But that's what a mother and daughter ended up getting -- free of charge -- after a shopping trip Sunday.
Lynnwood police arrested the mom, 44, for investigation of second-degree robbery. Officers allege she scuffled with a security employee who suspected the woman's daughter, 17, of shoplifting perfume from a cosmetics store at the Alderwood mall.
Both were taken into custody Sunday afternoon after running from a loss prevention officer.
The girl is accused of stealing $220 worth of perfume and face cleanser from the store by concealing the bottles in her purse.
When the loss prevention officer confronted her outside of the store, the girl clutched her bag and began to walk away. The officer grabbed the purse to try to recover the merchandise, leading to a struggle, according to court records.
That's when the mom allegedly joined the fray.
The employee said the woman ran up behind her, pulled her hair and began pushing and scratching her.
The daughter was able to break free and took off in one direction; the mom, in another.
When police took her into custody, the girl didn't have her purse. She told officers that she dumped the merchandise near a large department store. Police later recovered the purse containing the stolen goods in some tall grass across the street from the mall. They found identification belonging to the girl.
The mom initially told police she had been with her daughter's friend who had stolen items from the store. She said she thought someone was attacking the family friend and that's why she came to her aid.
She later changed her story. She said she thought her daughter was being attacked.
The woman acknowledged that the officer identified herself as security and said she didn't know why she had run from the scene.
She denied knowing that her daughter stole from the store.
The mother was released without bail from the Snohomish County Jail Monday after a hearing in Everett District Court. The judge found that police had probable cause to arrest her. It's now up to prosecutors whether to file charges.
Police from several local departments say misdemeanor shoplifting cases, which typically end in a fine, often become felony robbery cases because thieves get physical with store security.
U.S. retailers take a $13 billion annual hit at the hands of shoplifters, and more than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the past five years, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. The nonprofit organization reports an average of 550,000 shoplifting incidents each day in the United States.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, email@example.com
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