Deaths Resulting From Shoplifting Incidents and Expert Witness Studies

Don’t Chase.  Don’t Fight.  Don’t Die.
Apprehending Shoplifters is High Risk!

Shoplifting is a blight upon retailers. Shoplifting is responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in loss to retailers annually. This crime is also firmly entrenched in organized crime that feeds stolen merchandise around the world. The daily risks involved are high stakes.

This information primarily intended for Loss Prevention personnel and store personnel who make apprehensions.  The information is anecdotal at best and is intended as awareness to a growing problem. There are no published statistics, even through OSHA, that quantify injuries to store personnel. There is no body of work that accumulates data regarding deaths or serious injury in shoplifter related incidents. These events do happen and with unfortunate frequency.

This summary is ongoing and does not focus on any particular retailer. We do not have any method to determine the accuracy of any content of the articles herein. We have offered no professional opinion regarding of these cases. However, from a Security Expert’s point of view, when a shoplifter dies as a result of an apprehension made by so called “store security”, litigation is sure to follow.


  • Death by asphyxiation where suspect is restrained in a manner that does not allow them to breathe.
  • Death by agent/employee attempting to make apprehension of a person in a moving vehicle.
  • Deadly force by Police and armed contract security guards (death of guards) gives insight into the violent nature of apprehensions.
  • Police officer deaths: 2.
  • Wal Mart Greeters: 2.
  • Not included in this list are deaths attributed to police chases of shoplifters.
  • Serious injuries far outreach the number of deaths and the use of Tasers and chemical sprays (Mace) is growing in frequency by shoplifters.

2000 – 2013: 75
Top 4 Retailers
Wal-Mart – 26, K-Mart – 6, CVS 4, Rite Aid 4


6-26-14 Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
Los Angeles, CA
Man shot dead by LAPD after confronting Crenshaw Plaza security guard.



2013  (4)  Record lowest year since 2007

1-24-13  Target
Fort Worth, TX
Police shoot, kill shoplifter on Tarrant County College Campus

4-9-13  Wal Mart
Memphis, TN
Suspected Shoplifter Dies After Being Shot by Officer

7-29-13  Wal Mart
Garland, TX
Garland Police Officer Shoots & Kills Shoplifter

7-30-13  Wal Mart
Conroe, TX
Off-duty Conroe officer shoots, kills teenage shoplifting suspect.  Update:  The officer involved was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.


2012 – 12 (Record Year)

3-10-12  Sears
Woodbridge, NJ
Suspected Shoplifter Shot, Killed By Single Shot After Taking a Hostage at Mall.

4-6-12  Wal Mart
Austin, Texas
Austin Police Officer shot by shoplifter

4-20-12  Wal Mart
College Station, TX
CS Police Release More Details of Friday’s Fatal Shooting Inside Wal-Mart

6-4-12  Wal Mart
Covina, CA
Shoplifting suspect dies after being detained at Covina Walmart

6-20-12  Wal Mart
Detroit, MI
Man suspected of shoplifting screwdriver shot, killed at Woodhaven Walmart

9-21-12 Wal Mart
Margate, FL
Margate WalMart Shooting: Shoplifter Kills Security Associate Lewis Jhon, Then Himself

9-26-12 Kohl’s
Keller, TX
Police Kill Shoplifter Detained in Texas Kohl’s Store

11-25-12 Wal Mart
DeKalb County, GA
Alleged Walmart Thief Dies After Confrontation

12-7-12 Wal Mart
Houston, TX
Deputy Fatally Shoots Walmart Shoplifting Suspect

12-12-12 Food Lion
Greensboro, NC
Greensboro Man Dies After Arrest

12-23-12  Long’s Drugs
Wailuku, HI
Man pleads not guilty in death of Longs manager

12-31-12 K-Mart
Springettysburg TWP, NY
York County Shoplifter Killed by Police ID’d

2011 – 9

5-21-11  Wal Mart
Wilson, NC
Wal-Mart door greeter killed in shoplifting incident

5-27-11  Target
Tampa, FL
Murder charges added for shoplifting suspect

7-22-11  Wal Mart
Federal Way, WA
Shoplifting suspect shot to death in Federal Way

8-1-11  Rite Aid
Kent, WA
Kent police seek shoplifter involved in death

8-5-11  Burlington Coat
Charlotte, NC
Mother, Teen Daughter Drown in Charlotte Floodwaters

8-21-11  K Mart
Ashville, NC
Fleeing From A K-Mart Loss Prevention Officer A Man Was Struck And Killed By Vehicle

10-18-11  Home Depot
Dallas, TX
Shoplifting Suspect Dies after Fight with Officer

11-14-11  Wal Mart
Knoxville, TN
Knoxville police identify man killed in WalMart shooting

12-10-11  Sears
Visalia, CA
Visalia Police Shoot and Kill Suspected Shoplifter

2010 – 9

1-15-10  KMart
Waterford Twnsp, MI
Kmart worker dies while trying to stop shoplifter.

1-29-10  Wal Mart
Conway, SC
Woman dies after confrontation at Walmart

1-28-10   DFS Galleria
Waikiki, HI
Waikiki security guard dies following struggle with DFS shoplifting suspect

2-11-10   Family Dollar
Memphis, TN
$100M Lawsuit Filed Against Family Dollar. Theft Suspect’s Death Blamed on Vigilante Manager.

