Does Walmart Build Cases On Shoplifters? [Must Read]

Walmart loses $3 billion a year to shoplifting. So it’s no wonder then that they have such an extensive system for preventing theft and catching the perpetrators.

Recently, retailers like Walmart have been pushing for harsher charges on shoplifters to prevent such losses. To do this, Walmart is successfully building cases on repeat offenders. Here is what I discovered.

Does Walmart Build Cases On Shoplifters?   

Walmart does build cases on shoplifters for any theft over $25. Walmart hires Loss Prevention Associates who profile and recognize repeat shoplifters. Footage from surveillance cameras is never deleted, and all transaction records are checked and filed. All of this can be used to build cases against shoplifters. 

To learn more about what it takes for a case to be built, prevention associates, and more. Keep on reading!

How Much Do You Have To Steal From Walmart For a Case To Be Built?

Typically, Walmart doesn’t press charges or detain those caught shoplifting when the value of the items stolen is less than $25.

In this case, they will encourage you to return the items and leave the store. If the value of what you have stolen is between $1000-$2000, then this is classed as a class 6 felony.

This could result in the perpetrator looking at between 1-5 years in jail, or a fine of up to $2500, and no more than 12 months in jail. Anything above $2000 is a class 5 felony and could result in a jail sentence of up to 10 years.  

Does Walmart Have a Database of Shoplifters?

If you are arrested for shoplifting at Walmart, that arrest will be kept in Walmart’s records.

Walmart keeps good track of any incidents in their stores and can check if shoplifters have previously been charged with shoplifting at Walmart.

Additionally, Walmart keeps photos of shoplifters, and Loss Prevention Associates are aware of their store’s repeat offenders.  

What Is A Loss Prevention Associate?

What Is A Loss Prevention Associate?

A Loss Prevention Associate is responsible for recognizing and reducing theft in retail stores. They often patrol the store and take note of any suspicious behavior and blend in with other customers.

That is because they usually wear street clothes so that they don’t draw attention to themselves.

They are responsible for apprehending shoplifters once they have left the store, filing reports on shoplifting incidents, and creating theft prevention strategies.  

How Long Does Walmart Ban First-Time Shoplifters?  

Those who are charged with shoplifting from Walmart receive a lifetime ban.

It is doubtful that this ban will be lifted, and if you choose to enter a Walmart after receiving this ban (even if it is not the one you stole from), you could receive charges for criminal trespass.  

Does Walmart Care If You Steal?

Walmart takes theft very seriously and devotes huge chunks of its budget to loss prevention.

If you steal from Walmart, you are likely to get caught, and the store is unlikely to drop charges. You could be looking at a criminal record and a lifetime ban from all Walmart stores.  

Does Walmart Have Facial Recognition?  

Walmart uses image recognition cameras at its self-checkout areas. These cameras are not facial recognition cameras.

They focus on the products themselves, not the customer’s face, and they aim to reduce the amount of unscanned and unpaid items leaving the store, not track the faces of the shoplifters themselves.  

How Does Walmart Know If you Steal?  

There are many security measures in place to ensure that thieves are caught in Walmart stores.

Walmart employs Loss Prevention Associates responsible for recognizing when shoplifting is taking place and surveillance cameras, product security tags, and AI-powered image recognition at checkouts.  

To learn more, you can see my full guide on how Walmart tracks shoplifters and the technology they are using.

How Can I get Walmart To Drop My Shoplifting Charge?  

Walmart takes theft very seriously, therefore it is unlikely that they will drop charges. If you believe that you have been wrongly accused, then your best option is to hire a defense lawyer and get an opinion of how you should proceed.

To learn more, also see our other guides on whether or not Walmart can check your receipt, if Walmart uses Telecheck, if Walmart accepts handwritten checks, Walmart’s lost and found policy, and the most stolen products from Walmart.


Theft presents a huge threat to companies like Walmart. In isolation, stealing $15 worth of goods from a huge corporation like Walmart may seem like nothing.

However, stealing $15 frequently can mean that repeat offenders are often charged with misdemeanors when they should be charged with class 6 felonies. In recent years, Walmart and similar retailers have been tackling the issue by building cases against repeat offenders who can now expect to receive longer prison sentences and heavier fines.  

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

2 thoughts on “Does Walmart Build Cases On Shoplifters? [Must Read]”

  1. Wal-Mart needs to go case by case. A friend of mine bought and PAID for $200.00 but forgot to scan a $14.00 bag of dog food that that was on the bottom of her cart. She now has a record and is BANNED FOR LIFE! She even offered to pay for the mistake and Walmart said NO! Now why would someone she’ll out $200.00 to “steal” a bag of dog food??? Makes no sense to me!

  2. Seriously a miscarriage of ‘justice’ in this particular instance. Did they stop her at the door, or wait until she left the store, ‘catching’get at her vehicle? Either way, it shouldn’t matter in a case such as this, an honest ‘honest mistake’. I would think there’s some kind of appeals process where she can clear her name, though I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for something like that …


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