Sherer instructed business owners on their rights with regard to shoplifters and other types of theft, including bad checks.
Sherer said the state had fallen behind on legal protection for businesses because there is no law that deals specifically with shoplifting, instead offenders fall under the general theft statute.
He advised the business owners to develop a relationship with local police and have a very specific policy in place to deal with shoplifters.
He also told the owners that they had a right to detain anyone they had evidence or probable cause to believe was shoplifting.
The store owners or employees can detain the person, but must call law enforcement in quickly and allow them to deal with the suspect.
Sherer also discussed methods for collecting on bad checks written to businesses. He said that while collection agencies and business owners can attempt to collect from the check writer, the DA’s office can often pursue the check writer for criminal charges and collect the money and fees from the writer, at no cost to the business.
Sherer said since Bill Adair has taken office, the DA’s Check Unit had worked 1,093 bad check and recovered $166,628.28 in bad checks for businesses in the county.
Sherer also told the business owners about the DA’s push for a Child Advocacy Center for the county.
The center would provide forensic interviews and therapy for children who have been physically or sexually abused or have been victims of or witnesses to violent crimes.
Sherer said from October to December of 2011, the county received 71 abuse reports on 110 children who had been victims of severe physical or sexual abuse. Currently, those children go to the Prescott House in Birmingham for interviews, but often have to wait in line for their turn.
The Walker County Children’s Advocacy Center has received donations from local businesses and governments and hopes to be able to open in a central location within a few months.
For more information on the DA’s Check Unit, call 384-6135.
To donate to the CAC, contact the DA’s office at 384-7272. For more information on the SBA, contact Sumiton PD at 648-3261.