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Is your teenager shoplifting?

No parent want to learn that their child is involved with criminal activity. However, it is fairly common for some teens to experiment with shoplifting.

Part of it is related to the strong pull of peer pressure when kids start hanging out with an iffy crowd. Parents know how difficult it is to monitor an active teen 24/7/365, but there are some red flags that parents should look out for.

The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) warns parents to be on the alert for the following potential indicators that their kids have turned into light-fingered Lily's and Louie's.

  • When they head out to the mall or department stores, they dress in baggy, many-pocketed clothes and/or carry backpacks or big purses.
  • You start to see them wearing new outfits or with expensive items that you didn't purchase for them.
  • Their friends have already had run-ins with the law for shoplifting or other thefts.
  • They take store bags along with them to the store that can be used to stash stolen goods.
  • The mall has now become your child's this is number one destination (even when they have no money)

A shoplifting conviction can land your child in juvenile court with a record that can limit their educational and employment opportunities. Moreover, it can set them on a criminal path in life at a very young age.

Talk to teens you suspect may have shoplifted goods. Let them know this is unacceptable and will be dealt with very seriously. If they are already facing charges, retaining a criminal defense attorney who has experience representing clients on shoplifting charges can sometimes save them from a conviction.

Source: National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, "Top 5 Signs Your Child May Be Shoplifting," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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