SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Retailers lose $45 billion dollars annually to theft, about $10 billion of that to shoplifting.

Yet the last thing stores may want to do is catch a thief.

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Chris Mcgoey knows all the tricks. He’s been in the loss prevention business for almost 40 years. On an undercover tour of a big box store he showed us how shoplifters stash things and how to pick out what he calls “likely candidates”, like women with big purses in shopping carts. Or shoppers with baby carriers.

Mcgoey admits it’s profiling. “It’s not based on race, religion, sex, age, any of those, it’s really based on behavior.  But he says these days some retailers would rather lose the merchandise than detain anyone. “America is  just shaking in their boots, they are scared. If you stop someone and they haven’t stolen anything you are sued.”

Earlier this year Barneys in New York paid half a million dollars to settle accusations it was singling out minority shoppers. The state launched an investigation after 19-year-old Trayon Christian sued the store for detaining him and questioning his ability to pay for an expensive belt.

Just days later actor Rob Brown sued Macy’s in New York for parading him around in handcuffs. That after they accused him of using a fake credit card to buy an expensive watch. The latest store under fire:  Rite Aid in Corte Madera.

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“It’s scary, humiliating, it’s sad, not fair and its wrong, said Anna. She was too embarrassed to show her face or use her real name when she talked to KPIX5. She says she was detained and accused of shoplifting at the store last summer.

Store security video shows her talking to a cashier, but never touching or buying anything. Even so, a security guard follows her out. “He grabbed me by my right elbow,” she said.  She’s suing Rite Aid for false imprisonment.

“This lady is hurt to her core,” said her attorney Charles Bonner. “We have seen this happen again and again, it’s called shopping while black,” he said.

Mcgoey wouldn’t comment about the case but says at some stores loss prevention employees have quotas to fill. “You are expected to get someone at least once a week,” he said.

He says under that kind of pressure race could become an issue. But you can’t let color blind the facts. “You have to see the customer approach the merchandise, you have to see them conceal it. You talk about interjecting yourself into their life ad their civil rights, so you better darn well know what you are doing.

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Rite Aid says it cannot comment because of the pending litigation.