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Walmart self-checkout thief facing 10 years in jail used legal challenge even wrongly accused shoppers should know English Headline


A WALMART thief facing 10 years in jail for stealing $80 worth of goods has appealed her original conviction after judges branded the charge “unfair”.

Chasity Shirley, 34, faced the lengthy sentence after swapping the barcodes of two items when she was at a Kentucky store in 2018.

A Walmart shopper faced 10 years in jail after stealing $80 worth of goods

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A Walmart shopper faced 10 years in jail after stealing $80 worth of goodsCredit: Getty

She was convicted on a charge of “unlawful access to a computer” but it was branded as “inherently unfair” by judges in the state’s Appeals Court, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Shoplifting offenders in Kentucky that are found guilty of stealing items worth less than $500 tend to receive a punishment of a $250 fine and 90 days in jail.

Lawyers have warned about the potential legal risks shoppers may face if they’re wrongly accused of stealing at the self-checkout.

Shirley had switched the barcodes of a toothbrush holder and a kid’s rug and slipover that were more expensive, according to Courier-Journal.

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The tactic has been dubbed a “switcheroo” and it involves customers scanning an expensive item with a barcode for a cheaper product.

The difference between the two items was around $80 and prosecutors alleged that she had misled the self-checkout machines.

Shirley may get a directed verdict that will see the conviction dismissed after the case was heard in the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Walmart shoppers have been warned about the potential legal risks when they use the self-checkout.

Sandra Barger, a counselor at Bridges Counseling LLC in Arizona, told The US Sun that she’s observed an increase in petty theft cases among her clients.

Between January 2021 and March 2022, more than 60 customers were arrested at a Walmart store in Tucson after accidentally forgetting to scan some items.

Barger explained that her clients are regular shoppers who accidentally stole something of low value because of a small mistake they made at self-checkout.

She revealed a typical scenario would see a customer arrested after a run-of-the-mill shopping trip.

Barger warned that her clients have been forced to pay thousands in legal fees.

LEGAL WARNING

Lawyer Tim Fleming, of Alabama, claimed self-checkout machines can inaccurately accuse a customer of stealing.

He suggested that shoppers may not be concentrating when they’re checking out their groceries so they could unintentionally miss an item.

Fleming also suggested that customers may miss the beep of the machine.

Shoppers that are wrongly accused of stealing should remain calm if they’re being quizzed, according to the lawyer.

But, attorney Stephanie Holan told Fox26  said shoppers at retailers such as Walmart should worry more about the potential risks concerning their personal data.

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She said: “You are standing there [at the checkout] sliding your card and punching in your code and there are cameras watching you.

“I would be a lot more concerned that somebody is watching me get my information than I would be that they’re going to accuse me of stealing an item.”





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