The use of police covert operations to include police set up operations on private business property ultimately may reside in whether the private business wishes to pursue criminal charges outside the realm of punitive damages. The use of covert police operations also does preclude the possible unidentifiable intentions of the suspect in custody and heavily relies on factual evidence that is specific to the investigation. Given the nature of the covert operation and the ostensible helpful nature of the suspect in custody, the defendant could fight the charges by pursuing a counter charge of entrapment as a possibility in this case.
The defendant also does have a history of doing what he claims, as he had brought what appeared to be misplaced items home and to his mother who then initiated contact with the rightful owner. What is of contention in this particular case, however, is why the defendant did not go into the store to report the items as missing. This is an interpretive judgment with regard to how one may decide to report missing items. The defendant may feel his responsibility to return the items and may not even think to go inside into the store to report the item.
Rather irrelevant to the case but interesting is the notion that, if the defendant did return the items to the store, whether the staff receiving the items would have reported the incident internally or potentially would have kept the items themselves and reported the $60 cash inside to be gone upon reception, effectively putting to blame the defendant for theft under a petty cash theft charge.
In a real life situation, if the police did not intervene, the defendant likely would have returned the items to the rightful owner given the previous incident and his response to his intentions at the scene. If the defendant did return the items, and had the police not provided surveillance at the scene, the potential exists (if there are no cameras recording him returning inside with the items) for the defendant to have been blamed for stealing money after in fact performing the ‘right’ act and returning the money inside the store.