etc. Most have the money to pay for the item. Often the "thrill" of getting something for free is the goal. This is not limited to children. I have seen a Colonel detained for shoplifting.

Yes, AAFES has hidden cameras, theft detection devices and plainclothes store detectives. Just like every major retailer in the world. Many but not all stores do post notices that there are hidden cameras and that shoplifting will be prosecuted. You may be suprised to know but many times this is subject to the decision of the facility commander.

A comment was made that many "lower enlisted" cannot afford this fine. An E3 makes approximately $19000.00 base salary per year. Many live in the barracks or have free housing. In addition they receive free meals or receive a subsistence allowance as well as an annual uniform allowance and free medical and dental care. The allowance above base pay are tax free. If they have families these allowances are increased. If an individual cannot meet living expenses on this salary they have financial management issues. $200.00 for a civil penalty is not unreasonable for committing a crime.

As for your comments about "passing final checkpoints of sale" shoplifters cannot be apprehended while inside the store in almost all cases. You have not committed the crime until you exit the final point of sale.
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#144 Consumer Comment

This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen postd here:

"if shoplifting is so bad, how come they can pay their management bonus money for meeting profit goals, etc...and wouldn't management be tempted to encourage shoplifting to increase profits?"

Shoplifting is prevalent both in AAFES and commercial retailers. While the original poster may find the $200.00 civil fee deplorable the sponsor may appeal for removal of the fine through his chain of command.

The loss prevention personnel at AAFES are not "secret police". These individuals are well trained and as an AAFES employee I can vouch for the fact that employees are apprehended more frequently for theft than customers.

Customers are much more often given the benefit of the doubt. Many, many customers will enter a dressing room as camera observation is prohibited here, remove discount stickers from marked down merchandise and place them on regularly priced merchandise. Then take the merchandise to the register and try to obtain the discount (up to 75%). With a lazy cashier they are successful, with a responsible one the discount is subject to verification and the customer leaves without the merchandise, not wanting to pay full price. This is also attempted shoplifting but is rarely pursued - the customer receives the benefit of the doubt.

Most apprehended blatently attempt to steal. Concealing merchandise, while on camera in clothing, baby strollers, backpacks etc. Most have the money to pay for the item. Often the "thrill" of getting something for free is the goal. This is not limited to children. I have seen a Colonel detained for shoplifting.

Yes, AAFES has hidden cameras, theft detection devices and plainclothes store detectives. Just like every major retailer in the world. Many but not all stores do post notices that there are hidden cameras and that shoplifting will be prosecuted. You may be suprised to know but many times this is subject to the decision of the facility commander.

A comment was made that many "lower enlisted" cannot afford this fine. An E3 makes approximately $19000.00 base salary per year. Many live in the barracks or have free housing. In addition they receive free meals or receive a subsistence allowance as well as an annual uniform allowance and free medical and dental care. The allowance above base pay are tax free. If they have families these allowances are increased. If an individual cannot meet living expenses on this salary they have financial management issues. $200.00 for a civil penalty is not unreasonable for committing a crime.

As for your comments about "passing final checkpoints of sale" shoplifters cannot be apprehended while inside the store in almost all cases. You have not committed the crime until you exit the final point of sale.
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#145 Consumer Comment

This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

This has to be the dumbest comment I have seen postd here:

"if shoplifting is so bad, how come they can pay their management bonus money for meeting profit goals, etc...and wouldn't management be tempted to encourage shoplifting to increase profits?"

Shoplifting is prevalent both in AAFES and commercial retailers. While the original poster may find the $200.00 civil fee deplorable the sponsor may appeal for removal of the fine through his chain of command.

The loss prevention personnel at AAFES are not "secret police". These individuals are well trained and as an AAFES employee I can vouch for the fact that employees are apprehended more frequently for theft than customers.

Customers are much more often given the benefit of the doubt. Many, many customers will enter a dressing room as camera observation is prohibited here, remove discount stickers from marked down merchandise and place them on regularly priced merchandise. Then take the merchandise to the register and try to obtain the discount (up to 75%). With a lazy cashier they are successful, with a responsible one the discount is subject to verification and the customer leaves without the merchandise, not wanting to pay full price. This is also attempted shoplifting but is rarely pursued - the customer receives the benefit of the doubt.

Most apprehended blatently attempt to steal. Concealing merchandise, while on camera in clothing, baby strollers, backpacks etc. Most have the money to pay for the item. Often the "thrill" of getting something for free is the goal. This is not limited to children. I have seen a Colonel detained for shoplifting.

Yes, AAFES has hidden cameras, theft detection devices and plainclothes store detectives. Just like every major retailer in the world. Many but not all stores do post notices that there are hidden cameras and that shoplifting will be prosecuted. You may be suprised to know but many times this is subject to the decision of the facility commander.

A comment was made that many "lower enlisted" cannot afford this fine. An E3 makes approximately $19000.00 base salary per year. Many live in the barracks or have free housing. In addition they receive free meals or receive a subsistence allowance as well as an annual uniform allowance and free medical and dental care. The allowance above base pay are tax free. If they have families these allowances are increased. If an individual cannot meet living expenses on this salary they have financial management issues. $200.00 for a civil penalty is not unreasonable for committing a crime.

As for your comments about "passing final checkpoints of sale" shoplifters cannot be apprehended while inside the store in almost all cases. You have not committed the crime until you exit the final point of sale.
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#146 Consumer Comment

No crap. Of course. I knew about this, but I did not worry becuase neither I nor my guest are thieves

AUTHOR: Ang - (U.S.A.)

