Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: CALIFORNIA

    I shopped at a store 2 or 3 months ago with a credit card, and although I bought items, I shoplifted during that trip but didn't get caught. I got caught shoplifting for the fist time last week, was banned from the store & I think I was reported to a database. The LP told me I "may" get a Civil Demand in the mail but he said I'm lucky cus I'm 18+ yet no police were involved...but even though no police came to the store, can the LP still report me and have the police show up at my door? :( Is it possible (or I guess I should ask, how likely is it) for loss prevention to check my past transactions at the store and review the tapes from that date to see if I took anything during those times? And if they find anything, can I get charged for multiple offenses?

    I'm really scared, I feel so guilty, I don't know what to do because I already gave those items that I took previously and got away with as presents. The first question they asked me was if I have ever stolen before, and I said no. Help :'( I'm scared. I'm so worried because they banned me from all their branches and now they have my stats/info which is even more worrisome bc I shoplifted from those branches in the past as well for presents. I have very distinct features/body type and people always say I'm very "memorable" so I doubt I would match other shoplifter profiles in the database. I can't live like this, I feel so guilty and I don't know why I would steal for presents.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    25,843

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database.no Police Tho

    I don't know what to do because I already gave those items that I took previously and got away with as presents.
    I bet your friends are just so excited that they now possess stolen property as gifts. What a great friend you must be. Do you realize you have put them in jeopardy of criminal charges by doing that?

    I feel so guilty
    good.


    while it is unlikely there will be criminal charges, there still could be up until the statute of limitations for whatever crime is involved. With misdemeanors, many states have a year. If the theft was great enough to be classified as a felony, you are generally talking several years, at least. I don't know California's specifically.


    If they can find strong enough evidence you did steal other times, yes, they could file to seek charges. Not very likely though.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    You’re situation is complicated enough that you probably ought to consult an attorney, even though you probably are not going to be charged with a crime here. I will give you my opinion, though, which may be helpful. I am licensed to practice law in California. However, do not take this as individual legal advice. If you do consult an attorney, defer to her or his opinion over mine.

    If you never stole more than $400 on any previous theft episode, then, even if the store did figure it out at this late date, you could probably only be charged with petty theft for each incident. California Penal Code (CPC) Sections 487 and 488. The statute of limitations - meaning the time during which you have to be charged if the charge is going to stick - for petty theft is one year. CPC Section 802.

    The only exception would be if the evidence on prior incidents was sufficient to charge you with burglary, which is a felony. Then the statute of limitations is three years. CPC Section 801. To prove burglary, the prosecution has to show that you formed the intent to steal before ever entering the building. That is usually tough to do, and even harder to do based just on video surveillance. An exception might be if you used some sort of tool, such as scissors, to cut off electronic alarm tags and that was seen on video.

    Having said all of that, it is unlikely that the store would devote the kind of resources required to going back and looking up credit or debit card charges to determine when you were at a store and then combing through hours and hours of video to find out if you did it before. Theoretically, possible, but not likely to happen in the real world.

    For the same reason, it is theoretically possible to charge you after the fact, even though the store let you go. I don’t believe that is common practice in California though. I think most stores call the police if they want you prosecuted. You may not get hauled off to jail (or you might) but you usually get cited down there on the spot.

    Don’t worry about having denied prior thefts to the store loss prevention employee. It was not honorable and it would have been better to just say nothing, but the lie was not a crime.

    Don’t say anything about this to your friends who you gave presents to. Technically, you might make them criminals for knowingly possessing stolen property. That requires actual knowledge, which is not present here.

    You probably will get a civil demand letter for $500, but since the store recovered the merchandise the penalty provisions are not automatic in California. (They are in most other states.) I sit kind of on the fence as to whether you should voluntarily pay a civil demand in California. Most lawyers in California advise their clients not to pay them and just ignore them. In fact, it is rare for stores to file civil enforcement actions in court in California.

    So, basically, the bottom line is that you need to calm down, don’t stress too much over what could theoretically happen, and keep your mouth shut about this, except if you follow my first advice, which is to consult a lawyer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    Quote Quoting semblance
    View Post
    If you never stole more than $400 on any previous theft episode, then, even if the store did figure it out at this late date, you could probably only be charged with petty theft for each incident. California Penal Code (CPC) Sections 487 and 488. The statute of limitations - meaning the time during which you have to be charged if the charge is going to stick - for petty theft is one year. CPC Section 802.
    Thank you so much for your information. Does the $400 apply to one single incident...or shoplifting incidents in total? I mean, I only got caught at one store, but since they have me in their database now...if I get caught through past surveillance footage for the previous times that I shoplifted (at their store and at their sister stores) but got away, how would they be able to total what I took if they didn't apprehend me?

