Well, don’t try it at Walmart if you’re going to steal from a self-checkout line.
My advice is to do it somewhere else, but that is if you’re really that determined to become a felon, and you should probably avoid trying it at all because we never know what comes next, there’s a possibility that you’ll see yourself in jail, just like how this Michigan woman did—who is now facing a criminal charge after police say she didn’t scan all of her items at a Walmart self-checkout.
TeddyJo Marie Fliam, 34, was spotted by a Walmart loss prevention worker in July skipping items in the self-checkout lane at a store in Northern Michigan’s Alpena County.
She “became agitated, denied it, and left,” according to WJBK, when the worker confronted her. On September 29, the employee reviewed surveillance footage and found that Fliam had used the same method to steal more than $1,000 in Walmart merchandise from April through July. She was then taken into custody for first-degree retail fraud at her home in Alpena.
On the website of the state legislature, first-degree retail fraud in Michigan is a felony punishable by “either imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or three times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.”
Last Tuesday, she was supposed to be arraigned in Alpena’s 88th District Court on the lone charge.
The WJBK added that the Michigan State Police claimed that at least two arrests of people accused of switching out barcodes have previously been made when the same Walmart store has been “cracking down” on the practice of skipping items in self-checkout lanes. The WFIN reported that three years ago Walmart has begun monitoring self-checkout customers with cameras and artificial intelligence.
In 2019 when the system, known as Missed Scan Detection, was implemented, a Walmart spokesperson said that “Walmart is making a true investment to ensure the safety of our customers and associates, Over the last three years, the company has invested over half a billion dollars in an effort to prevent, reduce and deter crime in our stores and parking lots. We are continuously investing in people, programs and technology to keep our stores and communities safe.”
The system, known internally as Missed Scan Detection, can monitor both self- and manned checkout stations and reports potentially missed scans to an attendant who can investigate.
This type of theft can seem almost innocent, which is a problem. In the fiscal year 2022, the retail behemoth earned $573 billion. If Fliam is found guilty of the crime, one hopes that the legal system will require her to make restitution to the business as part of her sentence.
Every retailer suffers losses due to theft, and every one of them has to jack up its prices to cover those losses, and not just at Walmart, either. Although Fliam was charged with stealing “at least” $1,000, even if she stole 10 times that much, it would still be a rounding error on the megacorporation’s books. Fliam is not alone, of course; it has been said that theft by both customers and employees costs Walmart up to 1% of its total revenue but Walmart’s shareholders simply do not absorb those losses, because in the form of raising prices they will pass them off to consumers—to you and me.
We may not be held responsible for Fliam’s theft, but we pay for the theft of the thousands of other Fliams out there, the ones who don’t get caught. Because actually you and I are likely to pay even more as theft rises, given that, President Joe Biden’s bad economy and the Democrats’ overall soft-on-crime stance.
Watch the video below for more details: