Good article here on the particular stress of an independent bookstore and thieves. Must admit I hadn't thought that in this area, it would be any real different than at a chain.
In my eight years working at an independent bookstore, I lost count of how many shoplifters I chased through the streets of Seattle while shouting "Drop the book!" I chased them down crowded pedestrian plazas in the afternoon, I chased them through alleys at night, I even chased one into a train tunnel. I chased a book thief to the waterfront, where he shouted, "Here are your fucking books!" and threw a half-dozen paperbacks, including Bomb the Suburbs and A People's History of the United States, into Puget Sound, preferring to watch them slowly sink into the muck rather than hand them back to the bookseller they were stolen from. He had that ferocious, orgasmic gleam in his eye of somebody who was living in the climax of his own movie: I suppose he felt like he was liberating them somehow.
When I worked at a big-box chain bookstore, shoplifters never crossed my mind; the corporation paid security guards for that. Employees were told not to get involved. The legal issues were too Byzantine for us peons to understand. The guards, instead, created problems: We had to fire one for masturbating in the children's section.
But independent booksellers, understanding that the line between profit and failure is so fine, take it personally, and sprint after thieves all the time. On the rare occasion when a shoplifter would run faster than I could, I would shout at his back as he escaped into the city: "Why don't you steal from a fucking corporate bookstore, you asshole?" None of them ever responded. They just kept running.