2-15-10  Shop Rite
Wayne, NJ
NJ Security Guard Dies Trying To Stop Shoplifter

3-8-10  Kohl’s
Columbus, OH
Police Kill Armed Shoplifter

5-8-10   CVS
Chicago, IL
Alleged thief flees pharmacy, dies in struggle.

5-9-10   Smith’s
Provo, UT
Police release name of man killed by officers at Provo Smith’s

6-22-10   Wal Mart
Ft. Worth
Lauded as ‘good man,’ Walmart worker hurt in shoplifting incident dies

2009 – 10

2-3-09  Wal Mart
Kansas City, MO
Shoplifter Dies After Confrontation

2-19-09  CVS Pharmacy
Los Angeles, CA
Suspected CVS Shoplifter Death Investigated.

2-9-09  Kroger
Royal Oak Twnsp, MI
Michigan Shoplifting Suspect Dies

4-15-09  Schnucks
E. St. Louis, MO
Schnucks Security Guard is Shot, Killed

4-23-09  Wal Mart
Ft. Smith, AR
Man, caught shoplifting, Commits Suicide in Walmart

6-28-09   Wal Mart
Ridgeland, MI
Shoplifting Suspect Shot By Ridgeland Police Dies

8-13-09  Citi Trends
Forest Park, GA
Suspected shoplifter dies after brief chase in Forest Park

9-22-09  Okay Groceries
Winnipeg, Canada
Store owner faces assault charge after death of shoplifter

10-15-09  CVS
New Orleans, LA
CVS Security Officer Shoots, Kills Shoplifter

12-22-09  Wal Mart
Dunwoody, GA
Wal-Mart Shoplifting Suspect Dies

2008 – 7

2-10-08  Price Chopper
Kansas, MO
Security Guard Shoots, Kills Shoplifting Suspect

6-7-08  Wal Mart
Dallas, TX
Off-duty Dallas officer shoots, kills shoplifter

6-27-08  Canadian Tire
Toronto, Canada
Canadian Tire Shoplifter dies during hot pursuit

8-19-08  TJ Maxx Delta
Township, MI
Michigan shoplifting suspect crushed in trash compactor after fleeing store

9-4-08  WinCo
Beaverton, OR
DA: No criminal charges in Beaverton WinCo shoplifting death

10-28-08  Kay’s Jewelers
Rockville, MD
Deputy shot shoplifter 3 times

11-12-08  Wal Mart
Rohnert, CA
Rohnert Park shoplift suspect dies in custody

2007 – 3

7-1-07  WinCo
Twin Falls, ID
Twin Falls Police give details on shooting.

7-12-07  Toys R Us
Pinole, CA
Canal mourns loss of volunteer killed while trying to stop shoplifter

7-22-07  KMart
Ramona, CA
Witnesses recount fatal shooting of store guard

2006 – 2

7-3-06  Stop & Shop
North Smithfield, RI
Suspected shoplifter fatally shot

12-6-06  Wal Mart
Fort Worth, TX
Shoplifting Teen Flees, Hit by Car, Dies

2005 – 2

1-5-05  Walgreens
Las Vegas, NV
Metro Police shoot, kill suspected shoplifter

8-8-05  Wal Mart
Houston, TX
Suspect’s Death In Wal-Mart Parking Lot Raises Questions

2004 – 7

1-21-04  Giant Eagle
Portage County, OH
Shoplifter’s family granted new wrongful death trial. (Appeal)

2-17-04  CVS
Boston, MA
CVS Clerk Killed Trying To Stop Shoplifter

4-26-04 Rite Aid
Brooklyn, NY
Shoplifter Kills A Guard

5-22-04  Wal Mart
Baton Rouge, LA
Veteran Officer Shot to Death

6-24-04   Wal Mart
Long Beach, CA
Fatal shot ends close-quarters struggle with suspect at Wal-Mart.

8-13-04  Radio Shack
San Jose, CA
Shoplifting suspect killed during pursuit.

9-23-04  Casa Linda
Dallas, TX
Police investigate death in shoplifting arrest

2003 – 2

3-8-03   KMart
San Luis Obispo, CA
Police Probe Death of Physician Held in Shoplifting

9-20-03  JC Penney
Tampa, FL
Mall Security Guard Dragged To Death

2002 – 3

10-30-02  Lord and Taylor
Detroit, MI
Retail chain settles in man’s death at hands of security guard. $6M settlement.

11-4-02  Family Dollar
Dallas, TX
Security guard accused of shooting teen

11-02  Dillard’s
Maple Heights, OH
Alleged Shoplifter Dies After Scuffle With Officer. ($2.8M settlement)

2001 – 4

1-17-01  K Mart
Dearborn, MI
Police shoot, kill alleged shoplifter

5-23-01  Wal Mart
Rockford, IL
Woman Wounds 3, Is Shot Dead by Police at Wal-Mart

4-6-01  Rite Aid
Detroit, MI
Rite Aid Shoplifter’s Death Ruled a Homicide

4-30-01   Rite Aid
Detroit, MI
$1 Billion Lawsuit Filed In Suspected Shoplifter’s Death (same as above)

2000 – 2

9-15-00  Stop & Shop
Hartford, CT
Suspect dies after scuffle with police

9-29-00  K Mart
Cheltenham, PA
Store Lot Suffocation is ruled Homicide


Our retail loss prevention services offer employee theft investigation training, shoplifting apprehension training, use of force training, shrink initiatives creation, physical security assessments, asset protection, and warehouse security surveys. We also provide security expert witness services for either plaintiff or defense trial attorneys.