If you've shopped at your local Walmart recently, you've probably been stopped and asked to show your receipt. Can they do that?

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Walmart has a new policy in place: stopping shoppers on their way out of the store, scanning their receipt, and checking the items in their cart.

A Walmart representative tells ABC10 "their intent is to check every receipt. He said, ultimately, this policy is to help prevent theft, which helps keep inventory high and prices low thus keeping customers happy."

Is this new policy legal?

We checked with a local attorney, and he tells us that New York State does have a law that allows a store to detain you if they suspect you've been shoplifting. He referred us to Section 218 of General Business Law, and points out that, in his opinion, a store can't just stop you from leaving without a "reasonable suspicion" that you've stolen something.

"Reasonable grounds," according to that law "shall include, but not be limited to, knowledge that a person (i) has concealed possession of unpurchased merchandise of a retail mercantile establishment, or (ii) has possession of an item designed for the purpose of overcoming detection of security markings attachments placed on merchandise offered for sale at such an establishment."

So what happens if you don't stop? 

Another attorney tells ABC10, that's where thing could get complicated. He says, "not stopping could give the store some probable cause they need to ask you to stop and detain you. They would need additional proof, too. At that point, lawyers advise it's best to show your receipt and wait it out. Don't try to flee."

So the bottom line, is legally, no, Walmart can't ask you to stop - but do you really want to torment the employee at the door who definitely didn't institute this policy? That's your call.

Just an FYI, this answer doesn't apply to stores like BJ's or Costco, because that's a membership and they can determine the terms of their membership - including checking your receipt as you leave.

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