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Shoppers who try to use the ‘cash back scheme’ at Kroger will definitely land in legal trouble… here’s how English Headline


THERE is a legitimate way Kroger shoppers can get money back when they use the self-checkout.

But Austin Chase Hooper, 24, withdrew cash from the machine and put it in his bag before claiming to staffers that it hadn’t.

A Kroger shopper tried to claim that the self-checkout machine didn't provide him with cash when it had

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A Kroger shopper tried to claim that the self-checkout machine didn’t provide him with cash when it hadCredit: Getty
Austin Chase Hooper, 24, was charged with theft

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Austin Chase Hooper, 24, was charged with theftCredit: MNPD

In May 2021, prosecutors said Hooper tried his so-called cash back scheme at Kroger stores across Tennessee more than 20 times.

He would buy a small item and pay by card before choosing the “cash back” option on the machine, WSMV reported.

He then allegedly put his bag over the dispenser before the cash was released.

He then claimed that the machine failed to provide him with any money.

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But, Hooper was charged with theft and burglary and has been banned from Kroger.

Surveillance footage captured him in March this year trying to buy an item at a store in Nashville despite being banned.

Reports of self-checkout thefts have become widespread in recent years.

Former prosecutor Jonathan Paul, of Michigan, has claimed he’s seen a “large per cent” of retail fraud cases that have stemmed from Kroger stores.

In 2015, he wrote on his blog: “Many clients of mine are stopped at the self-checkout and never think they will be caught. They pay for some items but not others.”

Retail bosses have coined a new lingo that describes shoplifters’ tactics.

The so-called banana trick involves shoppers scanning an expensive item with a code for a cheaper product.

 Customers may sometimes forget to scan a grocery, which is known as a “pass around”.

While, others have resorted to a “switcheroo”, which refers to customers that peel the sticker off a cheap product before putting it over the pricing label of something more expensive.

But, shoppers could face a jail sentence if they are caught.

Chasity Shirley, 34, faced up to 10 years behind bars after she swapped the barcodes of a toothbrush holder and a child’s rug and slipover at a Walmart store in Kentucky, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

‘UNFAIR’ CONVICTION

She was accused of unlawfully accessing a computer.

Typical shoplifting crimes for items less than $500 carry just a $250 fine and up to 90 days in jail, according to state law.

But prosecutors and Walmart had argued that when Shirley swapped barcodes at the self-checkout, she was unlawfully accessing the store’s computer system.

Unlawful access to a computer is a Class C felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

But the Court of Appeals argued Shirley and other Walmart customers have permission to use the self-checkout when in-store.  

Last week, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Shirley should not face a felony or such a lengthy sentence.

And, the Kentucky Court of Appeals unanimously stated that the conviction was “inherently unfair”

Shirley may now get a directed verdict that will see the conviction dismissed.

Retailers have taken action designed to clamp down on supermarket thefts.

Kroger has rolled out new AI-powered checkouts that developers say will give shoppers a “gentle nudge”  if they make an unintentional error while scanning their groceries.

The supermarket chain has teamed up with the Irish AI company Everseen, rolling out technology that’s designed to prevent “skip scans”.

The Visual AI device captures video and flags errors that customers make at the self-checkout.

The technology invites shoppers to rectify their errors, or a staffer is called if they are unable to do so.

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More than 75 per cent of errors have been corrected without staffers needing to intervene, according to Chain Store Age.

Chris McCarrick, a senior manager of asset protection, solutions, and technology at Kroger, said: “Now, if customers make an error when scanning, the system will give them a gentle nudge to get things back on track.”





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