I was shopping at a ROSS store in San Francisco about a week ago with a friend of mine, and she decided to attempt to steal some merchandise. After we had exited the store and gotten a good 15 feet from the door, someone from loss prevention stopped us and brought us back into the store. Despite the fact that it was my friend who did the shoplifting the man from loss prevention informed me that I was considered an accessory to the crime because I had handled the merchandise prior to her stealing it. He even went further and insisted that he had seen me put the merchandise into her bag "with his own two eyes," which is a flat out lie, because I did no such thing. However when I attempted to defend myself, the cop on duty told me there was no use arguing and all I was going to do was piss him off, which I shouldn't do if I didn't want him to press charges. The man from loss prevention told me he had me on camera as well. The only footage he has of me on camera is of me looking at merchandise on the rack, as well as me waiting to get on an escalator (I know this because he showed me). He then took all of my information, filled out some paperwork, and after learning that I had no prior convictions for anything decided to let me go. He told me I wasn't allowed to go into any ROSS store within the next year, and that they would be sending me a civil demand letter along with a fine anywhere from $50 to $500.
Here are my questions:
First of all, I'm wondering if it's even legal to stop someone for shoplifting when they've gotten so far away from a store. From everything I've ever been told you have to be stopped at the door-no one from loss prevention is allowed to follow you outside once you've reached public space. I don't know however whether there are any actual laws regarding this.
Second of all, I'm wondering if there's any way to fight this. It all seems extremely fishy to me, and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $50 to $500 that I don't have for something I didn't actually do. The man from loss prevention told a bold faced lie about my involvement in this incident, and when he stopped me and my friend I was found with NONE of the stolen merchandise on my person. In other words, I didn't steal a damn thing. Not to mention, he doesn't have anything on camera. It boils down to the fact that it's my word against his. Is there anything that can be done? Do I have any rights/what are my rights in this situation?