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  1. #1

    Default Can You Be Stopped for Stealing Before You Leave the Store

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Massachusetts & New Hampshire.

    I was arrested for shoplifting (larceny over $250) in Wal-Mart. The LP lady didn't even wait for me to leave the store to stop me. She stopped me literally as I was passing the alarm gates (which did not sound off).

    Don't they need to wait till you at least cross those gates and exit before making a stop? I know Wal-Mart is private property, but don't they need to abide by certain legal guidelines to make a stop and detain a shoplifter? Even though it is private property, don't civil rights and due process still apply here?

    while escorting me to the backroom and even while there, she said that she wouldn't be involving the police and said that I would receive a civil demand notice. Well after tallying up the merchandise, which came to over $250, they called the police and had me arrested. Now, i'm facing a felony count of larceny of over $250 Monday morning at 8:30am.

    This isn't my first offense, but the first time it's ever been over $250. Ethics aside, I don't do it for the money. When wal-mart and the police asked why, I told them, some people do drugs, some people cut themselves, i do this. I further stated, that i've been in therapy for three years straight to address issues like this amongst others.

    I had a particularly stressful Thanksgiving where I was reamed out by family members and that is one of the main triggers of this event. at 30, I have to take full responsibility for my own actions, but it scares me to hell knowing that i'll be graduating college soon and have this hanging over my head. I've come a very long way in therapy, but am still working on myself.

    It's already been difficult enough finding a job, and i have yet to have my record sealed. Is it possible that Walmart did not make a lawful stop? I'm researching attorney's now, but need guidance.

    I'm scared to death since i've had a few continuance w/o a finding, 1 misdemeanor charge under $250 in New Hampshire, and this will be my 3rd arrest. I want to enter into a professional field, and I think my prospects of landing a professional job are over due to the bad decisions i've made.

    Even if the stop by LP wasn't lawful, will that change anything? Originally they were going to issue me a civil demand, but I never signed anything, not do i think the lady ever finished up that paperwork before calling in the police.

    Is it advisable to call the store back and offer say $2000 in restitution or plead with them to drop the charge? any advice would be highly helpful. Thank you all in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    25,707

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    Is it possible that Walmart did not make a lawful stop?
    I don't know. You listed 2 states and the laws regarding this are state specific.

    I will say this: most states do not require the thief to actually make it out the door with the loot. Many allow you to be stopped for simply hiding the merchandise on yourself, like a thief would.

    Is it advisable to call the store back and offer say $2000 in restitution or plead with them to drop the charge?
    You can try but if they were going to do this, why call the police at all. There is likely a bill for a civil forfeiture headed your way. Again, state specific so I cannot look up the amount they can charge but I have seen it as high as 10 times the amount stolen.

    any advice would be highly helpful.
    sure. Take that $2000 and add another 2-5 thousand more with it and hire yourself a good lawyer. Given your history, that is about the only way you are getting anything reduced.
    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
    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    12,374

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    It is nice that you took the time to snag another charge, before being let loose professionally to do the same things. Sorry you wasted all the money going to college. Hopefully it will be offset by your lengthy and admitted theft career.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    Both Massachusetts & New Hampshire are states that have a concealment law which means they can stop you inside the store.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    Quote Quoting jk
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    I don't know. You listed 2 states and the laws regarding this are state specific.
    Misdemeanor charge/arrest is from NH in 2003. This Walmart incident occurred in State of MA. Can the NH conviction be used against me even though it occurred in another state?

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    I will say this: most states do not require the thief to actually make it out the door with the loot. Many allow you to be stopped for simply hiding the merchandise on yourself, like a thief would.
    I know LP policies vary widely within a company and even from store-to-store. Most stores wait till the last possible moment beyond point of sale to create an airtight case and to avoid any gray areas since liability for big box retailers is bad as well as negative press.

    I'm just curious if in fact the LP agent waited till the last possible moment to apprehend me. Guess that's a question for an attorney.

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    You can try but if they were going to do this, why call the police at all. There is likely a bill for a civil forfeiture headed your way. Again, state specific so I cannot look up the amount they can charge but I have seen it as high as 10 times the amount stolen.
    I'll be calling the store and yes, i'm expecting bill for civil restitution from walmart even though they never finished up the paperwork or made me sign anything. Unlike cutting yourself, my illness (kleptomania) has heavy consequences and having almost finished college, it seems my career is over even before it started.
    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    sure. Take that $2000 and add another 2-5 thousand more with it and hire yourself a good lawyer. Given your history, that is about the only way you are getting anything reduced.
    Yes, I have about $6000 left of savings and plan on spending every penny and if I have to, embarrass myself and as a last resort, face the most shameful part and admit to my folks and ask for assistance.