So I have no problem with this. I've been briefed this in one commanders call or another a while back. Why does this tick you off? Are you bringing shady charecters on base? Don't bring thieves to the BX/PX, be they family or friends. Don't steal. Pretty simple. And YES you are accountable for your guests and thier theft.
Military people are held to a higher standard. Sorry you feel they should incur the least responsibilty.
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#147 Author of original report

AAFES Army Airforce $200 Rip Off for Shoplifting

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

Thanks, Cory, MP, Texas. You understand, don't you, that those people detained for shoplifting by the AAFES are punished with both a $200 Civil Recovery Fine for AAFES and a base traffic ticket that requires a mandatory appearance in the federal district court to plead to the charge of misdemeanor or felony larceny. This costs them much more than just the $200 demanded by AAFES and they acquire a criminal record for at least five years regardless of the outcome of the criminal citation.

Also, the law and practice was changed in 2002 to allow AAFES to demand these $200 from the military sponsors for their offense ---as well, of course, as for their sponsored dependents, even their children as young as ten. This has greatly increased AAFES profits and this, of course, is why they wanted their own Civil Recovery Program. For many years, prior to 2002, they assimilated the civil laws of the States to demand punitive damages for shoplifting from civilians but they couldn't get these damages from the active duty troops because they were under the jurisdiction of the UCMJ.

It is not the "apprehended shoplifters" who cause these great losses that AAFES reports. Some of these losses are from employee and vendor theft and mismanagement. They can't identify the source of the shrinkage much of the time.

Would you agree that $200 is a lot of money for those military in the lower pay grades -----AAFES could at least have adjusted the "fine" to rank and grade but they really wanted this $200. How much do you think they pay the collection agemcies who write the demand letters ----how much do they pay the secret retail police? Since the $200 wasn't established by law in Congress, AAFES can boost it to $200 or $250 anytime they think that they can get away with it.

If shoplifting is so bad, how come they can pay their management bonus money for meeting profit goals, etc...and wouldn't management be tempted to encourage shoplifting to increase profits?

Yes, it may be "dumb" to warn and just get your merchandise paid for but there was a time in this country when retailers were responsible for protecting their merchandise and getting it paid for and they didn't have the subsidy of the people's power of arrest and civil demand letters and they did warn and attempt to get their merchandise paid for. How can you stop or prevent theft if you don't prevent shoplifting which becomes theft when suspects are allowed and permitted to exit final checkouts without paying for merchandise and without being asked to pay for merchandise? I'm sure you agree that police power should be used to prevent crimes whenever possible.

Shoplifting only became the "crime" of larceny when the people's power of arrest was sold to the corporate retailers by way of licensing their secret retail security police who appear before the lower courts as agents of the government and not as agents of their retail employers. The bias in the municipal courts of the cities and the federal magistrate courts is unconstitutional, in my opinion. Civil demand laws authorizing civil demand letters and the change in the criminal law to render "shoplifting" petit or grand larceny presents the appearance of extortion when both a civil and a criminal sanction are applied at the same time.
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#148 Consumer Comment

Are you saying that you need to be told it is NOT OK to steal?

AUTHOR: Scott - (U.S.A.)

***generally no actual loss in apprehended shoplifting and that this $200 fine is for the purpose of deterring a second attempt to steal from the store. However, AAFES makes no effort to warn patrons about the secret security police, the secret cameras, and the secret detection devices and the CRIMINAL and CIVIL consequences of failing to pay for merchandise at final checkout points. AAFES doesn't want to stop or prevent any FIRST attempts to steal their property and miss out on these $200 recoveries.
****

From your diatribe, I would assume that you feel as long you give the stolen property back before driving away, that there should be no repercussions for you actions.

Also, do you need signs posted telling you that it is not OK to take what is not yours?

Sounds like you are just upset for you (or someone you know) getting caught red handed. You should be thankful that it is only a $200 fine.

When honest people go shopping, they don't worry about "secret" police, "secret" cameras or "secret" detection devices.
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#149 Consumer Comment

Interesting Points

AUTHOR: Cory - (U.S.A.)

Many of the points you make are good and interesting. Others I don't agree with at all. People, please pay attention to the world we live in and the "laws" that are being passed and enforced to "protect" us. Many have nothing to do with our "protection", but are being used to railroad us. Such as this little know fact that you have brought up today. On the other hand, while in the military, as an MP, I arrested enough shoplifters to have a pretty good idea of what I was dealing with. Rarely was the offense commited by someone in the military. It was probably 10 to 1 by dependants. Mostly dependant wives. I arrested several employees also. While on duty, I was an MP. I got hired as a "stockmen" off duty to stock coolers at a convience store on base. My first week, I arrested probably a half dozen shoplifters along with one employee.

It wasn't hard to figure out when the lady left with four bags of food and paid a total of $5. Got the employee and the shopper on that one. Shoplifting was rampant. Took me about 4 months to clear that one up. So I guess you could call me their "secret police". "..to warn when they observe the FIRST covert through secret surveillance". That has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever read. "Why would they warn...". That has to be the second dumbest thing I've ever read. Christ, they're losing millions of dollars to shoplifters and you want them to warn them. If you had ANY idea of what you are saying, you'd know the average shoplifter does it to see if they can get away with it.

Almost every one of them had the money to pay for the items stolen. We're not dealing with a rational person. What makes matters worse is a dependant is not subject to the UCMJ. Federal courts are jampacked as it is. If some wife steals a $5 lip gloss do you actually think they're gonna take it to federal court, for a $5 lip gloss. Ain't gonna happen. If you go to court it's gonna cost you a h**l of alot more then the $200 to hire a cheap attorney. The $200 "fee" is an attempt to cut down on the numbers of shoplifters. I really can't get too worked up over a shoplifter who get off with only a $200 "fee". Maybe this help. What would YOU have them do????????
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