She paid $3.70 for $1,800 worth of electronics in Walmart self-checkout, police say

By Mandy Matney

A Florida woman is facing charges after she stole more than $1,800 worth of merchandise from Walmart using stolen clearance stickers in the self-checkout lane, deputies say.

Cheyenne Amber West, 25, of Fort Pierce, Fla., was arrested at Walmart Monday and charged with grand theft and retail theft, according to Indian River County police records.

A Walmart employee told police he saw West, who was with another woman who was not charged, picking up large items in the electronics section, including a computer and video game controllers and placing them in their cart, according to the affidavit.

Then, surveillance video showed the women removing stickers from clearance items in another section and placing them over the bar codes on their selected items. They then removed the security wrap from the items, according to the police report.

The women used the self-checkout to scan the clearance stickers, where they paid a total of $3.70, which is approximately $1,821 less than what they should have for the items, according to the affidavit.

When she was arrested, West told police she was trying to get gifts she “can’t afford” for her son, according to the police report.

“The computer is for my husband since he just got me a Coach purse, I figured he deserved something nice as well,” West told police.

West was released on bond on Tuesday evening, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department. The police report did not indicate why the other woman with West was not charged.

Retail theft involving self-checkout lanes is a fairly common occurrence, according to a recent University of Leicester study.

The study used data from more than 12 million shopping trips from four countries, including the United States. Researchers found that retailers using self-service experienced an average of 4 percent loss from theft, which is double the rate of retailers that don’t use self-service.

The study suggests that self-service lanes encourage people who wouldn’t normally steal items to steal them.

“(Self-checkout) potentially promotes ease of effort for theft by removing any human contact throughout the shopping process and removing human contact at the final payment stage of the shopping journey when a payment wallet option is provided,” the study says.

The study suggests that “the sense of risk” is reduced when human interaction is taken out of the shopping experience and people don’t have to face a human when they are stealing items.