Walgreens Shoplifting Policy [Cameras, Prosecution, Tracking + More]

Walgreens is one of America’s largest drugstore chains, with 8000+ stores spread over 50 states.

Because of this, it has to face a lot of shoplifting incidents, so you may be curious to know how it deals with these. So what is Walgreens’ shoplifting policy? 

Here is what I’ve found out from the Walgreens employees!

Walgreens Shoplifting Policy

Walgreens has a ‘no-chase’ policy regarding shoplifting. It does not search and stop suspected shoplifters, nor does it try to stop confirmed shoplifters. However, video footage from 24/7 CCTV cameras and details are provided to the police to investigate once the shoplifter has left the store. Walgreens also press charges on shoplifters.

You may be confused as to why Walgreens does not stop shoplifters inside its stores, and how it deters these incidents in the first place. Keep on reading to find out why this is the case! 

What Is Walgreens ‘No-Chase’ Policy About Shoplifting?

What Is Walgreens ‘No-Chase’ Policy About Shoplifting? 

Walgreens ‘no-chase’ policy regarding shoplifting requires that employees do not interfere with people who are known to be shoplifting. 

Even if store employees can see someone openly carrying goods outside the store without paying for them, they are not supposed to try and stop the shoplifter or retrieve the stolen goods. 

Do Walgreens Stores Have Monitored Cameras? 

Yes, all Walgreens stores have surveillance cameras installed in every portion of the store, including cash registers, supply shelves, and stock rooms.

These cameras are covered by one-way mirrors or dummy domes to make it impossible to detect which direction the camera is pointing towards. 

The cameras work 24/7 and are monitored by a central security service. The footage is saved for a long period of time so it is possible to recover and view the footage of a past event. 

However, maintaining the camera system is the responsibility of each store and its manager. Therefore, some employees report that certain stores do not have well-maintained or even functional camera systems. 

Do Walgreens Employees Stop And Search Suspected Shoplifters? 

No, Walgreens employees are prohibited from stopping and searching a customer based on suspicion that the person may be shoplifting. 

In many cases, trying to check if a customer is shoplifting has led to employees losing their jobs at Walgreens. 

Does Walgreens Notify The Police About Shoplifting Incidents? 

Yes, Walgreens does notify the police about shoplifting incidents. Since it has a no-chase policy, employees do not intervene when the person is walking out with stolen goods.  

However, they are required to report this incident to the police, providing the video footage of the shoplifting and any details about the person involved. This information is then used by the police to investigate and try to track the shoplifter. 

How Are Shoplifters Prosecuted By Walgreens Once They Are Caught? 

If the police catch a shoplifter who has been known to be shoplifting from Walgreens, it will initiate prosecution against the person based on the scale of the offense. 

For example, Washington state classifies shoplifting into three categories as described below: 

  • If the total value of the stolen goods is below $750, the offense will be considered a third-degree theft charge, and the offender will have to pay up to $5,000 in fines, spend up to one year in jail, or both. 
  • For a total value between $751 and $4,999, the offense will be a second-degree theft charge (a class C felony) and will impose up to 5 years in jail, up to $10,000 in fine, or both. 
  • For a total value of more than $5,000, the offense will be a first-degree theft charge (a class B felony) and will involve up to 10 years in jail, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. 

Other states follow a similar classification that is based on the total value of the goods stolen. 

How Does Walgreens Deter Shoplifting Incidents?

How Does Walgreens Deter Shoplifting Incidents?

On the surface, it may seem that Walgreens’ shoplifting policy does not do anything to stop people from stealing goods from its stores.

However, Walgreens does implement measures to deter people from shoplifting while inside the store. 

For example, Walgreens employees are told to explicitly call out a ‘Welcome to Walgreens!’ to every customer that comes inside the store and a ‘Be well!’ to every person that leaves.

This makes the customers aware that the employees are always around and have noticed their presence. 

Moreover, employees are also asked to follow customers around, offering them help every now and then.