    It seems that this case is mostly driven by the facts and my record and I don't see how any mitigating circumstances could benefit to me. To that end, I don't see how a public defender could really generate a more favorable outcome than a "good lawyer" as you put it.

    Thanks a lot for your advice and guidance.

  6. #6
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    Michigan
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    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    Public Defender = you have to prove you do not have finances to pay for one. You're in college, you have $6K...you won't qualify.

    Stores can apprehend you the instant the merchandise is concealed. They do not have to wait for you to exit the building. The minute you have concealed an item is enough to prove your intent to steal it. And the store did not even know you had a record.

    After tallying up the $250 amount of theft, this LP Officer realized you are not a first time shoplifter. She did the right thing in calling the police. Shoplifters cost retailers BILLIONS of dollars per year.

    So.."Now, I'm facing a felony count of larceny of over $250 Monday morning at 8:30am." Well...ask yourself whose fault that is?

    Yes, your college degree is probably going to be just a very expensive piece of paper. 3 arrests will not look good to any employer. McDonalds's will only take a first-time offender, so you will not even be working at McDonald's for minimum wage.

    You've been in counseling for 3 years? I'd recommend a different counselor. And maybe staying out of stores that you do not need to be in.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    Quote Quoting PandorasBox
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    Public Defender = you have to prove you do not have finances to pay for one. You're in college, you have $6K...you won't qualify.
    Regardless, given the facts, what benefits if any would a private attorney offer vs public defender?

    Quote Quoting PandorasBox
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    Stores can apprehend you the instant the merchandise is concealed. They do not have to wait for you to exit the building. The minute you have concealed an item is enough to prove your intent to steal it. And the store did not even know you had a record.
    Okay fine, but obviously stores have to maintain a policy that respects civil rights and search and seizure laws.

    Quote Quoting PandorasBox
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    So.."Now, I'm facing a felony count of larceny of over $250 Monday morning at 8:30am." Well...ask yourself whose fault that is?
    I've not shirked responsibility. The fault is mine and mine alone.
    , u
    Quote Quoting PandorasBox
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    Yes, your college degree is probably going to be just a very expensive piece of paper. 3 arrests will not look good to any employer. McDonalds's will only take a first-time offender, so you will not even be working at McDonald's for minimum wage.
    I agree that this reflects poorly upon me and severely limits my employment opportunities. I am humble by nature and certainly not above flipping burgers or any other unskilled job. Ultimately, I want to be a productive member of society, aka, gainfully employed, and contributing back to society.

    Quote Quoting PandorasBox
    View Post
    You've been in counseling for 3 years? I'd recommend a different counselor. And maybe staying out of stores that you do not need to be in.
    This comment comes off as ignorant, but I understand that I am not owed or due any sensitivity. We all have a dark side to us, unfortunately, mine have legal repercussions and do not endear me to society at large.

    I don't do drugs, nor any other illegal activities. Shoplifting is not a regular activity for me and it is not for economic benefit. Seldom do I ever think about it or engage in it, but when I do, obviously it has huge legal and financial consequence.

    I am in therapy voluntarily and use it to become a better person all around and to cope with my very traumatic and turbulent upbringing. I do not plan on using this as a defense or justification and would appreciate it not being used to mock or insult me. Thanks.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2007
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    1,242

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    It depends,a hired lawyer might be able to get a better deal b.c he can focus more time on your case. Don't call the store,find a good lawyer and see what they can do. Whatever your reasons are,once walmart called the cops it's best to just shut up. See if the charge can at least be reduced to a misdemeanor or maybe disordely conduct or a non theft charge but that seems like a long shot.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    "Okay fine, but obviously stores have to maintain a policy that respects civil rights and search and seizure laws." You really seem to be stumped by this. Retailers have the right to detain you if they suspect you are shoplifting. You stated that you concealed the merchandise. In Mass. they have the right to detain you at the point you concealed. They waited until you "literally as I was passing the alarm gates (which did not sound off)". They didn't have to wait that long. Google Mass. ch 231. 94B.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Arrested for Larceny Over $250 at Walmart in Ma. Was the Stop by Lp Lawful

    Quote Quoting davidmcbeth3
    View Post
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE03xl9cUns

    this guy got arrested in the store
    And what does that have to do with the OPs question?

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