Personal Info: F, 20s, college student, clean record (not even a traffic ticket) & most certainly never caught for shoplifting.
Note: The length is long due to my desire to be thorough and present an accurate picture of my case. Text in grey are things that I thought weren't as important or my personal opinion.
On Sunday, I was detained at Nordstom's for shoplifting 6 items worth just under $500. They examined my bags, and saw that I had shoplifted from other places in the mall (not good, I know). They first asked me to admit what I had shoplifted from Nordstoms, then the contents of my other bags (2). I admitted two things at first, and as they went on to examine the other items in the bag, I reluctantly admitted the other 4 items from Nordstrom's. I also admitted what in the other bag was stolen or not. They noticed that I had scissors in the bag, but I immediately told them that I had not used them at all (true!) and they had been in the bag from previous use (true!). They separated the Nordstom items, my items that I had paid for (w/receipt), and what other stolen items from the mall (uh...which was approx. 4 other stores' items, not good).
By this time, I was starting to hyperventilate, but calmed myself down so as not to appear like I was trying to elicit some sympathy from the LPs. They asked if I had a medical condition, then if I took any medication for it, which I replied, "No, it's just anxiety and stress, I'll be fine." One of the LPs even got me water while the other was filling out the paperwork. I weakly asked if this was going to go on my record, but one of the only replied something to the effect of, "Well, that depends on what happens right now."
The LPs filed paperwork on me, like my personal info, DL, SS#, and picture. They photographed the items from Nordstoms, and I think they were going to photograph the bag with the additional items to add to my file. I was extremely cooperative and polite [after calming down] throughout the ordeal and questioning.
While one LP filled out my paperwork, and the other photographed the items from Nordstroms, one asked the other what to do with, presumably, the other items I had taken from other stores in the mall. They said something like this:
"What should I do with those? "These items (meaning the ones I took from Nordstrom's) are under 500"
"But if you add in the others (meaning the other items from other stores), it'd most definetely be over 500."
Well...return them...I think that's what she would do."
I was too stunned and overcome by guilt and anxiety to really register what they said at the time, but I thought about it later, and I hope their faith in me was a good sign.
I signed papers acknowledging the items from Nordstrom's that I took, their value, my ban from the store, and my receiving an Admonishment (something like a legal scolding?). Then, I was told that I was free to leave and to call Nordstom's Civil Claims after 3-5 business days to fine out the results of today and discuss the civil fine.
The letter I given by the LPs states:
Two types of actions may occur as a result of your detention by a Nordstrom Loss Prevention Representative.
If criminal charges are filed against you, the police will be contacted and a case number will be issued. If you are charged w/a shoplifting offense, a representative from the court will contact you.
In certain situations, an individual may qualify for the Admonishment Program in lieu of criminal prosecution. If this occurs additional information will be made available to you and you will be asked to sign an agreement in order to defer criminal prosecution. <---That's pretty much what happened to me, I signed an acknowledgment that I received an Admonishment.
Most states entitle merchants to assess a civil fine against you or the legal guardian of a minor when a theft occurs. This fine is in addition to any criminal penalty or fines which may be imposed as part of the criminal prosecution process.
Google led me to this story of some boxers who were also detained for shoplifting at Nordstoms, who also received an admonishment.
- Another article on those boxers further explaining Nordstrom's Admonishment Program:
"Nordstrom's Admonishment Agreement Program states that when there's "no weapon involved," the "merchandise is returned" and the suspects are cooperative and "confess in writing," Nordstrom's policy is not to press charges.
No police report was filed, no arrests were made and "a level of resolution was reached," according to Police News Affairs Director Monique Bond."
My Questions so far (as I have yet to find out what my civil fine is and if they will press criminal charges).
- Is it good that I only received an Admonishment at the time of detainment? Does this mean Nordstroms is deferring any criminal prosecution? The cops were not called, but can Nordstrom still press charges against me after reviewing my case more(& the evidence in the photographs/questioning videotape), even though they Admonished me? I know that if I step foot in an Nordstrom's & their subsidiaries, I can be criminally prosecuted. That was made clear to me by the LP.
- If I only receive a civil fine and pay it promptly, will this go on my permanent record?
- I'm applying to Grad School, in less than a year. A question on the application: "Have you ever been convicted of an offense, placed on probation, or granted deferred adjudication or any type of pretrial diversion, in any jurisdiction?" I'm wondering, if Nordstroms doesn't press any charges, and I pay the civil fine promptly, will I have to admit this incident on my Grad School application?
Since I shoplifted other items from other stores (which the LPs confiscated and were going to return to the stores):
- Can Nordstrom's fine me for those items? I want to say they won't, b/c then they would have asked me to sign more papers saying I admit to stealing X amount of things worth X amount of dollars (like what I signed for Nordstrom's own items).
- Is there a chance that the other stores will want to come after me? If so, can they request my information from Nordstrom's so they can come after me?
Again, my apologies for the length, but I deemed it necessary to obtain more accurate responses and advice. Thank you to all those that read this. & Even more thanks to those who provide good counsel.