Having an employee tailing you around to ‘help you’ can be a strong deterrent for potential shoplifters. 

Why Does Walgreens Have A ‘No-Chase’ Policy For Shoplifters? 

The primary reason Walgreens has a no-chase policy is to protect its employees and customers from any kind of harm. 

Intervening with shoplifters and trying to stop or confront them may lead to escalations and physical altercations.

In some cases, the shoplifters may even resort to using firearms that they are carrying with them.

This puts the health and lives of both Walgreens employees and other customers in danger. 

This may also lead to damage and liabilities of other items in the store, adding to the overall loss faced by Walgreens.

Therefore, employees are not allowed to intervene or try to retrieve stolen goods. 

Another reason why Walgreens does not permit its employees to stop and search suspected shoplifters is to avoid lawsuits in the case that the customer is not shoplifting.

If a customer is offended because they were perceived to be shoplifting by the staff, they may end up filing a lawsuit against Walgreens. This will result in unnecessary liabilities and expenses for Walgreens. 

The only recommended course of action for Walgreens employees is to let the shoplifter (suspected or confirmed) walk out without interference and then report the incident to the police and Walgreens management. 

To learn more, you can also see our posts on the Dollar General shoplifting policy and the Walmart shoplifting policy.

Additionally, you can read our guide on Walgreens statistics and trends, and learn how Walgreens is combatting online competition.


Walgreens has a ‘no-chase’ policy, i.e. it does not permit its employees to stop and search suspected shoplifters, nor does it allow them to intervene when a person is clearly seen to be stealing goods. 

However, once a shoplifter steps out of the store, it reports the incident to the police, providing video footage and identification details. The footage is recorded 24/7 through CCTV cameras installed everywhere in the stores.

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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 QuerySprout.com.

3 thoughts on “Walgreens Shoplifting Policy [Cameras, Prosecution, Tracking + More]”

  1. Are there any cameras outside the stores? I watched a man with a FULL cart STROLL out the door without paying!!!! I left the store around 30/45 seconds later and there was an empty cart. No sign of the criminals! I refuse to shop at a store that is repeatedly robbed, that doesn’t have some kind of police presence at their store, only to cry poor-mouth later and raise their prices to compensate for these blatant acts! Do something, Walgreens.

  2. Ridiculous policy!! Because of theft I cannot shop freely because I must ask an employee to open a locked cabinet just to get one item. It’s an inconvenience to honest shoppers. I can see the reasoning behind not allowing employees to try to stop theft but to not allow ARMED security to stop them is ridiculous! What then is the point of security?!

  3. Right now, the merchandise being stolen by shoplifters may not be effecting the stores profit to be of harm to the business, but sooner or later its going to catch up. Most of the shoplifting being done are by repeat offenders who visit the store every day, if not a few times a day, scanning each lane for anything with a high price. Then they pull out bags, load them up and report to the cashiers with items left in their cart. Once the items are rang, they produce a card to be ran which declines. Not only have they gotten away with stolen merchandise, but they have now wasted paying customers time by having to wait in line, and now the company has to pay employees to put back several carts of merchandise at the end of each shift from all the merchandise that was brought to the counter by shoplifters who attempt to pay with 0 balance cards as a decoy for their shoplifting. How can an employee of walgreens not interfere with a confirmed shoplifter and not worry if they will even have a job to come to in a few months down the line? Especially when they see a loaded cart with expensive items by a known repeated shoplifter? Is this the reason for the understaffed stores, where shoppers must wait long periods of time for a worker to come with a key just to unlock bodywash? Is it hard to find workers to work that don’t care about being employed in their future lives, and sit back and fiddle their thumbs as criminals rob the store of its merchandise? I say kick ass and take names later! Protect your store and and kick out those criminals. Get some type of law passed that if a shopper has been caught on surveillance stealing before, they should not be allowed to enter the store again and any lawsuit brought forth from being dismissed at the door be voided.

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