Galloway, NJ asked in Criminal Law for New Jersey

Q: I own a store(NJ) if I see someone shoplift can I legally lock the front door and detain them until the cops arrive.

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2 Lawyer Answers
H. Scott Aalsberg
H. Scott Aalsberg
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • East Brunswick, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Per the terms of service of this website, we cannot give you specific legal advise on this website, so I will talk generally, you are allowed to make a citizens arrest when someone steals from your store, while you await for the police to come. just you better be right otherwise the shoplifter may be suing you.

Peter J. Weinman agrees with this answer

Peter J. Weinman
Peter J. Weinman pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Adding to Mr. Aalsberg's excellent advice, I want to stress there's a very thin line between lawful detention and kidnapping. Personally, I'd also be worried about the reaction of the shoplifter, who may turn violent and who may be armed.

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