SHOPLIFTING

FRÅGA
Hi, I went to a store to buy a pair of winter shoes. I took a pair of shoe-soles from my home to try with the shoes as I always have problem to find the right size. It is either very tight or loose. I tried several shoes and after one hour or so I found the right one. As they were winter shoes they had high necks so I had problem to insert the shoe-soles properly. The one I chose to buy had a very high neck and I couldn't insert the shoe-soles without removing the shoe-laces while I was trying it. I picked up the shoe-laces from the floor and headed for the cash-counter, the box in one hand and the shoe-laces in another hand. In the mean time my girlfriend called and I had to put the shoe-laces in one of my jacket pockets to take the call. She asked whether I bought the shoes or not etc.etc. On my way to the cash counter I found another shoe which I thought was better looking and which also had a similar price (Swedish Kr.999). I tried these shoes again and settled to buy the last pairs. I returned the old pair to where I took it from. Once again I headed for the cash-counters. After going for a few steps I realized I had the previous pair's shoe-laces in my pocket. I didn't bother again to go back and put them in the box as I was late and it will take time to find the right box where it belonged to (I'll regret this decision for the rest of my life). I left the shoe-laces to the nearest shelf I found and after paying for the shoes exited through the cash-counter. Outside I was stopped by a security-guard who asked what I had in my pocket? I replied 'Nothing' and offered him to take a look into my jacket pockets. He looked into my pocket and found nothing. I offered him to check my bags so that he is satisfied I don't have anything on me that doesn't belong to me. He didn't check my bag but asked where did I put the shoe-laces. I told him 'somewhere inside but I don't remember exactly where'. He was very abusive after that, but I knew I deserved it. I tried to make him understand that I didn't take anything out of the store. There was also a communication problem as I don't speak Swedish and he doesn't speak English. And I was also speechless in shame. He was still not satisfied and said he will teach me a lesson. I don't stay in Sweden and will leave for U.S. within a week. The security-guard didn't ask for my identification. But I bought the shoes with my girlfriend's debit card. I've narrated the whole incident to my girlfriend and she told me not to worry so much. But I would like to know whether I've committed a crime or not? Could my girlfriend be in trouble for me? I don't have a single criminal record in either Sweden or U.S. Not even a parking offense. I'm extremely embarrassed and ashamed for my mistake which led to a big problem. I'm very depressed and having sleepless nights. Please let me know whether I could be prosecuted for criminal offense. Thanks a lot in advance for your kind advice. Best wishes, Patrick Crawford
SVAR
Hi,Shoplifting is a crime according to the Swedish Criminal Act, chapter 8, section 2. To be punished for shoplifting, however, you have to actually take something away from the store. As you have not done so, you have not committed any crime. Furthermore, in order to be punished for shoplifting you have to have taken the item with the intent of keeping it. Thus, if you simply put the item in your pocket with intent to pay but then forget it, you have not committed any crime. Furthermore, security guards in Sweden do not have the right to ask you for identification. Only police officers have the authority to do so. This question is regulated in sections 19 and 29 of the Swedish Police Law. As you have not committed any crime, neither has your girlfriend.I hope that my answer has been helpful.Sincerely,
Hampus Sabel
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