    And to the first responder, I know, it was a very bad mistake on my part giving my friends stolen gifts. I was feeling social pressure because I'm constantly made fun of for being the poorest of our group...good friends they are ::sarcasm::. I've decided to stop talking to them finally and to turn my life around because no one is worth trying to impress and messing up my own life. Thanks for your input though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    You know, I just tried to post this but it seemed to vanish off the screen. If you get two posts from me with similar information, I apologize.

    To answer your question, the $400 amount would apply to each separate incident of theft. So, it you stole $399 from Branch 1 on Monday, and $399 from Branch 2 on Tuesday, that is two separate crimes, both misdemeanors, both with a one year statute of limitations.

    In the unlikely event that one of these old incidents comes up, it is not your job to prove that you stole no more than $400. It would be up to the prosecution to show that you stole more than that on any given day in question. Pretty hard to do from video surveillance. Not necessarily impossible, but very difficult.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    Thanks again for the info. Do you happen to know California's laws on concealment? If they have footage of me concealing items (from my previous shoplifting incidents that I got away with), would that be enough to bring me to court? How could they be sure that I left the store with it and didn't just decide to leave the items in the dressing room?

    Also, I've been reading around the internet and although it wasn't Macy's that I got caught at, I was wondering what you think of this person's situation and the reply:

    Original question: I was caught shop lifting from Macy's about $88 dollars worth, i have no idea what to expect and i want to know how this will affect me in the future with jobs and such. The police were never called and they told me to wait 45 days for something in the mail. All i got was a civil demand notice and a controlled release form.

    Lawyer's reply from AVVO.com:
    DO NOT SIGN ANY FORMS. Take what Macy's has sent you to a LAWYER, and explain the situation. The release form should specify that Macy's agrees not to forward this case to the DA, or to make a police report. The problem with signing forms is that, once you've confessed yoiur liability, macy's can then turn your signed form over to the police, who can use it to prosecutoe you for petty theft.
    If they prosecute you and convict you (using a signed form as your confession), you will have a misdemeanor criminal record as a convicted thief. Virtually all employers prefer not to hire thieves, if they have a choice.

    .........
    So once I receive the civil demand papers and whatever else they send me, do you think I should contact a lawyer straight away?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,076

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    You can consult an attorney, but be careful - he may cost you far more than the cost of the civil demand.

    While the retailer can - in theory - report you to the police, I have yet to ever see that happen in a late case like this. However, if you ignore the civil demand they can certainly seek restitution in court and that might cost you far more than the original civil demand amount.

    It is unlikely that they will discover past offenses, but it is possible.

    So, unless you like to gamble my suggestion would be to consider paying the civil demand if you receive one and cease your thieving ways.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    I agree with cdwjava.

    You do not have to sign any form to pay a civil demand. You just write a check. You can even send a letter saying that you are paying the demand only to comprise a civil matter and that you do not admit any liability. The civil demand process is considered separate from the criminal process.

    Your other questions have already been answered, several times.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,076

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    To add, from what I have seen it is typical that major retailers (with LP personnel) routinely have suspects sign documents essentially admitting to the theft before they are released from the store. So any documents admitting guilt were likely signed at the store and well before any civil demand was received in the mail.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Caught Shoplifting, Banned from Store, Reported to a Database

    if they didnt make a copy of my id, but have my stats and most likely screenshots of me from when they caught me through surveillance, would they be circulating my info with all of their sister stores and sharing it with companies outside of theirs? im so worried someone will recognize me, and im worried friends will find out. im so embarrassed already

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Retail Fraud / Shoplifting: Accused of Shoplifting and Banned From Store
    By cypher1169 in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 12-04-2010, 10:53 PM
  2. Retail Fraud / Shoplifting: Caught Shoplifting from Walmart, How Long Am I Banned for
    By Windbane in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-07-2010, 05:31 PM
  3. Retail Fraud / Shoplifting: Accused of Shoplifting but Not Charged, Banned from Store
    By Mama1 in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-04-2009, 05:31 PM
  4. Retail Fraud / Shoplifting: Banned from a Store for Shoplifting
    By ladeedah in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-10-2009, 09:22 PM
  5. Retail Fraud / Shoplifting: Caught Shoplifting and Banned From The Store
    By Doubleblind in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-27-2007, 04:06 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Criminal Defense Attorney
Protect your freedom. Consult a criminal defense lawyer for free.




Untitled Document